The 2017 Serve Together: Honduras team leaves for the Agalta Valley this weekend. The following meditation is taken from the last full day of their trip devotional.
My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
Reading today’s psalm takes me back to my first international mission trip experience.
I was in the eighth grade when I went with a group from our church across the Mexican border for a weekend to build a house for a family who was living under a structure made from cardboard boxes and a tarp. Coincidentally, the afternoon we left for Mexico was after I returned from an outdoor school field trip, and I was too cool to put sunscreen on my very pale skin. This left me with a terribly painful sunburn and a touch of heat exhaustion.
By the time we arrived at our destination late Friday night, I realized I was going to be useless on the mission project. I ended up spending most of my time sitting in our van in the shade and playing with the neighborhood kids. I felt helpless—not only was I unable to help with building the house, but I also realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do to eradicate the poverty that overwhelmed this singular community.
You may be experiencing something similar on your trip. Have you been able to accomplish, or even contribute, in all the ways you had hoped to from the outset? Are you overwhelmed by the needs you see in this community? Do you feel paralyzed when you think of “next steps” to take in order to change the future for the youngest generation you’ve interacted with? If so, your heart may be in the same place as the psalmist:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high.…
If you’re like me, part of this sense of defeat comes from struggling with wanting to be the ONE who makes all things right; the ONE who ends poverty; the ONE who lifts the lowly to places of honor. Wouldn’t that be great?! But like the psalmist, we have to take a dose of humility and remember that it’s not up to us.
God already sent the world a Savior in Jesus Christ. The psalmist reminds us that we have the holy privilege AND responsibility to participate with God in these endeavors, but it is ultimately the Creator of the Universe that will redeem God’s creation. Will you allow this Truth to calm and quiet your soul?
Rev. Missy Jenson