Right in Front of You
By Tracy Gordon
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
–1 Peter 4:10-11
In July of 2017, my daughter Holly and I went on a mission trip to Honduras with other youth and adults from PLC. The day we left, my brother called to wish us well and I remember saying to him, “I just pray I can be who God wants and needs me to be down there.” Little did I know, I was going to be used in a way I never imagined. The second day of our trip, we felt our hearts sink to the pit of our souls. Never in my life did I think I would witness such dire conditions in the pediatric ward of the public hospital where we were going to serve. Basic needs weren’t even being met. When we arrived, there was only one bottle of medicine left on their shelves, so the medicines we brought were used immediately. There was not much toilet paper or soap in any of the rooms, and there were often as many as six very sick children in one room, all on mattresses with no sheets or pillows. Most of the families at this hospital lived in the cardboard village where we were also ministering, and many of their children had been waiting weeks or even months for surgeries. Others needed chemo but there wasn’t anything available for them. I felt helpless and angry because so much of the suffering was unnecessary and primarily due to the lack of resources.
That afternoon, we made “praise sticks” with bells with the children so they could shake them to the praise music we were playing. While doing this, I had an overwhelming sense in the moment to give the children some joy like they might not have had in a very long time. What came next could have only come from God (and there’s a video to prove it, yikes!). I decided to lead two pediatric wards of the hospital in the song, “La Cucaracha” with the patients shaking their praise sticks and singing while I sang and shook pretty much every part of my body! I didn’t even know all of the words to this song, especially in Spanish, but somehow out of my mouth they flowed. It was in that moment I saw God’s joy and peace in those children and their parents. In a place where there was such great need, I realized that if I can just focus on what is directly in front of me at a given moment instead of trying to solve an entire situation, I can make a difference, even if it’s a small one.
In 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter tells us that we have all received gifts from God to serve others and that God also provides us the strength to use these gifts. The question is, will we be obedient even when it takes us out of our comfort zone so that in all things, God may be praised through Jesus Christ? I pray that God gives each one of us the courage to say “yes!”
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have gifted each one of us with ways to serve others. Please give us the courage to use these gifts as You see fit even when we feel it won’t make a difference, so that all glory may be given to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.