Lessons to be learned when you come to the end of yourself.

The past 17 days have been pretty cray..

These last two teams were doing some of the hardest (if not the hardest) physical work that FFP has done since I’ve been working here. We were filling in the foundation of the new church building in Kwa Kok with truck loads of rocks and dirt. For those who haven’t seen the pictures several people have shared on FB, let me explain. The church floor is going to be about 4 feet off of the ground in order that it be flood safe, so that whole floor had to be filled in with rubble in order to have it tamped and then the slab be poured. This consisted of shoveling rocks into buckets and bucket lining the material to different parts of the base in order to fill each part equally.

Let’s get to the lesson part.

God is always teaching me in ways that I wouldn’t think he would. The way that he does it is slowly and over time and many times, silently, so that when I look back on something I can see with clarity what I needed to learn and how he taught me just that. I think that part of the reason that he does it this way is that he knows I won’t want to listen or think that I need to learn something and so he just takes the freedom he has to slowly change my heart to see it more like he does. I have experienced this kind of slow and silent change in many ways over the past couple of years. These past two weeks weren’t any different.

There is a pride in me that I never really realized before. It is pride of the ability to do things physically without much help. I’m a big guy, and when I’m feeling strong there are few things that I will not try to do unless I know that I will hurt myself. Here in Haiti there is a good amount of construction that we do and normally I am one of the people that teams call on to lift heavy things or to do jobs that are harder than others just because I’m large. Normally I don’t have a problem with doing these things because I have the ability and (usually) the desire to work. Before, I would have just placed this as good work ethic (which is another conversation) or just the ability to do hard jobs that other people don’t want to and being fine with it. But this time I came to the end of (what I thought was) my own strength. There were many days that I felt I couldn’t go on again. That ability to do hard things was taken away from me and I was forced to face my weakness and call on God for strength to carry on. There have been only a few times I have done that and this time it was the most needed. I was physically spent after the first few days and soon realized that “I can’t do this on my own.”

I needed these past two weeks in order to realize that I can’t do anything without the strength that God provides. I believe I knew that before but I never actually thought about it or often thanked God for the ability to do things. Never before have I asked God to carry me every day and totally rely on the physical strength that he gives for such an extended amount of time. I needed that. I needed to learn how to do that. I needed to see how weak I am physically. I needed to realize how even the ability to do menial things is a grace, much more for big things. I honestly think that if I had not asked for help, I wouldn’t have been able to work for the past week. I would have been in my bed all week! That’s how exhausted I was, but by God’s grace alone I carried on.

There is something painful yet beautiful about coming to the end of oneself in any aspect and having to ask for help to continue on; whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually. It forces us to see that we aren’t the best or anywhere near it. It helps humble us to admit that we do need help. We are all weaker than we’d like to admit and all need help in everything, it just takes some of us longer to realize it than others.. myself included.

In order to learn a lesson when you come to the end of yourself, that means that it took coming to the end of yourself in order to learn it..! whereas you could have learned it somewhere along the way instead of waiting till the very end. These lessons are often most painful because we have put off learning them for so long. This lesson was painful physically because I hadn’t learned it ever before, but the lesson was learned! I am grateful for a gracious God who is patient with us and meets us at the level we are instead of waiting until we get to his level. Thank God for that!

So this week I will be resting and recovering. I want to take a day to fast because I haven’t done that in a long time and as many of you know I am weak in other areas as well. Fighting the good fight isn’t easy, there are many losses along the way but we are assured of the victory in the end! I am looking forward to that sweet victory..

Thanks for tuning in

With love,

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

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