The weird thing about living in another country is the limited access I have to social media (Internet, cell phones, televisions, newspapers, magazines, etcetera.) Sometimes I forget about the rest of the world. This is good because it helps me to live in the moment of where I am and what I’m doing. It’s also good because I don’t get stuck wasting time reading the perpetual cycle of facebook updates or those celebrity gossip stories I secretly take pleasure in. My mind is clear from meaningless distraction.
On the other hand, I fall behind from the reality that is beyond myself. I hear vague fractions of information…major snow and ice storms in the U.S.? Something about Texas is colder than Alaska right now? And what exactly is happening in Egypt? There could be other major news stories but those are the only ones I have caught wind of thus far.
I guess I could check out the news when I get online once or twice a week, but I honestly don’t think my brain can process any more information than the personal updates I get from my family and friends. Also I’d probably just end up clicking on the entertainment link that tells me what Britney Spears is up to. What can I say…I am weak.
The world has shrunk down to my life in Nicaragua. Things move at a slow place here, and to be honest sometimes it seems like God does too. I don’t really know what I expected before I came here. I suppose I still carry a little bit of a superhero missionary mentality – that as soon as I arrive somewhere I am going to save the day!! (correction: God is going to save the day.) And then I’m humbly reminded that I’m no superhero and God’s ways are not my ways.
My squad leader from the World Race used to tell us that “God doesn’t move quickly, but he moves suddenly.” Everyone around me seemed to understand what she was talking about, so I would nod my head and maybe even yell out an “amen!” when she said it. But really I didn’t get what she meant. And I still don’t…but I might have an idea now.
Often in the Gospels it is recorded that Jesus did something (reached out his hand, spoke, rebuked, yadda yadda) and “immediately” a miracle took place. So I’m all, “yeah! Immediately God will show up when we ask him to because that’s how he did it in the Bible! Cooooool!” And then I pray for something to happen and nothing happens. Cool.
I need to remind myself that yes, Jesus performed immediate miracles for people, but it probably was a long time coming for each person. A woman bled for 12 years before Jesus healed her. TWELVE YEARS. How many tears and prayers did she shed; how often did she feel alone and forgotten by God? But when she touched the cloak of Jesus she was healed immediately.
And I think that’s what my squad leader was talking about. That God often appears inactive or absent – which can be frustrating – but when it’s time for him to move miracles happen immediately.
Each day here my skin becomes a little bit darker; my hair becomes a little lighter. My heart becomes a little bit softer and my spirit becomes stronger. Change is slow, but constant. It’s not the way I prefer. I want instant gratification – I want God to quickly crash into me, my girls, the people of Nicaragua. He’s not crashing (…yet) but I can sense he is moving. I see buds that are closer to blooming; I taste fruit that’s beginning to ripen. We are giving birth to new lives, we are wandering toward the Promised Land – it is slow and painful. But, as my writing professor used to say, without friction there is no creation.
I wait expectantly, knowing that pieces are currently being moved around and arranged to bring forth greater glory. In Exodus, the Red Sea wasn’t parted in a second – Moses didn’t wave his hand over the water and watch the waves instantly divide. All that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. All. That. Night.
All these four months God is driving a strong eastern wind; he’s turning and transforming me, my girls and the people of Nicaragua. It may not be the instant gratification I desire – it’s something better. And so it may take a little while longer. But when the time comes I don’t doubt that Jesus will move immediately.
So yeah. I may not know what’s going on in the world, what Britney Spears is up to or what exactly is going down in Egypt. But I do know that here, in the small region of Jinotepe, Nicaragua, God is moving…slow as it may seem.