“They just don’t get it”! How many times have I uttered these words in frustration about others? I have come to realize that I’m part of “they” in that statement. The other day I was in the Project Mañana Nutrition Center as lunch time was ramping up and children were beginning to trickle in. As I walked through the gate a little guy that is maybe 4 years old asked me in spanish if he could have some food. I greeted him as warmly as I could, avoided his question, and proceeded inside. You see, we estimate that there are anywhere from 800 to 1000 children residing in the community of San Pablo, but only 175 of those are currently part of our nutrition project. Praise God we are feeding so many children, but we’ve got a long way to go. While that’s an important fact, it’s not what has eaten away at me for days since this interaction.
After walking through the gate that morning I spent my time focused on the children in our program. I greeted them, played with them, helped pass out food, and dropped off multi-vitamins (which was the ultimate reason for my visit that morning). Mission accomplished right? This whole time the little guy that had asked me for food was patiently waiting, watching others eat, and hoping that he could join. So why did I avoid his question? The following went through my mind: “he’s not in our program”, “there isn’t enough food”, “if we make an exception for one, all will ask”, “we need more sponsors”, etc. Thankfully, before I left, one of our Dominican staff ladies brought this little guy to me and explained that he was hungry and that we had enough left over to feed him and asked if it was ok for him to eat. Obviously the answer was “yes” since the amount of food was not an issue. He was able to eat that day, but I almost missed it. All of those concerns I had, that was me “not getting it”. The God that I serve is bigger than any concern that I can muster, but for that moment I lost sight of that (this may come as a surprise, but it’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last). God fed thousands with much less to start with — do I not trust that he can feed one with far more? Personally, he’s taken care of my family for nearly a year using a faithful team of donors; we haven’t gone hungry once — do I not trust that he can provide one meal to one of His children?
As God is using this moment to teach me personally, again, that my focus should be on Him he’s also revealing more. How often as a collective body of believers (the Church) do we become so focused on those that are already being fed that we miss the ones that are starving, hurting, asking, needing? How often do we become so focused on our programs, our goals, our checklists that we forget to focus on what God actually wants from us? How often do we miss those that He puts in our path because of our excuses or our agendas? How often are we so focused on numbers and growth that we miss the one person that needs to be fed spiritually or physically? The truth is, His will is all that matters. His goals are often not our goals, but it’s impossible to know that unless our focus lies on Him. How do we do this?
In Proverbs 3:6 it says: Seek His will in ALL you do, and he will show you which path to take. I, of course, added the emphasis to the word “all”…I add the emphasis because that is the key word. These days we are all in to balance. We balance our jobs, our personal time, our diets, our relationships, and we try to do the same with God. There is no other way to describe this than just plain wrong. Balance is a concept that just doesn’t work with God. When God says “all” he means – well – all, everything, total, everyday, all. From the time we wake up till the time we go back to bed…all. How often do we pray for something and continue to handle it in our own way? We ask God to “handle” the situation, meaning, “God, I’m going to do this my way and I’m asking you to make it work”. Weeks later we are frustrated with God because we’re still struggling through the same issue. The Bible directs us to seek His will because His will rarely seems natural to us. The Bible is clear that our ways are not His ways [Isaiah 55:8]. His ways seem completely foreign to us: loving your enemy, forgiving someone 70 x 7 times, giving away money to be wealthy, putting yourself last in order to be first…do these things actually work? The answer is simple: EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Many times, His will is the last thing we want to do, but I assure you it is ALWAYS the right thing to do.
Here’s the thing: I do not get it, and as long as I’m on this Earth chances are I never fully will, and that’s perfectly ok. As a believer I have a direct line of communication to a God who does get it. God doesn’t ask that I fully understand or that I have all the answers. He asks that I make a daily decision to walk with Him. In the meantime I will begin to resemble Him more and more. As I seek his will in ALL that I do I will begin to fulfill His purposes and He will be glorified. It feels weird, awkward, and sometimes unnatural but that’s ok. When I encounter the one person that God needs me to interact with, I’ll not walk past the opportunity and in that moment I’ll be the hands and feet and let Him do the rest.