“If the rain doesn’t stop, how will you go?” I looked away from the window to see who was talking to me. I saw my friends wife standing there waiting for a reply. I just looked kind of blankly at her while I considered my options. And keeping in mind that this was only my second full day in India, and I had no idea which part of the city I was in, my options were rather limited. Now, let me explain why rain caused such a big problem for transport. The first reason being that we had come on a motorcycle with absolutely no rain protection. And the second being that Kolkata lacks appropriate drainage for such a downpour and so with the numerous potholes and curbs that litter the streets hidden by water, it would be almost idiotic to try to ride a motorbike across the busy city in the dark and the rain. As 10pm hit, our cut off point, my friend broke the news to me that we would be sleeping on the cold cement of the old schoolhouse that was hosting a large church conference. We had no pillows, no blankets, and no sleeping mats. I was crushed. I should explain that in the 4 days prior to this I had, been awake for 34 hrs, been traveling for 12 hrs, preached in two churches, and “slept” for a combined total of about 13 hrs. I was pretty tired, mentally and physically, and honestly a little frustrated at the lack of solutions to our problem. Long story short, I ended up lying awake on a church floor in the middle of a rainstorm for about 5.5 hrs.
During this “adventure” I was reminded of the disciples as Jesus sent them out and told them to bring nothing with them. I wondered how many cold church floors they had to sleep on. I thought about the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of people who didn’t even have a hard church floor to sleep on in the same city where I was complaining about not having my warm hotel bed. Even though it was something so miniscule and seemingly unimportant, it gave me a window into what it means to sacrifice your comforts. There was no feel good reward of having helped someone by sleeping on the floor to ease the sore back and drowsy eyes. But there was an awareness that this is sometimes what it means to be a Christian. Sometimes we need to give up our comforts, sometimes we need to just go and do, and not worry about what we get in return.