I’m smiling as I stand barefoot, on a grass lawn: I kick off my shoes so I can feel the coolness of the grass under my feet – so different from the concrete around our home in Belo Horizonte! We arrived in Rio de Janeiro this morning after an exhausting 8 hour bus trip during the night: cooler to travel at night. Our bodies are tired, but mine is being refreshed.
After delicious hot café com leite (boiling hot milk poured into strong dark Brazilian coffee with natural raw sugar to sweeten it,) freshly baked and still warm crunchy individual pães (french bread) broken open and covered with dabs of melting butter and exotic fruit marmalades, different sliced cheeses, sweet pineapple slices and papaya – that was our breakfast, sprinkled with laughter and love!
I am now wandering outside with the warm sun on my back and from the vantage point of this high hill, looking over the lawn’s retainer wall below me to see a mosaic of houses, then of tall apartment buildings and businesses and, there, in the far distance, I see the glint of the Atlantic Ocean under the canopy of a deep azure sky.
As I wander on the grass, I am conscious of the voices in the background: friends conversing intermingled with the laughter of children. But this is my moment alone, and I cherish it and hold it like a soap bubble shimmering in my hand. I know it won’t last long, but I’m enjoying the beauty of it while I have it.
My muddled thoughts become words to God. Questioning the financial challenges we’re experiencing (because donors in the states didn’t keep their promises of giving to our mission outreach), on top of the other strains and stresses of language and life with all the cultural customs that we keep bumbling into.
“Lord, what can we do differently? Where can we go for help?”
As my thoughts and question form into words, I continue looking around me, feeling the sun and the green grass, my physical body soaking in the sounds and sensations of the day that surrounds me. This is so good!
My conversation with God continues. Father, where can we go for help?
We are foreigners in a strange country. Here in Brazil, there are no such things available when needed like food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits. I become aware that, in the states, I had unconsciously depended upon the “safety net” these government services provided. But now – there is no safety net. There is nowhere nor no one to whom we can turn to for help.
I suddenly stop, when the thought penetrates into my brain.
We are totally alone here. There is only God to help us.
It is between Him and us!
I look up at the blues of the sky overhead. I watch small clouds playfully dancing past, changing shapes fashioned by the winds. I feel the breeze blowing through my hair and touching my skin. I feel life around me and life in my body. My mind is quiet and at rest.
I’m astonished at the peace I am sensing.
God, my Father. The One I’ve talked to since I was a small child in my bedroom, with Whom I conversed when I fed the chickens and gathered the eggs, Who was my friend when I climbed a special cherry tree, its branches forming a natural chair for me to sit and read, hidden from others by its rustling leaves, Who has comforted me when I wept, and danced with me when I laughed.
He is beside me at all times. . . I can trust Him.
We will depend upon Him. He is our safety net. Government red tape fails. People we love, fail. But God does not fail! His Word is true reality.
I stand there alone, surrounded by His love and thank Him. My life focus has forever shifted.
I turn towards my children as they call to me to come see something they want to share with me. The soap bubble disappears.
My mind is no longer muddled.
I personally know Who is with us. We need no one else.
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
How do you think my focus changed? Do you think it was a positive change?
What about you? What is your focus?
Are you trying to resolve everything by yourself, yet failing miserably?
Have you hit the wall, and you have no one to turn to?
Read the rest of Psalm 91 and Psalm 23. Read them out loud, slowly and thoughtfully, listening.
Let me know what you think. . .