Something that I have consistently found when serving on missions trips is that God always uses the experience to mold and shape the Christian almost as much as (and sometimes more than) he uses the experience to benefit the community. I have been on several trips in my life and it has struck me how he always seems to challenge and comfort me in new ways.
This week, I have been learning that God’s grace is new and sufficient every moment. On Monday we ventured through the 98° urban wilderness of North Philadelphia, and we were just ending our morning session of health screenings. We had been been conducting our screens outside for around two and a half hours and our group was beginning to feel worn down. That was when we knocked on the door of our last house for the morning. A man answered when we knocked, and we told him our familiar message that we were from Esperanza Health Center and were doing health screens in the community for free. Immediately the man welcomed us into his home (with AIR CONDITIONING!!) and offered us all cold water bottles. The relief that the man provided was physical, but it was not merely physical. The Lord used this seemingly small experience to energize our team and provide exactly what we need when we needed it.
Through this experience, the Lord has taught me that he provides Christians with the exact measure of grace that they need just when they need it. Just when we feel that we are being stretched beyond what we are able to bear, the Lord richly provides grace—and often it is above what we need, expect, or can comprehend. Throughout our time doing door-to-door screenings, I have so clearly seen the Lord work through small acts of grace: acts such as giving us courage, energy, and the words to speak in every situation.
The verse that I am reminded of in this situation is 1 Corinthians 15:10 which states, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” Only by God’s grace can we do ministry, and it is only be his grace that the ministry can be effective.
This is a truth that I will remember and take home after the trip is over. Wherever we are in life, whether in school, work, at home, with family, or with friends, it is vital to always treasure the fact that God always supplies the perfect measure of grace for his people. I pray for myself and for all Christians to embrace this truth and to trust in his arms daily.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 2:19