Welcome back! I hope you have had a fantastic week.
As I reflect over the five weeks I have now spent in Nicaragua and my trip to Albellanas, a remote village in the rural area of Nicaragua, there are two words that stand out to me, power and sovereignty- Power in the sense that God is still powerful and does powerful things through the Holy Spirit, and sovereignty in the sense that God is always in control and is writing a much bigger story than we can ever comprehend. As I write these words, if I am completely honest, I greatly underestimate these truths on a daily basis. Do I really believe God has the power to do anything or, much less, to change me? Do I really believe the Holy Spirit living within me means God has given me the ability to do His work and be a part of His plan to restore the world? Does my life project a belief that God is sovereign and His plans are better than mine? Do I believe the God who parted the sea and created the universe is still working and in control today? Sadly, often the answers to these questions are “kind of” at best.
Thankfully, however, God promises not to leave us there and is constantly providing opportunities for us to grow. My time in Nicaragua and my experiences in Albellanas have been just that. While living here has been an incredible experience in many ways, it has also been one of the greatest challenges in my life. Its times like this that I think we have to truly decide what we believe about life and God. This discernment process has led me to ask many of the previously mentioned questions and forced me to be honest about whether I trust that God has the power to take what is broken and make it whole. Living in the midst of extreme, generational poverty and feeling that God has called me to be a part of His plan to curtail it can look pretty scary and daunting at times. This when I think God says, “That is exactly where I want you to be”. You see, once we realize the challenges we face are much greater than anything we can handle on our own, we are forced to ask ourselves if we accept that God has the power to do what we cannot. If Jesus’ words in John 14:12, “He will do greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” are actually true (John 14:12b NIV). Well, I choose to say yes because if I don’t then I should just move home. Not that I fully understand what choosing yes means, but that I trust God will be faithful to his promises and will continue to show me why, in the end, yes is really the only answer. My time in Albellanas was a great picture of this in many ways. We had no idea what was going to happen when we left and really, in and of ourselves, were not prepared to take on the mission God was sending us to do. When we showed up, God’s power did more than we could ever ask or imagine. We asked God to give us the words to say and the hearts to understand what He was calling us to. If they were our words alone, words are all they would have been, but because God was working through them, hearts were changed forever. Praying with Roger when his brother, who no one would have ever thought would, accepted Christ was one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s power I have ever experienced. Roger’s words were not his own and Albellanas is forever different because of it.
God’s sovereignty has also been something I have been forced to consider. Much like His power, the sovereignty of God changes everything. If God is sovereign and his story of redemption and restoration is true, then moving to Nicaragua and being a part of real change is the opportunity of a lifetime. If it is not, then calling me crazy or foolish is not a stretch. As I have said in past posts, I have come to realize how big the challenge is and how little I am. This realization has made me truly confront this question of God being in control and Him calling me to move to Nicaragua. Through prayer and growth, I have to, on a daily basis, say, “yes, I believe this is true”. Having this perspective makes all the difference as it means that my job is to be faithful to the call and allow God to work out His plan through me. Again, the trip to Albellanas was a great microcosm of this. We showed up trusting that God had a plan and saw more life change than we could have wrapped our minds around before the trip. Much like when Peter pulled in 153 fish (John 21:11 NIV) after Jesus asked him to throw the net in again, God’s plan tends to be bigger than anything we could scheme up and surprises us every time.
My learning is certainly not finished on God’s power and sovereignty, but the small understanding I have now excites me for what the future might hold. It all gives me resiliency and trust as I begin to embark on this mission. It’s times like the trip to Albellanas that God reminds me how great He is and how choosing to live out my belief in a powerful and sovereign God makes all the difference in my world, and could make all the difference in the world. God’s Kingdom is advancing. What will you choose?
Have a great week and choose to live with intention!