The power is out. Sweat is pouring down my back and down my arms and legs. I’m laying in bed trying to sleep and trying not to think about the heat.
The road is blocked. There are people, and cars, and donkeys, and I’m trying to get down the road, but I wonder if it’s safe to try. Are there people protesting? Are they burning tires down there? Or maybe it’s just a traffic jam? Should I wait or go around on the bumpy, sandy side street?
>Crazy taxis in Niamey.
My child has a fever and he says his stomach hurts. It could be nothing. It could be malaria. It could be typhoid. Why does this always happen on the weekend or in the middle of the night?
>Greta melting down.
I really wanted to make a chocolate cake for our special family celebration, but there is no chocolate in the stores. This city has run out of CHOCOLATE. It feels like the world is ending.
I watch the insane taxi and the darting moto collide within a few feet of my hood. I thank God that I was able to get out of the way and don’t have be involved. There will be a mob. There will be a big scene. Will that man die? I’ve been told not to stop because the scene is not safe, and I make it worse by getting out of my car. I drive on.
Day in. Day out. My stress level rises. It seems that the things pressing in on me will never stop.
>Nata doing homework during a power outage.
Someone is knocking on my window. When I turn to look, her hands are extended in the hopes that I will put a coin there. She brings her fingers up to her mouth to emphasize her point. She is hungry. She shows me the baby on her back.How should I respond? My heart breaks.
I am blessed beyond measure. In the middle of the stress, I feel the blessing. The provision. The unending grace. I am swimming in it. I am drowning in it. I am here to offer hope. I am here to share this grace. I am here to be effective.
I sit in a room surrounded by my peers. The lights are low, our Bibles are out, and one of the missionary women begins to share about the things that are stressing her out, frustrating her. We all feel this way; we all understand as our friend shares.
We are studying 1 Peter. We have learned that this letter is written to “elect exiles of the Dispersion.” This means that God chose these people to leave their home (or be kicked out of their home) and spread the Good News in a foreign land. Peter encourages these “elect exiles” with these words in 1 Peter 1:6, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor….”
I am learning to swim in this pool of grace. Some days the swimming is easy and other days I think I might drown. The trials, big and small, all seem to press. I need Him; how I need Him. Every hour I need Him. And when I take my eyes off of His, I find that I am sinking. In truth, that’s what stress is- taking my eyes off Him- a lack of trust.
Pray for us, friends. And pray for those that work side by side with us. So much of the daily trial is not something we always feel we should share. It’s a spiritual battle, but many times the components of the battle are made of dirty dishes, homework, traffic jams, and power outages. We balance it with his grace and pray that even when tested, our faith may result in His glory and honor.