I recently listened to a podcast sermon about Nehemiah and the time when he went back to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The speaker referred to Benjamin and Hasshub, who made repairs in front of their own house. The message resonated within me as I thought about what God is asking of me.
The speaker talked about how we often gaze over the brow of the hill looking for the next thing God has for us. When we do that, however, we can miss the very thing God wants to teach us here and now. Or we can overlook the people who God has brought into our lives at this time.
In pondering this I realised, I need to stop and be still. I need to see what God has placed right in front of me.
In my Pastoral Care role at Hope Medical Clinic, the tasks I find myself involved in are many and varied. From pastorally caring for the resident doctors, to being a patient for their medical practicum; from providing training to clinic staff in the spiritual and relational aspects of patient care, to clearing out storage rooms full of accumulated cast-offs; from being a sounding board for doctors and other staff, to changing light bulbs.
It all makes for some pretty interesting times and those times can also be frustrating. I don’t just work with a variety of issues; I work with a variety of cultures. Chinese, American, and Kiwi are all mixed in together, which means the cultural context of what I’m doing needs to be considered before acting.
On a good day it feels like I’m making progress and helping people. I feel like I’m understanding their circumstances and maybe giving them a different perspective on their situation. But there are also the other days. Days when it feels like I’m pushing water uphill with a rake, as they say, or that I’m child learning to talk again. On those days I sometimes ask, “Okay Lord, why am I here?”
A week or so after hearing that first podcast I was listening to another one. The subject was “Love is Patient.” The speaker said, as we wait patiently before God, it requires an act of trust, and an act of confidence in God.
What encouragement those two messages have been for the days when I feel useless and childlike. One thing I know for sure is that this is where God wants me to be. His encouragement is for me to do the thing that is right in front of me and allow him to do whatever it is he wants to do in and through me.
I can handle that, one day at a time …
– Bruce and his wife Karen are tranzsend workers in East Asia. Their home church is Wellington South Baptist Church.