Peter and I travelled to Ecuador in August with Compassion International.  You can read all my blog posts here.  

This is a continuation of my last blog post.  Here’s Part 1 (Doesn’t that make me sound all professional?!)

So, back to Jorge.

When we followed him back into the jungle to help him plant his cocoa beans, we had no tools.  

Well, he did have his massive machete.  So I guess that counts for something.  

But we didn’t have knives to cut away the membrane from the seed.  After digging my fingernails into the slippery stuff and failing, at the prompting of one of our Compassion Guides, I actually popped that baby into my mouth and sucked the membrane away. 

At first, I was convinced I would die (if the predators/snakes/drug lords didn’t get me first, that is).  But after I relaxed a little, I realized that the membrane was sweet and tasted  a little mango-ish, only better.  

Then, we had to dig a hole in the ground.  Only there were no shovels.  Jorge didn’t own a shovel.  We had to find sticks that were strong enough to dig into the hard dirt.  

I quickly became obsessed with how we could get Jorge a shovel.

His life would be so easy!

He could get so much more done!

He wouldn’t have to bend down so much!

I have all the answers in the world because I am an American and clearly have all the right answers!

Oh.  Snap.   The thought came before I could help it.  And I was so ashamed.

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! James 2:4-6

You see, I had gone into the trip determined to look at people with Jesus’ eyes.   Poor does not equal dumb.  It is not ignorant.  And in the blink of an eye, I dishonored Jorge and his family, even if words did not come out of my mouth.  

So, I’ve been thinking about my own life.  

A girl is sitting on my couch, crying.  She has questions.  Do I have answers?  Far from it.  I feel totally inadequate, desperately searching the files in my brain to come up with something, anything to give her answers.

The kids are fighting (again.).  Kate tells William that if she had been a boy, maybe he would love her.  He rolls his eyes.  My stomach hurts, it makes me so mad.  I want to scream at them, instead I cry.  I thought the hard part of parenting would be the newborns– the feeding and the schedules and the pooping (or lack thereof).  But this?!  

My friend, she had another miscarriage.  I should have the right words, shouldn’t I?  I’ve experienced death, so doesn’t that make me an expert of sorts?  But I keep my mouth shut, because I’m terrified that I’ll say something that doesn’t help at all, or worse, something that actually makes her feel terrible.  

If only I had the right tools, I think.  Truly, Jorge could do so much with a shovel.  And if only I had some answers, some empathetic words, some extra spiritual wisdom, I could be so much more for God.

Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel 2:7-8:

The Lord makes some poor and others rich;

                                                        he brings some down and lifts others up.

He lifts the poor from the dust

                                                       and the needy from the garbage dump.

He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order.
It occurs to me that the poor may not always mean those who have no money.  Tools may be a relative term.  
It also occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, God can do more with me if I don’t have the tools I need to do what He has asked me to do.  When I don’t have the words, when I am desperate for answers, I seek Christ.  I lean into Him.  Isn’t that right where He wants me to be?
He leads me, one seed at a time.  I suck on the sweet membrane of His Words and they sustain me.  I dig into the warm dirt and as I ask for wisdom, I can rest in the assurance that He has set the world in order.  That includes those who sit on my couch, who eat the food I prepare, who sleep under the blankets I have washed and piled on their beds.  Also?  It includes those who plant cocoa beans and pray for a harvest, who don’t know where there next meal comes from, and who drink water that makes them sick.  
Kate lays beside me, she brushes away my tears, holds my hand and asks if I’m okay.  In the blink of an eye I see Jorge’s family and how they  have nothing, nothing.  I feel so needy as I confess to God my complete lack of knowledge and my false sense of wisdom.  
It’s grace that we need, depending on Him to provide the tools to walk through our days.
And maybe?  Maybe someday Jorge will get that shovel.