Grace like Rain
During my commute to work before I came to Liberia, the radio kept playing songs about trusting the Lord through every storm. But little did I know that my commute was the Lord preparing my heart for these three weeks. And when he said to trust him through every storm, he meant it.
When we landed on the single runway at Roberts International Airport in Liberia three weeks ago, I did not fully comprehend that I was in another country with three complete strangers here to teach sports while sharing the gospel. Shuffling through the crowd in the hot, humid baggage claim area, I attempted to find my second luggage with all the sports equipment for the children, but my mind started to panic as reality sunk in that the bag was nowhere to be found. This was the beginning of the Lord showing me his sense of humor and was the first blatant reminder to trust him in all circumstances.
When we think of Africa, we often think of this impoverished continent that is constantly suffering; however, my time here in Liberia speaks of a different truth. A truth that reveals that my fellow Liberian brothers and sisters are filled with an abundant joy, are deeply loved by the Lord, and are his beloved people. They express an everlasting joy because their happiness is not in the temporary, but their hope is placed in their eternal identity in Christ. In all of my doubts and attempts to search for meaning in my faith, these children have taught me that all the answers have always been in front of me. And I have found a greater peace in knowing the gospel truth here in Liberia knowing that I will never be able to fully comprehend how great and vast God is, but I stand in awe of his constant provision and faithfulness. But through it all, the Lord has empowered us by his grace alone every step of the way.
There have been more days where we have had to prepare for rain than the sun. Sports managers are always inclined to plan ahead, so by instinct, I consistently watched the rain fall and kept asking two things, “How do we entertain children while it is raining inside? And how do we not let the rain hinder our attitude?” But rain or shine, the Lord had his own plans for us. And as I reflect back on these past three weeks of teaching football, basketball, and volleyball, I cannot help but smile and laugh at all the times I attempted to teach with my own strength because those were the times that I was reminded that obedience could only be accomplished by God himself. In a world that demands instant gratification, there were times where we had hefty expectations that the children would follow directions and pick up the sport we were teaching effortlessly. But these were the times that the Lord whispered his perfect patience over us. Even in the depths of our sin, he shows us compassion and continues to love us perfectly. The Lord exchanged my weariness with his renewed strength. And it is with comfort that I know that Christianity is not a religion based on works, but a relationship of complete dependence as we follow him. Following God has an eternal security beyond anything of this world. And this is where my joy remains constant.
As my time in Liberia comes to an end, it will be bittersweet leaving this village, the constant chatter, and the God-filled children all around me. But I rest assured that I will see my brothers and sisters again, whether it is here on Earth or in heaven. Just as I had to trust that the Lord knew that my second luggage would arrive the day before I was teaching basketball, I continue to trust that I can live confidently with and for the Lord because we have “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ with us” (Philippians 4:23). As C.S Lewis once wrote, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Praise be to God, for his love endures forever.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14
Anna Cho, Virginia Women's Basketball
To God Be The Glory!