“Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Yo estoy aprendiendo espanol poco a poco. Yes, it’s true, I am learning Spanish little by little, but this phrase can honestly be applied to every other area of my life as well. While my days are spent teaching, I’m learning infinitely more. In fact, what I’m teaching seems to be only an overflow of what I’m learning each and every day, in every arena of my life.
Let’s start with Spanish. Perhaps one of the biggest myths I bought into in coming here was that I would simply pick up the language, that by the effortless process of diffusion I would wake up one day and be fluent. Haha, not so, I have learned. For me, the process of learning this supposed “facil lenguaje” has been painstaking, humbling, even embarrassing. Just the other night, I commented to a Bolivian waitress when asked if we wanted more to eat, “Estamos muy lindos!” While I meant to say, “We are very full!” I instead informed her, “We are very pretty!” Good one, Whit. I’ve heard it said that in order to get one sentence right, you first have to say about 100 incorrectly. I’m beginning to think it might be more like 1,000 for me…
What about in my classroom? Well, let’s just say that my students are a far greater example than I of what it looks like to love unconditionally, to overlook the outward appearance and annoying behavior of some, to not think of oneself in the call to sacrifice, and instead love recklessly from an overflow of the heart. Recently, my students brought me to tears as I watched them organize a bake sale to raise money for a loved Bolivian staff member in the hospital, in great need of funds to foot the bill for his many surgeries and costly, life-sustaining meds. Together they collected over 800 Bolivianos, roughly $100 to support David and his family. I know, unbelievable. I wish you could have seen it.
And as for me and Tim, well this area is certainly not excluded. Since his recent return from the Dominican Republic, his heart has been sold on the idea of going back. As a result, we’ve recently talked more about the future than ever before. While the Lord has placed a definite desire in both of our hearts to get married down the road, we also feel a sense of obedience knowing that this decision is what the Lord wants because it will ultimately bring Him the most glory, that together we will be greater for Him than we could be apart. But dang, is it challenging. I have never been so tested in patience, in waiting for the Lord’s timing, in trusting that He will provide and continue to open doors and lead us where we need to move from here. I often find myself in doubt that He is capable, but praise Him that He is not thwarted by the size of my faith.
Spiritually? Well, honestly, I have found my heart crying out to the Lord most recently out of frustration, even anger sometimes, just in hard days of missing home and big events in people’s lives, “God I have sacrificed so much for you! This is so hard, why do you ask me to give you anything else? Would you please give me a break…” Then just last night I was overwhelmingly convicted and comforted and cradled all in the same moment. At my church youth group, I heard the Lord so gently but firmly speak truth to my heart, “Remember, beloved, that the cost for your sin was my life. You were and are worth it to me. But know that if you now really want to live for me, like you say you do, than I ask you to give me your whole life as well, holding nothing back. Am I worth it to you?” Then just this morning, to hear a message entirely in Spanish surrounding the verse, “Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” So true. My life is not my own, and thankfully so. When I step back even for a moment, I realize that I would not trade for anything this beautiful life that I can’t believe I get to live.
“What I am describing now is so great a joy to Jesus that he counts as nothing his labor and his bitter sufferings and his cruel and shameful death. And in these words: if I could suffer more, I would suffer more, I saw truly that if he could die as often as once for every man who is to be saved, as he did once for all men, love would never let him rest till he had done it.” -from Julian of Norwich: Showings
“The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility—I cannot begin to do it. Then Jesus says—Blessed are you. That is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor! The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus Christ works.”
-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
As we approach “semana santa” and prepare to mourn in the death and rejoice in the life of Christ, would we see the price for our life paid in full before our very eyes, experience that kind of love unmatched, and admit that while we are broken and poor in spirit, he blesses those who eagerly admit such shortcomings. In fact, he celebrates such weakness and invites us to be a part of something far greater.