A few nights ago, I found an old journal from the year 1991. My first entry included the details of a God orchestrated event that still leaves me in awe today. I, at eighteen years old, was a young Believer; and unlike the majority of my peers, I had no plans for the future. For months, I sought the Lord each night, asking Him to show me my next steps. His answer would come the day after I graduated from high school.
Early that morning, I received a phone call from my pastor, asking me if I would like to be a summer intern with a ministry based in Mexico. My job, he said, would be to help church groups coming from the states build houses for families in need in the heart of Mexico. If I were to agree to go, I would need to be ready to leave in three days. When I inquired about the financial aspect of the summer, I was dumbfounded when my pastor told me that our church was paying for everything.
Without a doubt, I knew this opportunity was my long-awaited answer. Three days later, I was on my first plane ride donned in my blue jean overalls and a straw hat with a big floral bow attached to the side. And that right there was where the cuteness ended because the rest of the summer was one of the most exacting experiences I have ever faced.
From the beginning, I was in way over my head, and I knew it. On our first day of training at the job site, someone asked me to bring them a 2×4. I remember the look on their face when I wondered aloud how you could tell the difference between a 2×4 and say, a 6×8? Ha! I had no previous construction experience, and deciphering a blueprint was, at best, laughable. One of the natives, Felipe, who worked for the ministry, took pity on me and invited into his family’s home for the weekend and patiently taught me the basic principles of framing. Thanks to Felipe, I’ll never forget the carpentry term, “California Corner.”
Throughout my ten-week long internship, I cried many tears, and I was exhausted. But I learned what it meant to be in a constant posture of dependence upon God. I was indeed “pressed on every side, but not crushed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8) No matter how badly I wanted to pack up and go home, the Lord faithfully gave me the strength to face another day. In hindsight, my lack of experience and knowledge mattered little. Ultimately, God did not send me to Mexico to teach grown men how to build houses. He sent me to Mexico to teach me how to trust Him.
One night after we lost Justin, I stole away in my bedroom to gather my thoughts. My eyes were full of tears, and my mind was going in circles as I tried to understand God’s plan. At that moment, God reminded me of my Mexico experience and how I learned to trust Him on that long and hard road. In the same way, I knew I could trust Him at that moment, even though I would likely never understand.
Today, I am lifting my shield of faith and drawing upon my experiences of the Lord’s tender care. I don’t know what our future holds, but I know that I can trust Him to see us through.
“Trust in him at all times, oh people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8