A few days ago, I got back from (easily) one of my favorite places in the world- Nicaragua. Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with the beautifully carefree smiles of the people, the simplicity of the day-to-day lifestyle, and, of course, the handiwork of the Lord in the jaw-dropping views.
With this being my third time in-country, you’d think I’d have an idea of what’s coming, what will happen throughout the week, etc. But the reality is, you really never know- every trip brings its own new surprises.
This week’s surprise was a much needed reminder.
I’ve always struggled with noticing how the Lord is working in the moment. What He’s (OBVIOUSLY) doing right when it’s happening. Sure I can look back and think “Oh yeah, Hey God, I guess that was you three days ago!”. But why not in the moment? Why is that soo difficult?
Throughout the week I was able to realize that I don’t need a moment to see God at work, because that moment I’ve been searching for is ALL THE TIME.
And I know what you’re thinking. “Okay there Jesus-freak missionary, chill. How doyou know?”
I heard a verse at the beginning of the trip. James 1:17 says “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
So absolutely anything GOOD and/or PERFECT comes from God.
Well, our trip began with delayed flights, a split team flying up and down the east coast, nightmare upon nightmare *couAMERICANAIRLINESgh*, and a flat tire adding up to a more than 24 hour travel day.
Ha! Good and perfect?!
But here’s the kicker- bear with me.
If ALL THE WAY BACK IN NORFOLK, the night before our team was set to travel, some bright-light American Airlines employee would not have run the baggage cart he was driving into our plane and damaged it so severely that the pilot refused to fly it, we would not have been delayed five hours in the airport.
If we hadn’t been delayed five hours in Norfolk, we would have made it to Miami on time, meaning we’d have made our connecting flight to Managua when we were supposed to.
If we’d have made it to Managua when we were supposed to, it would have met zero confusion for the airports as to where in the world our bags would have been going- putting us out of the Nicaraguan airport an hour sooner (searching for 4 missing bags with a language barrier is QUITE time consuming).
If all had gone well up to this point, a vast majority of our five-hour bus ride from the airport to the town of Rio Blanco would have happened in the daylight (needless to say- VERY helpful on 3rd world country roads).
If the bus driver had daylight while driving, chances are, he wouldn’t have run into the GIANT BOULDER in the road, causing us to get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
No flat tire in the middle of nowhere? No guys to come join us in the 2-and-a-half-hour process of fixing it!
No flat tire in the middle of nowhere? No guys that we were able to host for dinner, meet their families, learn their stories and pray for the next night.
No luggage cart hitting the plane? No airline delays? No baggage nightmare? No getting uncomfortable??
“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.” Says James 1:2-3.
His timing combined with the trials of life (even in something as silly as a travel day) are what create his good and perfect plan.
This week has reminded me of why I’m doing this whole world race thing anyways. It’s allowed me to realize why I’m doing this crazy thing and becoming a missionary full time. But most importantly, it’s made me remember the joy.
This year I watched quite literally all of my friends apply for college, get accepted into their dream schools and start planning the course loads that in a few years they can turn in for another cap, gown, diploma and a full-time nine to five. Watching them revel in the glory that is their future, knowing what they want to do is sooo amazing.
But me? I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a few years- and that’s okay. I know that now.
But right now THIS is what brings me joy. Serving the Lord and His people. Finding joy in the simplicity of life.
Thanks Nicaragua, I guess this is a good place to start.
This article was originally posted July 29, 2017 on my original blog at haydenschwarting.theworldrace.org