Finding God in the Midst of Suffering
Blog written by Jenni Ramsey
This week our team has encountered stories of poverty, abuse, incest, unwanted pregnancies, abandonment, addictions and other atrocities in the faces of children too heart breaking to post on this blog. For most Americans, these issues pose the question, “Where is God in the midst of suffering?” I do not presume to have all of the answers to the deep things of God. But I do know this. In the past seven days God has been right here in our midst.
Our team has been reading through David Platt’s book, “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream.” In chapter seven, David Platt submits that God’s people are the answer to the pain and suffering in the world today. He says that Christ’s followers “are the plan of God, and there is no plan B.” As I was reading through this chapter on the flight to El Salvador, God gave me a name for our team, “The Plan A Team.” It has been overwhelming and humbling to realize that we have truly been “God’s Plan A” for the people of El Salvador this week.
I saw the perfect plan of God as I watched my eight-year old son hold, feed and hug abandoned babies. I saw the gracious plan of God in a homeless man’s smile as he shouted “gracias!” and grabbed a bag of food from our truck. I saw God’s plan as my friend Tanya listened to and counseled a teenage mom. Later she cut her hair, and struggled to let her go in an unforgettable good-bye embrace.
I saw the plan of God as the men on our team worked tirelessly in life-squelching heat building a home for elderly men and women who have been forgotten. I saw God’s sacrificial plan as my friend Carin removed the shoes from her feet and handed them to a construction worker in desperate need of shoes. The stories of God’s plans being accomplished through our team are endless. It has been a privilege to be His plan of mercy, compassion and relief to “the least of these.”
We’ve spent a lot of time this week reflecting on God’s plans for our lives as “The Plan A Team.” Proverbs 19:21 says that “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Psalm 33:11 tells us that “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of His heart through all generations.” And Psalm 40:4-5 says “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you, were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”
Our world is broken. No doubt about it. This week we have been reminded that God is a Redeemer, and He can heal anything that has been broken. Anything. By His grace, He has chosen to use us in bringing hope and joy to El Salvador this week. As we return home, we have a heightened awareness of the fact that we are His plan for the hurting world around us. As one of the team leaders, my heart and prayer is that each team member will return home remembering that they are God’s Plan A to reach the suffering souls surrounding them. And Lord willing, many of us will return to serve His people in El Salvador one day soon.