Back before Christmas, I was taking a walk with a friend, and she told me an exciting story. As we walked along, she related to me a story about her young adult daughter. Her daughter was tending two young children one recent day.
They walked through town together, taking in the sights of smells of the seaside town. As they walked, the children undoubtedly spotted all sorts of things which we grown-ups would pass right by, not caring to give a second glance. Tough-as-nails fisherman making their way through the streets, carrying strings of freshly caught fish to sell to local food vendors. Gentle elderly women, bent under the weight of their 5-gallon buckets full of fresh produce from their gardens; eager to sell a bit here or there to bring money to feed their families. Men and women with carts of all sorts, pulling with them their wares, selling many varieties of home-made foods and drinks (often in containers recycled from other uses…). Sharp dressed policemen, always two-by-two; faithfully walking their beats, keeping close watch over the daily activities of the busy marketplace.
The sights. The smell of the salt air. The pungent smell of freshly caught seafood. The warm enticing aroma of chicken sizzling in the food cart’s deep pot of hot oil. The tropical sunlight beaming through the palm leaves dappling the ground with fun patterns. Stray dogs and cats meandering through the streets filled with folks pedaling their bicycles, people struggling home under the weight of the fresh produce just bought in the market. Neatly uniformed schoolchildren make their way through the narrow streets, laughing and making their plans for after school.
Among all these delightful distractions, my friends’ daughter tried to hurry her two charges along the broken sidewalks. Suddenly, one of the children stopped. Stopping all three in their progress. Proudly picking something up off the ground. A colorful little piece of paper. Excitedly, she showed her care-giver; who promptly said…”that’s trash!! Put that down!”
While picking up trash off the ground anywhere is never a really great idea; it can be particularly dangerous in an area where animal feces, human waste matter, or rotting garbage abounds. Thus my friend’s daughter was aghast when she saw the little fingers clutching this piece of paper. But, then she looked again. This little paper was not showing any signs of having been, uh, dirty. It was clean and dry and vibrant.
As she looked at the little colorful paper, she realized with surprise that it was not just a slip of trash, abandoned to the elements. A valueless piece of garbage.
It was a gospel tract!
She then told the child “it’s a Gospel tract”. Which of course was met with…’huh…?’
It talks about Jesus.
“oh…!” The little light of recognition came on, at the sound of that great Name.
She took the “little paper” home to share with her family.
Trash on the ground. Possibly tossed by someone who didn’t see its value. But, God’s Word is more valuable than all the sunken gold treasure filling the bottom of the sea. All the gold in Fort Knox. The wealth of all the nations cannot compare with the Truth.
There are times when we hand our tracts that we’ll see them on the ground, or torn up, or mangled in some way. Which always breaks my heart. That a human heart could be so hard as to attempt to mute the voice of God, speaking through the written Word on a gospel tract.
Then I remember…that God’s purposes ALWAYS come to pass.
His Word is NEVER wasted.
“For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which comes forth from my mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire” –Isaiah 55:10-11
I wear contact lenses. I have for more than half of my life. I also have a complicated family history, and very poor vision. When I was a kid, I would often mistreat my precious eyeballs by reading in my bed (long after I should have been asleep…) under the covers with a dim flashlight. (please, do NOT do that!)
Since becoming a “grown-up”, my goal was to have a visit to the eye doc, once a year. Check on my eye health, and keep my prescription current.
Well, since we came to Belize almost 3 years ago, I have not been able to have a visit to an eye care professional. There is a little clinic in town, which does very basic eye exams. With my family history and my (ahem…) age; I had just settled in myself I would have to wait for a visit to the States before I could get an eye exam.
Then, one morning I was sitting with a dear friend (we have prayer time together once a week) and she randomly mentioned the name of an eye surgeon here in Belize. I was stunned! I didn’t know anything about him. And I had searched, because I wanted to find one.
To be honest, I was very frightened to go to the doctor. My vision had changed. I wasn’t seeing clearly anymore. I was seriously afraid of hearing bad news.
I talked with the Lord about it, and left it at His feet. There was nothing I could do about it anyway.
We showed up at his office In Belmopan (more than 3 hours from our house) early on a weekday morning. I was seen within minutes of arriving to the very modern, well-equipped eye surgeon’s office.
My eye exam went well. My eye health is great.
And guess what? I need a new prescription. Because…my VISION HAS IMPROVED.
As we left our house behind in West Virginia, my eyes poured with tears at all that I was leaving behind. I cried and wailed in agony at the loss. My breathing was interrupted with sobs and those hicuppy spasms you get from crying too much.
This was while driving down a busy interstate in a borrowed car, following my husband in our overloaded 15 passenger van. Our children and 99% of all we owned lumbered down the highway toward our first host home, as we made our way to the Port of Miami to drop off our van.
I couldn’t see.
I couldn’t see through the tears.
I couldn’t see what the Lord was doing.
I didn’t know.
It was more frightening than anything I had ever experienced. And I have seen some frightful things in my life.
The fear gripped me. The sadness choked me. The unknown stood before me; like the gaping mouth of a lion, salivating to devour his prey.
Continually wiping my tear-filled eyes to see the road ahead of me, I was startled by a sudden peace.
The god of this world offers no peace. The god of this world says to gather all your stuff. Gain what you can. Live for now. Keep it all.
“behold, I am doing a new thing.”
I did not know what that meant. Later that night, after a delicious meal at our host home, and the kids were all tucked in their sleeping areas; I sat at the lovely dining room table and searched the Scriptures.
“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past, Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” –Isaiah 43:18-19
Over the last 31 +/- months, the Lord has guided our path. Day by day. Step by step. Providing every need. Indulging us often with things we crave.
When we came to Belize, we were not clear what *all* of our ministry would be. But, we knew one thing for sure. God’s Word would be going forth.
And, by His strength and Provision; it has. And it continues to.
I can’t see what God’s plan is. But, I know it’s good. Because He is good.
“You are good and do good. Teach me Your statutes.” –Psalm119:68
Like that little child, who discovered that gospel tract, among all the distractions of a bustling town; please give me eyes to see…
Lord, give me eyes to see to walk by faith. Even when the whole world shouts at me…”Stop! Don’t pick up that trash.”
“ for we walk by faith, not by sight,” -2 Corinthians 5:7
The Lord’s precious Word has been going forth here in Belize. We are so grateful to be in His service.
By His doing, a new Bible conference has been added in northern Belize! Laborers from Canada and from the United States are coming to come alongside the saints here in Belize; to preach the Word and encourage the saints.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I have plans for today…but they may or may not happen.
What I do know is that I was blind. But now I see. By faith.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see. ~John Newton, 1779
Thank you Lord who calls those out of darkness and into Your marvelous light.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” –Ephesians 1:18
To God be the glory.