Wow. Three days until I leave this incredible place that has stolen my heart. It is so wonderful and I am so happy here. But there are days when the reality of it all hits me and my eyes and my heart are opened wide to the pain that surrounds me.
In the time we’ve spent in the heart of Kampala or especially in the slums of Kabalagala, I have seen so much brokenness. Tiny little children, they can’t be older than three years old, sitting in the street with their hands cupped, begging for money or food or anything. They stare up at me and smile. I can’t get their faces out of my mind. Or walking down the streets of Kabalagala, the “red light district” of the city, I see drunks lying on the side of the street or young girls who are most likely forced into prostitution to survive. Walking down the street I look into their eyes and I see so much brokenness, so much pain, I can almost feel it in my own heart. I try to smile to offer them even a little bit of the joy, the hope that I have, but what does that do? How can I even help? I know exactly what they need. I know who can completely heal and satisfy them forever. But there are just so many people. There is so much hurt. There is so much brokenness. How do you even start to fix a problem that big? I feel like there is nothing I can do.
I’m just having such a hard time finding the ability to praise God and thank Him in the midst all of this. I know we are supposed to give thanks to God in all circumstances, but how? How can I look at these tiny faces and broken eyes that are etched in my mind and thank God for their suffering?
I guess that’s where trust comes in. Trusting that God works everything out for good. Not for our good, but for His good. “God is good”. That’s so easy to say, but sometimes it’s so hard to actually believe it. Every day I see so much brokenness and pain and suffering. I know God has the ability to redeem the brokenness and turn it into something beautiful, He can weave even the deepest sorrow into something good, but what about now? What about those tiny children on the street right now feeling hunger-pains and what about those hopeless, pain-filled eyes? Where does that leave them? And where does that leave me?
I guess we just need to realize that God does not work to make us happy, but ultimately to fulfill His own purpose. No matter what we are going through, God is good. How can we be so selfish to think that God’s goodness is dependent upon us and our circumstances? “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:7-8. Thankfully His goodness transcends our petty human thinking and difficult circumstances. So, that’s what I’m working on. Praising God for His goodness, even in the midst of so much pain. I still struggle with it; some days I just don’t understand. But thankfully God doesn’t require our understanding, just our praise. And He deserves it. Because He is so good.
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever” – Psalm 136:1