“Are you ready?” It’s the question everyone asks.
“Yes,” was my answer until a few days ago. Barring a few work-related tasks and a dreaded visit to the doctor for some malaria meds, I was ahead of schedule in the “ready” department. With 2 weeks still left before my departure date, I even had my bag mostly packed, which itself is a miracle. I cannot remember a time in my life when I’ve packed luggage earlier than 2 hours before a trip. I was ready!
Until this past Sunday night at Portico Church when we sang “All the Poor and Powerless.” Suddenly, I realized how unready I really was. I’ve probably listened to and sang the song hundreds of times in the past year without any problem, but I found myself unable to sing at all Sunday night.
All the poor and powerless / And all the lost and lonely / All the thieves will come confess / And know that You are holy / And know that You are holy
And all will sing out Hallelujah / And we will cry out Hallelujah
All the hearts who are content / And all who feel unworthy / And all who hurt with nothing left / Will know that You are holy
Yes, I’ve personally felt much of what the song speaks about. But if I’m honest, being “poor and powerless” or “hurting with nothing left” have, for the most part, been analogies used to describe my emotions or something happening in my spiritual life. Never once have those terms described my physical reality. I’ve not been so poor and powerless that I had sleep in cardboard on the streets or steal food to survive. I’ve not been deemed unworthy because I sell my body to support my family. I’ve hurt, but I’ve still had plenty left.
I couldn’t make it through the song this time because I was thinking about the young women in Rwanda I’ll be meeting soon. If they were to ever sing this song, they’d sing words literally describing what they have lived through. That idea sat heavily with me, and for the first time I felt the weight of my next few months. I found myself overwhelmed with the task of helping the Peace House girls begin to sing “Hallelujah” with their lives. And I felt very un-ready about it.
I’m now claiming “unready” as my new answer to the question. When I get to Rwanda, I want to look into the eyes of a girl, get to know her character, listen to her story, and be startled by how God works in our lives together. No matter how ready I may think I am for something, God tends to do better than I could ask or imagine. He does things that don’t make sense on paper, like tying together a sheltered graphic designer from Louisiana and a prostitute from Rwanda. Who’s prepared for that? Certainly not me. God is ready though, and He’s who I’m banking on.