In the grand scheme of things, our life in Ethiopia is pretty cushy, both when compared to the living conditions of the majority of human history as well as our neighbors. There are still times though when I compare it to certain aspects of life in America and find myself feeling discontent.
One day in particular, the power and water had been out for longer than usual; our electronics were dead and our last barrel of water was almost empty. For several days, I had had one of the intestinal infections that frequently plague our team, and I really just wanted to be somewhere with indoor plumbing.
That night as I lay covered in sweat, I kept thinking: does God really love me if he called me to live in a place like this? My dad always loved and cared for our family so well, and I can’t picture him moving us to a place where it gets up to 130°F with no air conditioning, no running water, and constant sickness – not without a good reason. So either God loves me less than my dad, or he does have a really good reason.
The Lord reminded me of John 10 – how he has other sheep that are lost, whom he desires to bring into his flock. And as Jesus freely and lovingly laid down his life that we could be reconciled to the Father, so he invites us also to enter into difficulties that others would know that love too.
I think the Lord also desires to set me free from the lie that circumstances are somehow a measure of his love. I want to be able to walk joyfully through any struggle, believing Romans 8: that nothing can separate us from the love of God. How powerful would it be if instead of longing for difficulties to end, I could learn to worship in the midst of them?
I am continually humbled by how the Lord provides for our needs. The next day, our friend Nyaret brought us one of her two jerry cans of water, which held us over until the city turned on the water the following day and we were able to refill our barrels. Her act of love blessed us beyond just the gift of water.
God is so faithful, and I can confidently say, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”