No surprises…

It’s been a heavy week.  There is no denying that.  It started with news that one of our children in one of our closer communities passed away.  She would have been turning 13 years old this year.  She was born with HIV, not even having a chance in life, and died of an associated illness.  It’s one of those moments where I got angry and sad reflecting on how unfair life can be.  We also found out some of the youth leaders we have been raising up in a few of our communities, have fallen back into destructive patterns of living, which also brings sadness, disappointment and sometimes even a hopelessness.  The questions lingers, “Is what we are doing really making any difference?”

In addition to these reminders that have weighed on my heart, there have also been a few other events this week that have served to remind me that we are living and working among vulnerable, desperate people, who because of their circumstances are somewhat forced to make poor life choices that have consequences on not only their own lives but on the lives of others around them.

It has not been easy.

And yet, at the same time, in so many things I can see how God is clearly moving.  We have been preparing this week for church mobilisation training in one of our communities in the Congo.  Our vision at Hands at Work is to see the local Church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphans and widows, and unified in this mission with the Church outside Africa.  This year we have such a focus on “awaking the sleeping giant”, stirring up the local church here in Africa and within our communities to be all that they are called to be.  It’s a huge mandate and responsibility, but I am honestly deeply expectant for how God is going to show up and move this week in Kikula Community, DRC.  Pray with us that God will have his way in this training and that the church will arise and take up responsibility in this community and in all of the communities we work in across Africa.

I am reminded that God is Sovereign.  The dictionary defines sovereignty as “a supreme ruler”, “possessing supreme or ultimate power”.  I translate this to mean that there is no higher authority or power than Him, and I believe He is always still in control regardless of the situation or circumstance I am in.  I do believe that He will work out His will and purpose in the lives of those who are genuinely seeking Him.  Now I realise this is dangerous territory, and I am not saying that God makes bad things happen in lives our intentionally.  I am also not saying that his sovereignty negates our free will.  But both of these thoughts are much longer and deeper theological discussions best left for another day.  (And I am confident there are many concepts our finite minds cannot fully grasp this side of eternity!)

What I am comforted by is the fact that ultimately I believe that God is in control and that nothing takes Him by surprise.  Even when many things take me by surprise.