Today is the fourth day I have been sick and hard is the only way I can describe this month. Honduras was the country I was most looking forward to and the work is hard, but still doesn’t change my perspective about this beautiful country. I still love the people I have met and my heart for this place still swells. It is only four days of sickness. It is only one month out of many.
What’s funny is that I thought I might make it the whole race without getting sick like this and of all the places, it happened here. There are no words to describe the kind of sick I have felt. Today is a lot better, but I want to be careful and take it slow. I am still weak from not being able to eat for three days and I recognize that strength does not just come right away. Strength grows, like a muscle.
Maybe that’s it.
Growth and strength are never things you just arrive at. It is acquired over time. Like running a marathon (or any race for that matter), it starts with the decision to begin. The choice to do the thing in the first place. When I ran a 5k in college, I was an amateur at running. But then I began to train. At first, my body hurt like hell, but as weeks and months went on, I found myself getting much stronger over time. I soon made it a goal to run the 5k I had signed up for in under thirty minutes and by the time the night came to run the race, I was ready. I ran at my own pace and my friends ran at theirs. We were running the same race, but our paces were different.
Eventually the high of finishing wore off. What had I come away with? I could say “yeah, I did that,” justifying something cool I had done. Yeah, I had arrived at the finish line, but that wasn’t the end-all-be-all of exercise in my life. It was actually just the beginning. Prior to my decision to run, I was weak, but once I made the decision to continue running and training, my legs gained strength over a period of time.
In the same way, I think our bodies, minds, and spiritual likeness gain strength over time. It’s not an overnight thing. I’ve been away from home for ten months now, soon to be eleven, and the transformation that has happened here has not been overnight in any way. It’s taken months of being stripped of everything I knew and having my eyes opened even wider to the reality of what is happening in the world to help me see that I have authority to take part in what Jesus is doing no matter the circumstances happening around me.
It’s now no longer a question of “me?” But it’s a knowing that says “yes, me.” Even when I am sick and in bed with no food for three days straight, Jesus is still working and He is still the most loving. Even when I can’t take a shower, Jesus still loves me and uses me. I technically don’t have to do a thing, but Jesus called each and every one of us to a story so much greater because He meets us right where we are. Just like He called His disciples of all nations, promising that He would be with them always… In the same way He is with me always.
Not just sometimes, but always.
Not just when I am finally ready, but now and forever.
And that’s the kind of news I can take rest in.