During prep week for International Immersion, we prepared our testimonies, fit in last-minute logistics, and made a late-night Walmart run to get the last few things we needed for our trip. However, the thing that stood out the most was the time we spent each morning listening to different speakers who encouraged us with both personal experience and Scripture. During one of these mornings, Jennifer Breining, Impact 360 Institute’s Logistics Manager talked to us. Jennifer shared about her experience being a missionary in Turkey and focused on the “but God” moments that she encountered. These moments included times when everything should have gone wrong, but because of God and His sovereignty, everything worked out according to plan.
I (Tyler) was already excited to travel to Brazil, but after hearing Jennifer speak, my anticipation only grew. I could not wait to see how God would work both through me and in me. I was ready to be on the plane and experience my “but God” moment, but it did not happen. I was ready to be in Sao Paulo and experience my “but God” moment, but it did not happen. I was ready to experience my “but God” moment during the LifeShape Conference, but it did not happen. Again and again, I was ready for my “but God” moment to take place. I could not wait to talk to my parents on our weekly call and let them know the amazing things God had done here in Brazil. However, on our first call, I did not get to. I let them know that I was enjoying the trip, but I had no “but God” story to report. I hung up with my family feeling disappointed and wondering why I had not seen God work in some huge way here in Brazil.
Going into the trip, I had created an idea of what I wanted God to do. I expected to come back home letting everyone know about all the astounding things God had done here in Brazil. However, as I was searching for the extraordinary, I failed to see the mundane. I missed the fact that although our bus broke down for over an hour, another arrived, and we still made it to church with time to spare. I missed the fact that although we have not had the chance to do our laundry for over two weeks, we have been able to share clothes and somehow still have enough to make an outfit every day. I missed the fact that although I had gotten food poisoning and many have experienced general sickness, the Lord still heals and has renewed our strength.
My idea of how I thought God should move did not stop Him from working sovereignly. While I wanted things to go my way, God allowed me to be disappointed—not in Him, but in my own wrong plan. The simple moments where God showed me His control through things like a broken down bus and laundry are ones that I will never forget; the Lord never fails to work even we do not want to look at the simpler things. During this trip, I had placed certain expectations on how He would work, but God has been gracious to show me that even the simpler things demonstrate His authority.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55: 8-9