Protests, Prayers & Perseverance
Haiti has had its fair share of trials lately.
Food prices rising. Gas and diesel shortages. Government corruption. Instability and protests. Missing money. 11 days of lockdown. We’ve had peace the past few days, but everyone is still on edge. We’re all waiting for the next storm of protests, whenever that may be.
Living in the middle of that kind of uncertainty and instability is difficult. Most of our lives are spent running away from difficult situations. It’s our human nature to lean into things that are comfortable, that are safe. Usually when things get tough, we reach for an excuse or find a way out. I know I’m guilty of it many times. However, when we turn our attention towards the scriptures, God calls us to do the opposite. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3) Lately this is what God has been teaching me. Not only can we persevere with His strength, but we can find JOY while we do it! And this is the first time my soul has deeply understood the joy of facing trials. It’s unsettling in your soul to be in a situation completely out of your control. You know you have to make it through whatever comes next because you don’t have a choice. With all of the unknowns, we clung to the things that we did know. We read a lot of scripture, spent time with each other and those that lived close. Prayed a lot. Any moment that would bring relief or laughter.
Last Saturday, my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of crowded supermarket. With supplies running low, everyone was rushing to buy food and trying to get back home before the streets once again became dangerous. In the chaos, my husband grabbed a very expensive bag of chicken nuggets without checking the price. Under normal circumstances, they would have gone back on the shelf, but in our desperation, and in a checkout line a quarter mile long, we bought them. Now when I open my freezer and see them, they remind me of how you can still find laughter and joy in the darkest of days.
Joy can come even in the middle of the worst situations. Take for example while we were still negotiating the price for the C.A.M.P. generator, there was a gentleman ready to show up with cash in hand to buy it. He couldn’t get there to buy it because of the roadblocks and the seller gave it to us instead. If that is not God bringing good out of a terrible situation, than I don’t know what is.
Joy in the midst of trials is being stuck in your house for far too long, but having a lot of time to work on the C.A.M.P. We were able to file for our nonprofit status, finish a 3 year project plan and budget and complete more planning that would have never been possible with our regular work schedules.
Joy in the midst of trials is the community that gathers in tight around you, making sure that everyone has what they need. It’s the churches and friends across North America lifting us up in prayer while we sat in the unknown.
There is an intimacy with God that we miss out on when we don't lean into the trials. We spend so much of our lives terrified of the very thing that can deepen our faith in the Lord. “ And we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) When we lean into the strength of the Savior, there is truly nothing He can’t use around for His good. It doesn’t always mean that it’s pretty. It doesn’t mean our hearts aren’t filled with pain, but it does mean that above all else we trust that He is in control.
Our trials come in all shapes and sizes. The only guarantee we have is that “in this life we WILL have trouble.” I may not know what you’re going through today, but here are a few things that helped me joyously persevere:
FILL YOURSELF UP
It was all to easy to get online and read every article about the protests and violence, but it wasn’t at all good for my soul. If anything it made me more bothered and worried. What did help my soul was the good stuff—-scripture, prayer, listening to an uplifting sermon. Those were the things the kept my perspective focus on the strength of the Lord, not the danger of the situation.
In difficult times, we don’t always want others to know. We don’t want to be a burden and we don’t want our loved ones to worry about it. However we aren’t meant to carry our troubles alone and the power of prayer can change the whole situation. Messages of encouragement and lifting others up in prayer means the world while you’re going through the middle of a storm. Never underestimate the power of reaching out to someone in a time of need.