During my last few months in Guatemala the lockdown ended, and restrictions began to lift allowing for certain activities to resume, for glimpses of “normality” to return. Through the lockdown God had started some great works in me. Of course, it was not all a breeze, but I took the time to really lean into God and He kept on showing up; revealing more of His love and grace. I was glad to have simply survived the lockdown but even more grateful that God used the time to work in me.
Once we were allowed out again, one of the things I was able to do was to meet one-on-one with the young men from my youth group. Over cups of coffee we were able to talk, laugh and even cry together, as we shared and processed some of the recent heartaches and challenges. These mentoring-style meetings were a blessing all round. We were even able to meet in a group of 10 before I left, allowing for time to celebrate and to say a real “adios”. In Guatemalan culture “despedidas”, “farewell” events are popular, and they include everyone sharing words about the person leaving. The one with my youth was a gift straight to my heart.
In the lead-up to me leaving Guatemala I spent my days going through all my things and all my emotions as I packed but it wasn’t until the day that I moved my belongings into storage that I was able to finally let myself be excited. Until that point there had been too much to do, too many goodbyes to say. But three days before my flight I had moved my things and had said almost every goodbye, thankful for every moment, and was finally able to relax and think about my trip home. God showed me that day and on many other occasions how much He cares about the details, even the small ones. From the big details, like the beautiful farewell event with my youth; a testament to shared life, community, and love; to the small details, like a removal from start to finish done in two hours; a miracle. The ways in which God showed me that He cares about the details in 2020 are numerous and for that I am thankful.
He even gave me a beautiful reminder as I have been reading through the Psalms with a friend and at just the right time we came to Psalm 37:23-24,
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
It is with this knowledge that I choose hope, even in the increased uncertainty of what this time will look like.
I can say I trust you, Immanuel, God with us.