Carlos’ sweet sister, Yineth, gave me two lovely star fruit (called carambola here) at English class on Wednesday. I ate them for breakfast today, cut up into yogurt. It took me less than 5 minutes to finish the delicious meal.
Getting the star fruit ready, well, that was another story! First up, 10 minutes of soaking in water with a few drops of bleach. After that, 10 minutes of peeling up and down the ridges with a paring knife. (If you have a better – and faster! – technique, please let me know!)
A 10-minute wait starts most meals. Even if I’m going to peel it, most fruits and vegetables get their bleach bath. I’m not going to lie. At times, having to wait to start cooking gets frustrating.
In fact, many days this past summer, I’d get home from El Callejon, too tired to worry about dinner. Instead, I would just eat a bowl of cereal. Not the worst of all meals, but hardly the most nutritious, either.
I’m learning that life here is a lot like preparing meals. 20 minutes of waiting and preparation for 5 minutes of results? No, that’s just too long. So, I pull out the ‘cereal’, missing the more healthy (and more tasty!) fruit that comes with patience.
Or, maybe, life everywhere is like this. We’re all so impatient, aren’t we? We want to be in shape, but without working out. We want to be disciples, but without discipline. We want to make an impact, but without having to get our hands dirty.
Life, life that’s worth living, takes effort. We’ve allowed ourselves to be fooled into thinking otherwise. Jesus spent 30 years living and working and walking on earth before His ministry started.
How arrogant, how misguided we are to assume that in 100 pages and 30 days we can become spiritually mature or have a lasting, vibrant prayer life!
I’m feeling discouraged these days. I’ve been here a year, but feel like I’ve done very little. All my big plans for the ways I wanted to impact El Callejon for the glory of God seem stymied.
Before I came, I said that I wanted to start with a three-year commitment because I felt that I’d just be learning in the first two years, and only in the third year would I be at a place where I could make an impact.
But, over the past year, I’ve allowed my own sense of the urgent to replace that slower pace. Part of it, I know, is seeing the need, the suffering, the lack of hope in El Callejon. So much needs to be done, so let’s get to it!!
Jesus has promised we will bear fruit if we stay firmly attached to Him. That if we seek His Father’s Kingdom and righteousness, every else will be provided. But, the timing of it? Paul says God, who began His good work in us, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And, as Jesus Himself told us, the timing of that day is not ours to know.
Yes, Jesus. I wonder… During those first 30 years, was He tempted to heal someone? Not even place His hands on them, but just do it from across the road, so no one had to know?
Did He ever desire to multiply the food of a widow who passed by, barely able to walk in her malnourishment? Or raise a husband from the dead, knowing of the wife and many children left without support?
Jesus had faith and confidence in His Father’s timing. Do I? Ah, here is where my faith is tested. Do I have faith to continue when nothing makes sense? When every way I turn seems blocked? When all the things I want to do to see God glorified seem to be failing?
Do I have faith to declare confidence that God is at work? Faith to wait, to prepare, but in the waiting and preparing, to keep seeking?
Oh, Father, I believe, help my unbelief! I am crying for Your help. Open the doors You want me to walk through. Keep firmly closed the ones I may be pushing against, if they are not of Your will.
And, hardest of all, Father, help me to know how long and how hard to keep knocking on doors that for Your good and perfect purposes, are not swinging open readily. How quickly I give up, settling for the easy when my arm (and spirit!) grows tired of knocking. Only in Your Holy Spirit’s power can I persevere.
Thank you that You never leave me or forsake me. Renew in me Your love, Your strength, Your passion to see Your name declared, in El Callejon, in the D.R., in the world.