This last week, I had the honor of joining my local church on a missions trip to Peru. We went deep into the Amazon jungle to build a structure that would be used for Pastors in the region to rest from their highly demanding occupation. We also built a structure in an extremely impoverished slum right in the middle of the city of Iquitos.
Now, let me make one thing clear: I am not handy. It’s just not what I do. I love people. I live for them. I love to serve, lead, and be deeply involved with everything that has to do with people. For me, people make this life worth living. So, the idea of taking a project and going off on my own to figure it out all the while taking on skills that I never learned growing up is really not my idea of a “good time.”
When I heard about this trip it sounded like doing some construction work deep in the Amazon all the while working to share the Gospel with unreached people groups. This was not the case. But, God is good.
About 5 days into the trip… the elements were getting to me. It was 18 guys, half of which had no experience building or working on structures (myself included) all working with Peruvians and only one of us spoke their language. To say that it was a challenge would be a monumental understatement. The sun was overwhelming us with searing heat and the humidity was enough to make your lungs feel like they were drowning. I had just brought a pile of lumber over to one side of the structure and as I was about to hoist it up I witnessed a breakdown in teamwork, communication and tempers.
The guys on the structure wanted to do things the American way and the Peruvians wanted to work their way. It was a meltdown. And there I stood. Now let me say this, I love to lead. I love to endure tough situations and be the guy people look to when crisis is pounding on the door. But in this situation, I was completely out of my element. I had to stand by as a supporter, as a servant and keep my mouth shut. Probably one of the greatest tests of my life.
Take a look at this verse:
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. -James 1:3-4
So… The real question is: where can we find, real, tangible faith?
Here’s the deal, faith is trusting in what you cannot see. If you are constantly relying on your strengths, can you honestly say that you are moving and living in faith… Being thrown into situations where you are not strong and confident is very uncomfortable. But! And that’s a BIG but! When you are uncomfortable and out of your element you are most reliant on your Father to meet all your needs according to His riches and glory. It’s in that place where true faith is lived out. That’s where we grow and live out God’s purpose for our lives. What is that purpose? To know Him and draw closer to Him everyday.
I want to leave you with this. I was faced with a tough decision a few months ago. One decision involved action, the other involved patience. A friend of mine said to me, “Ben, which decision for you, takes the most faith?”
That’s what I want to ask you today. What makes you uncomfortable? What decision are you faced with right now that when you truly look at your heart, you know it takes the most faith. I am confident enough to tell you, that is where you will find Your Father.
The best is coming for your life,