A Buffet or Ingredients?

At my church in Cochabamba, the young single people are in charge of cleaning the church. Each week it is a different group, and this week it was my group’s turn. I was early (and by that I mean 10 minutes late) getting there, and so I decided to get breakfast for the rest of the group on the way. One of my favorite things about Bolivia is how relational everything is. Relationships are more important than finishing things quickly, so instead of getting right to work cleaning the church, we spent 30 minutes eating and talking.  After that we spent another hour or so cleaning, and then it was time to eat again. Cochabamba is known as the city in Bolivia that eats the most… just one of the reasons I love it. ;)

As we sat in a little circle eating bread and drinking Coca-Cola, we began to talk about traveling, and then that led to talking about being far away from home. Like most Hispanic cultures, until you get married – you live with your family. Especially if you’re a woman. I was quiet as I listened to the conversation, and then one of the guys that lived with his family pointed out that there were two of us that didn’t live with our families who weren’t saying anything.

Immediately the verse from Matthew 19:29 came into my mind, and I was overwhelmed by how true it has been.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my names sake, will receive a hundred times, and will inherit eternal life.” 

Since Saturday morning, I have been constantly thinking about that verse, and God’s goodness. In SO many ways, God has provided just what I needed and more.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 talks about how there is a time for everything, and a season for everything under Heaven. I have been studying Ecclesiastes, and listened to a sermon that talks about how we like to take the different seasons and look at them like a buffet line. (You can listen to that sermon here.) Yes, I’ll take some birth, some planting, healing, building, laughing, dancing, gathering, embracing, seeking, loving, and peace please. No thank you to the dying, killing, breaking, weeping, mourning, etc….

But these verses aren't a buffet, they are ingredients. Nobody likes to eat flour, but we all like to eat cake. God is always in control. These aren't things that just happen randomly, they are ALL things God allows to happen. God allows the bad, because he can use it for his glory, and our joy. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon ends this section by saying, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into the hearts of man, yet so that they cannot find out what He has done from beginning to end.”  

At this moment, I am filled with thanksgiving. Tomorrow, or in ten minutes, I might not be. But I am thankful for this promise, that God’s ways are bigger than ours, and in time EVERYTHING will be made beautiful.


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