Updated: May 24, 2021
Two weeks ago, I had to cancel my next flight to Uganda. It wasn’t much of a decision– it just had to be done. Weeks of carefully monitoring flight prices, emailing sample itineraries back and forth with our Ugandan partners, praying over who God might bring on the trip… all for nothing. In a moment, all that work seemingly negated. And I had no choice.
This choice-less experience has been the “MO” lately. Before all of this, there was a feeling of wide-open space in the future– a broad meadow with a clear sky. There were many decisions to make and opportunities to seize. When do I go to Uganda? When should I plan to visit my in-laws next? Can we afford that next big purchase that we have been saving for? Before, I could see forward (or so I thought) to the next few years and what they could look like. I could go on this or that trip, make this or that move, change my career in this or that way. So many coulds.
Overnight it seems, in place of the meadow of opportunity, high and impenetrable walls have risen. The distant horizon is not visible anymore. My mind revolves around wondering what tomorrow is going to look like, nevermind the next year. With little warning, my choices have been restricted to choosing what day of the week to don a mask and brave the grocery store.
Can anyone relate? I think so. So many people I know have been in a more precarious economic position than ever before, and some have actually been shoved over the cliff of unemployment. To a greater degree than I expected, I hear family members expressing worry for one another’s health. To put it very bluntly, death has come closer than we like to think it’s allowed to. We forget that it can do that.
Like many of you, I also sponsor a child who attends Solid Rock Christian School in Uganda. I have been there a handful of times now, on one occasion for over a month, and I have been able to visit her family a few times. I have been thinking about her off and on. She is probably already a foot taller since I last saw her. She’s really at an age where she should be shooting up into tween years, with proper nutrition that is. Hm. Proper nutrition is a luxury in her life, I remember.
That is, it used to be before she was sponsored and went to school. Before she went to school, she was home all day. Her family didn’t have any savings. She couldn’t have afforded to go to a doctor without her dad borrowing money. I wonder how they are fairing under quarantine.
I realize that some of what the children and families in Uganda are experiencing now was normal. Not going to school, lack of access to healthcare, job insecurity, depleted savings. They know what it feels like to have high walls all around, to not be able to see to the horizon of next month, let alone next year. They know what it feels like for their daily menu of choices to consist only of things relevant to the day they’re living in. The heightened insecurity many of us are experiencing right now is (likely to a greater degree) part and parcel of the poor Ugandan family’s life.
As I have been pushed into heightened insecurity, my faith has been tested, and well it should be. This is the pressing question: Do I really believe that God is faithful to me and my family even now? And if I don’t, who am I to proclaim his faithfulness to a people who live like this every day?
Do I really depend on my money, career, or future hopes for my family, or do I depend on God? I think of the Ugandan families I know who walk with Jesus. To this day, I have not met people who depend on God more than they do. And not just in word by quoting a verse in an Instagram post. They depend on God with their whole heart.
Thinking of them reminds me of a song:
"Nobody said this would be easy Anyone who did never went through anything painful But faith is not some fragile thing that Shatters when we walk through something hard So, we walk on whatever may come.
The families I know walked through a lifetime of uncertainty, and out of nowhere God brought some Americans and Ugandans together and started a school in the middle of the forgotten villages, just for them. I have talked to so many parents who prayed and prayed, and Solid Rock Christian School was the miraculous answer to their prayers for their children.
God was glorified by meeting their need. He did it for them. Though they’re in lockdown now, he can do it again.
God was glorified by meeting their need. We need His help no less. Whatever my needs are, the experience of my brothers and sisters in Uganda testifies to me that God can meet them.
The quarantine will end, and more than ever students will need the school. I’m glad that God has continued to provide for me so that, from a distance, I can keep providing for them. I want to make sure that when the lockdown lifts, emergency food can be distributed from the school kitchens and the clinic can be re-opened. Whatever they need, God will provide, and if He uses me to provide it, so be it. As for us on this side of the Atlantic, I’m sure He will do the same.