Prayerfully Speaking

Hope from the Truths of God's Word

a Picture of Resilience

This is a guest post from my inspiring, mission-minded friend,  Angela Jennings, Student Ministries Director at Woodland Hills Family Church.

Your shelter can be a structure made of cement, mud, steel, or wood. It can have a roof of tin or shingles all perfectly placed. It could be that special tree you sit under with your family on Sundays. It might be the job you have worked at for 20 years or that person who would leave that same job to sit beside you in your most weak time.

We all like a place we can let down and feel completely at ease. We need somewhere to rest and when we find that it is better than gold. We hug it tightly and put up pictures, speak vows, make friendships, and settle in. Soon you can’t imagine this shelter not being there and you wake up each day expecting it.

Then it happens, because it happens to all… You find yourself in a place where your shelter is gone.

On my most recent trip to Haiti I was at church and in an open room, filled with dark eyes one little pair stood out.  Finea Fique was soon standing right beside me latched onto my side saying nothing just latching. She was just six but I noticed her eyes seemed to say she was stoic and full of wisdom. She talked rarely but skipped everywhere.  I had made an instant friend!

Finea is the pastor’s daughter. When I figured this out I knew why I sensed the strength in her.  She had been through a lot during the earthquake. They lost special people. The home, church, and school that her family had built with prayers, and hard work all fell. While they were grieving they also were the people the community came to for assurance that there was hope.

Their new home was now a spot in a cement building that was half intact. There were cracks and crumbling but this was now shelter. They had very, very little in their home but they did have an extremely large, beautiful dinner table. The chairs had been carved out with detail and the seats had crushed velvet. Each day they would ask us to please come over for dinner.  So, after our work we would all gather around this large table in a half standing home and enjoy one another. Anyone who came by was invited in.

One afternoon this picture of resilience stirred me. In an effort to not cry in front of all these strong people I went outside and found a temporary seat on some blocks. I was praying in run on sentences and questioning God all at once…

“How can God ask people to endure so much? God I am mad that kids had to go through this… Could I be this joyful, under these conditions? Is my faith weak? Do I trust in things that do not last? Why do I have so much security and others have none?..”

Then little Miss Finea came skipping along. She stared at me for an awkward amount of time and then spoke in English, “I am doing very okay, Angela.” Then she played with my hair and wiped the dirt off my hands with her little white dress.

Here is a simple life lesson from a Haitian 6 year old… Our shelters in life can come from homes, people, jobs, and vows. These are all very good things called blessings. However, these sorts of shelters are moment-to-moment. They will crumble and they will not endure. This is the nature of our world.  It is right to cherish these blessings but we can’t stack our security on top of them.

Finae had to learn at a very young age that our only lasting shelter is the refuge we take in the Most High God. On the last day in my attempt to say goodbye Finea yanked on my shirt, which brought me down to her level. She spoke some speedy sounding Creole and ran off.  Our translator smiled, took a long pause and told me she said…

“God never ever leaves us!”

About Jennifer O. White

I'm a simple wife who has discovered God's amazing gift of prayer. Here at Prayerfully Speaking I share my journey of unwrapping this gift. God invites us to ask Him, but His enemy works diligently to keep that from happening. I hope to offer you encouragement to believe God is ready to pour more into your life than you've ever imaged.