One of the biggest challenges I think both Charlene and I are dealing with as we have started working in the slums is that sometimes the problems and needs just seem too great to deal with. For example recently I met with a Mama who has 4 children, and she is 5 months behind on her rent. She is at great risk of losing her home and has no place to stay. She cannot afford to send any of her children to school and the oldest child Jonathan is sick.
I just sat there listening to her story and feeling quite powerless at the situation she was in. I think often my reaction to problems is “what can I do to solve it?”, “How can I fix this?” “What plan could I put in place?”
Sometimes it feels there is little I can offer but then I remember that I am not dependent on my own resources or even the resources the charity currently has. We are dependent on God, and I am really beginning to learn what this means.
Back in the UK it was really easy to say/sing that I depended on God for everything but in reality did I? I felt like I was in control of my circumstances. I did not need anything really, and what I did not have I knew I could work harder for or get on credit. I feel very different here as I spend time with families in the slums. I do not feel in control and I am very aware of the things I lack, like the ability to solve the issues that confront me. It is here that I am beginning to get a new understanding and realisation of dependency on God. He has to intervene, He has to make a way, because In my own strength I have so little to offer. For the mama’s we work with God is in reality, and not just nice religious words, their only hope.
So back to the Mama I met, the only response I could give, and the best response was this….to pray, to seek God, to cry out to him on their behalf. I know this may seem a cop out to some, or hard to understand but I am certain that my God is not only listening but cares. We see answers to pray, God stepping in at points when we have nothing to give, all the time.
It is humbling to be come to terms with your own lack of power and control and submit yourself to something greater than yourself. However it is also incredibly liberating and exciting, because it is when we understand this, that God shows up and everything changes.