Saturday, November 1, 2008

One Year Ago...Seeing God BIG, Part 1

I’m not sure why today feels so significant, but I just can’t stop thinking about what I was doing this time last year…

Nick, my mom and I, after 2 very long layovers in American cities, an 18 hour flight and a 5 hour, very scary bus ride in rain and unbelievable fog, were in Swaziland, South Africa. My mom had been before, but this was a first for Nick and I…we were on our very first mission trip!

It was an unbelievable trip… My prayer, leading up to the trip had been a plea “to see God big.” I wanted to see what He could do, and WOW, did He answer that request. We didn’t see any miraculous healings, or anything like that, but it’s where I learned, very clearly, that God shows up BIG in the details of our lives…

On our second day there, my mom and I, along with several others, were doing vision testing in the community. None of us had any idea what we were doing, but somehow, God was providing. They would sit down in front of one of our vision testing machines, we’d punch the buttons, and we’d get a reading. We’d always do it a couple of times to be sure the reading was correct, but if you’re reading this and you work in ophthalmology, you’re probably cringing…not exactly the best way to prescribe glasses…but it was all they had.

After we would get a reading, they would take their ‘prescription’ (I use that word very loosely) over to the ladies who were handing out glasses…there were hundreds (probably close to a thousand) of pairs of glasses that had been donated and their prescription was marked on them. All day long, people would get excited over their new glasses…

But the one that still takes my breath away was at the end of the day…we were all packed up and waiting for our ride back to the orphanage when another, older lady came in…she had received the flyer, but couldn’t read it well enough to know what time to come.

We were exhausted, but we unpacked everything and I sat down to take her reading…I was stunned…surely this can’t be right…
-9.75 and -10.25…she was legally blind. I did her reading several times and every time it came up the same. “Lord, we will never be able to help this woman.” He must have thought… “You have such little faith.”

I sent her out to where we had packed up the glasses, again thinking, “Even if we had them, we’d never find them…,” as I said, there were hundreds and hundreds of them…

But before I knew it, she was running back into the room, dancing, hugging and singing…SHE COULD SEE! The ladies looking for glasses had opened one of the boxes and the very FIRST pair they picked up had the EXACT prescription that she needed!



I can’t even begin to describe the emotions of that moment…the understanding that would come in the following days…

In America, we have so much…just yesterday…Mackenzie and I went to the eye doctor. Turns out Mackenzie is near sighted and this will probably explain her headaches and aching eyes…and then, I just needed to get a more powerful prescription…you know..age and all!

I didn’t like the prices of the place we were at, so I did some checking and found someone who would take our insurance…we saved a TON and it was still expensive, we had hundreds to choose from and they will make them to the exact specifications that we need…what an incredible blessing!

But Margaret (that was her name) didn’t have the same opportunity, and still God provided!

In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus said, “25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

All week long, I watched God provide for people in impossible situations and I was deeply convicted that we have so much that we miss seeing God really work…we are not dependent on Him for the basics of life and I think it makes it harder for us to trust Him for the bigger things in life…as I’m learning with Abby, trust grows best when you’re given the opportunity to meet a person’s most basic needs.

I think over the next few days, I will tell you a few more stories from our trip to Africa. It was an amazing week of seeing God BIG in the smallest details of life!


Leslie said...

Oh Sharla, I am just sitting here crying. PLEASE do tell us more. What amazing photographs. Is that your Mom with Margaret?

And the verse you shared about Jesus meeting our needs, that is the VERY ONE He spoke to my spirit so strongly a year ago this time. He clearly said to me that Susannah was already born and that He was very much meeting her NEEDS. And that is how we chose her name as Susannah means "lily" in Hebrew.

And another thing I love about this post is seeing how when we do such simple, LITTLE acts like giving our old glasses back to the store where we purchase our new ones, that they REALLY DO go to someone in need and how God can use that simple act in such a profound way! I always give mine back but have also had little faith in them actually making it somewhere. The store I go actually says that they themselves go on these medical mission trips and take them but I often wondered about the REAL people who received them. Now just look at Margaret! What a wonderful story of God's power!

Denise said...

Oh please share more...what a wonderful story to remind us of how much we take for granted in our country~

Anonymous said...

What absolutely fond, special, and blessed memories you just brought to my mind. I too have been thinking about, "this time last year"!

I am sure you have already thought of this, but show the picture of the bench---I love that story, and of course I know you will remember so many of the other sweet precious times.


Miltonville said...

Ahhhh, but you forgot to tell the very best part of the story. In my own etes.

It was me, the Jewish one, the only non-Christian, traveling with all of you who said....

I said..."Dear G-d, If it is true what they say about you showing up BIG in Africa then show me a Miracle right this very second. On second thought, nevermind. I already believe in you completely and wholeheartedly.

Then I said...

Jesus, if YOU are who YOU say you are then YOU PERFORM A MIRACLE right now this very second by helping us find the pair of glasses that this woman needs so badly yet I know do not exist in this box.

I asked for this "Miracle" just to see if what you all say is true - is true. No offense.

I said this prayer in complete silence next to Eleasha and as she opened the box, I held my breath.

I said "Eleasha, you know what would be a miracle? If these glasses were in this box. But would be an absolute miracle is if the glasses you are holding (the very first pair picked up from the thousands in the box) are 9.75R and 10.25L."

And they were!

That's my side of the miracle story.