As I was driving around Suffolk this morning, doing some last-minute errands before heading to Haiti to serve for a season under the ministry of Supply and Multiply, I caught myself paying closer attention to my surroundings than I might normally have done.
There was the new development being built over by Bennett’s Creek, and I wondered whether it would be complete when I return home. There was the vacant nursery where we bought so many of the azalea bushes that surround our home. Will someone buy the property and begin turning it into something new while I’m gone? There’s the neighbor’s home with the dumpster sitting out front, part of a renovation project he began a couple of months ago. I wonder if it will be completed soon.
And then, driving back home, I was cut off in traffic by a lady who was clearly in a big hurry to get wherever she was headed. It struck me suddenly that she didn’t even use her horn as she passed me on the merge before the Godwin Bridge. Clearly she doesn’t understand the rules of driving, which dictate that the horn is second only to the brakes in automotive importance. Evidently my mind is already making a switch to Haitian traffic customs.
With my wife in the air on the way to see her family in California, I find myself now looking ahead to the next big step for our family. Suddenly, to be completely honest, this all seems insane. How will I manage these coming months without my wife and mother? For 18 years, I haven’t done anything important without Annette by my side; how will I do this ministry in a foreign land, where everything is so wildly different than it is here, without there with me?
I don’t know the answer to that question, other than to say that it not I who will do any of it, but the Spirit of God within me. And I know my family will be here praying for me, seeking strength from the same God who will be strengthening me, calling for my guidance and protection from the same God whom I will be calling on to guide and protect them.
That knowledge brings me a degree of peace, even in the midst of the fears that the enemy attempts to use to derail me before I’ve even begun my trip. He is one God, unchanging, infinite in His mercy and love, creator of all and Lord of all.
What do I have in common with the people I have been calling my family in Haiti? At the very foundational level, I have God in common with them. Proverbs 22:2 says it this way: “The rich and the poor have a common bond, the Lord is the maker of them all.” (NASB)
The cultural and economic differences between Suffolk, Va., and Montrouis, Haiti, are staggering. The miles that separate these two places already feel like a vast gulf. But God is over all of it and over all of us.
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)