I vividly remember arriving here in Kolkata. Stepping out of the airport into the hot and somewhat viscous October night air, and being greated by a symphony of horns, and shouts. I remember waiting for a little over half an hour for someone to meet me so I could find out where I would be staying. I remember finally meeting that person and finding out that they thought I was going to be arriving at a different gate. I remember the bus ride, the conversation, and the arrival at my hotel. And honestly, it feels like it was yesterday, but it also feels like it was a month ago. My time here has gone by in a blur, it feels as though I am on a speeding train/motorbike/auto rickshaw (really any form of transportation) ride. I have been able to see many different places, meet many different people, try many kinds of food (stay tuned for a blog post dedicated to food), and have had many different experiences. These include sleeping on a cement floor in a church unexpectedly, nearly falling out of an auto rickshaw going 60km/h, putting a chair through a freshly made mud floor, climbing a bamboo ladder that I really had no business being on, and using many a squatty potty. But this time has also felt like a long journey that has only just begun. I have experienced dissapointment, fear, confusion, and sadness. This month has brought hardship and tribulation (big words!). However, in these moments when God can seem so far away I have experienced Him in some powerful ways.
I was reading the other day in Romans 12 where it talks about the “Marks of the True Christian” and a piece of it struck me as like an “Oh I get it.” moment. I am not saying that I “get it”, but this particular verse made an impact on me. The verse that I’m talking about is Romans 12:15. It says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” It was a really cool passage to read in the context of that being a mark of the true Christian. If this is a mark of the true followers of Christ, that means this is a mark of the true Christ, right? If this makes us more like Christ than it must have been what Christ was like. This verse brought so much comfort in the knowledge of the empathetic side of our Heavenly Father. The phrase “God knows just what we need” gets used a lot today, and I agree 110%, but I always thought that had to mean he would bring us out of our hardship or struggle. He always had to lighten the mood and make things better, because, He knew we needed that. But on this day I saw this phrase in a new way. God does know exactly what we need, and sometimes we just need to be able to bear our soul and cry out to Him that we are in anguish. Psalm 51 speaks about the sacrifice of the Lord being a broken heart and a contrite spirit. So in my struggles I decided to do that, and let’s just say it involved some salt water flowing from my eyes, but in a manly way. As I laid in my bed with tears in my eyes, unable to sleep, and just all around bummed right out I experienced a part of God that I had been missing out on. It was as if He was sitting there on the bed beside me shedding tears with me, and feeling the same hurts that I was feeling. It was as if He had put His loving arm around me and said “I know buddy, it sucks.” There was no grand revelation that He would make it go away, or that things would get better. There was no magic formula of how I could ease the pain or the struggle that I was feeling, but there was empathy. And in this struggle, in that moment that is what I needed.
GlobeTREK Update: I am a month and a bit into my internship! Things are going decently but there are a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out so prayer for doing that with wisdom and discernment on my side and my partner organizations side would be much appreciated! Also, some of my team members were having some difficulty with their visa situation but it looks like everything is sorted! So PTL!
Thanks for reading friends!
Grace and peace,