I’m all alone in my small and chilly Guatemalan apartment. I can’t sleep because there is a Spanish, heavy metal concert a few blocks away. The last thing I did before I snuggled under my stack of blankets was check on Facebook updates. I was laying here praying, tearing up, as I usually do when I’m talking to God for some reason. This week I have been overwhelmed by the uncountable blessings in my life. But it also feels like I’ve also gotten a huge dose of news of tragedy and hardship—deaths, miscarriages, debt, Black Friday tramplings. How can there be a God when so many bad things happen? All you have to do is walk the streets, scroll through any social media, turn on the news for 2 minutes. How in the world can there be a God? And if there is one—this is one heck of a way to show his love for us.
I’ve seen numerous statuses lately that have said, “I’ve lost all faith in humanity,” or “my faith in humanity has been restored.” Humanity cannot and will not be restored by good or kind deeds. We shouldn’t ever have any faith in humanity, because we are inherently evil and selfish and greedy. Have you ever seen a toddler hit his sibling? Did you wonder where he learned that? He didn’t need to. Slavery and racism is not a thing we learn about in history class, it happens daily, all over the world. People are homeless and starving and sleep on the sidewalk in this country. A student thinks it’s funny her maid has to use the outhouse. Children spend time in ATM booths begging for food or money. Elderly women whose legs and feet are shriveled beyond recognition sit on a busy sidewalk hoping for even a cent.
I do not need to strive for selfishness or pride, it comes 100% naturally. Positive thoughts just don’t happen on their own for me. Even as a teacher, patience and kindness is not my first nature. I have the title of a missionary. I know so many people that do wonderful things in third world countries. So many people feed the poor around the holidays. These are all great things and things I believe we are called to do. However, there is no point to any of these things if there is not a huge, saving, all powerful God.
As I grow up and am further released from my comfort zone, I see a world that is so clearly damaged. A world that will trample a man to death to go get that TV on sale. A world where people die of drug overdoses. Where a man will murder dozens of children. I am a citizen of a country that is swimming in debt. How can we possibly blame those things on anyone but ourselves? WE are the ones that have created the wars, the drugs, the technology, the want for more.
If you’ve ever read the Old Testament or know vaguely what it’s about, it’s a solid reflection of human nature. I believe it is not and will never be outdated. The behaviors of the Israelites over and over reflect exactly who we are. We are blessed and we still worship idols and insist on doing life our own way. God isn’t King enough in our life so we appoint our own.
Despite all of these misfortunes, there IS a real God. And despite what you might think, He DOES love us. He loves us so much in fact that He DESIRES a relationship with us even though we constantly choose things and others over him. These tragedies don’t reflect a small, weak God. They reflect our great, deep need of a true and mighty God. There is a line from the great show Breaking Bad, where the father of a drug-addict says, you never give up on family. God created us and He will never give up on us.
I am thankful for a job that I love. I am thankful for incredible friends and family near and far away. I am thankful for a warm home on these cold nights. I’m thankful for a fiancé that loves and serves God. I am thankful for seven wonderful ladies who have agreed to be bridesmaids in my wedding. I am thankful for the dozens of people that love Sean and I that want to come to our wedding. But more than all these things, I am thankful for a God that not only tolerates me, but loves me. Desires me. Pursues me. A Savior that died so that I could be with Him in heaven. I am thankful for the reminders that He is all that matters in spite of a crazy job, living in a third world country, struggling to pay for plane tickets, students that don’t always listen, earthquakes, endless street noises, and sickness. He is bigger. He is stronger. He hasn’t and he won’t give up on us. Nunca una vez.