Seriously, I have everything I need in life. Safety and shelter? - check! Food and clothing (in surplus)?- check! Love and knowledge of God? - check!
And yet sometimes I find myself unsatisfied or full of worry about my future. The rest of the world has turned this into a joke, adding the phrase "First world problem" to the end of selfish or mundane complaints.
When is it okay to complain? Ever? What about sadness? Is it ever okay to be sad when my needs are exceeded and none of my stress is related to my need to survive?
Complaining should be kept to a minimum, but I think it is easier to come by sadness when all of your needs are met. One year ago this week, I was in Saltadere, Haiti working with three men from my church on a irrigation system at the Catholic school.
Our work led us to meet numerous students and townsfolk, most of whom have wondered about how they are going to feed or clothe themselves. We stayed in a rectory along with 80 displaced children who had no where else to go. These wonderful people had EVERY reason to worry, but honestly, they were the most joyful people I have ever met.
God is the source of all Joy and Love. This is something that our Haitian friends lived and breathed. They are joyful because they trust in the Lord.
|This is the gas station where we were almost stuck for good|
Example: Three hours after landing in Santo Domingo, our group (which consisted of Bob, a retired military man whose employment history is still classified; Pete, a water and irrigation specialist; Andrew, a Systems Engineering student and extreme outdoors enthusiast; and me--I'd like to say that I bat clean up but...) stopped at a gas station at 5am in the middle of rural Dominican Republic. Cutting a long story short, due to a language barrier and sleep deprivation, we filled our INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE with DIESEL fuel.
Exodus 14:14 says, "The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still." And He did. It took about 4 hours and a crazy "phone tree" of international texting, but we were able to find help to fix the car and communicate with our meet up point about the delay. HOW AWESOME IS GOD?!!?!! What a great cause for Joy! (And, for the record, there are at least 4 other stories from the week like this)
Currently, I'm struggling a bit to reject worry, and unfortunately the aftertaste of my trip to Haiti has been rinsed out over the course of the year. [My Meme would read: Didn't get my first choice summer job. Might be bored during 3 month school break.] So I turn to the Bible, and God uses the 2x4 method with me, once again.
|Here I am with Alessandra. My friends joke that I|
brought a baby back with me from Haiti
- If I had, it would have been this amazing little girl
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.