Sometimes, in YWAM, you are three minutes into your shower when the water goes from steaming hot to ice. The air outside is right at 2 degrees Celsius and you stand there, shivering and wet, trying to rinse the shampoo out of your dirty hair while praying that you don’t contract pneumonia. “This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass.”
Sometimes, in YWAM, the whole base is sitting together, interceding for the Muslim world. You’re grasping the hand of a Brazilian girl next to you and she starts sobbing uncontrollably. Suddenly, the tears are welling up in your own eyes and, before you know it, you’re praying out loud, tears streaming down your cheeks for people—men, women, and children—that you’ve never met but whom you love achingly. And you’re crying out to God, pleading His mercy and protection over them, praying that He would bring freedom to their nations.
Sometimes, in YWAM, you eat the same foods every single week. Beans. Potatoes. Chicken. Cereal. Toast. Peanut butter. Beef. Rice. You hear cheers for joy whenever there’s dessert on the menu, and it’s enough to make your whole day better. But you’ve been to the nations—you’ve seen starving children in the Philippines who scarf down watery soup and you’ve run your hands over the protruding ribs of a pregnant woman. So you sit down at the dinner table, surrounded by people of different ethnicities, a plate of rice and potatoes and bland chicken in front of you, and you bless the food in Jesus’ name, because it is food and He nourishes us.
Sometimes, in YWAM, you see such horrible injustice it stops your breath. You witness little girls, no more than seven years old, being sold to men four times their age. You bite the inside of your cheek when an old man comes into the clinic with a pus-filled, smelly ulcer and a cough that brings up blood. You wrap your arms around the woman who just lost her baby to HIV, the woman who you know will probably die soon herself from the disease, and you plead, petition, beg of God to heal her.
Sometimes, in YWAM, it’s the end of a long day and you’ve got dinner cleanup. The front of your shirt is soaked from rinsing the dishes, the sanitizer decides to break again, and the tap is leaking water all over the floor. You lean over the sink, sleeves rolled up, hair falling in your face, hands wrinkly, and you ask God if this is really where you’re supposed to be. You tell Him how you long for some time alone away from all the people, all the noise, all the action. And He responds right there in the noisy, dirty kitchen, that this is where He’s called you to be and that He will give you calm in the midst of the chaos.
Sometimes, in YWAM, you realize that you’re out of money. You check your bank account—zero. You check your wallet—nothing. You resolve to looking under the couch cushions for spare change just to wash your clothes. You’re in the middle of worship, trying to raise your hands like the other people, but you just can’t focus—you’re worried about how you’ll pay for outreach, how you’ll get a plane ticket home. But then you feel a tap on your shoulder and then someone’s pressing an envelope into your hand. “God will always provide for you,” they whisper before turning away. You open it up and see several hundred dollar bills crumpled inside. The tears come and your knees are falling to the ground in gratitude for this God who never fails to come through.
Sometimes, in YWAM, you sit on the bathroom floor and weep. You weep because people are leaving and you know that you will probably never see them again. You weep because some days you feel like you pour yourself out and you don’t see any difference. You weep because people are dying without knowing Jesus, kids are riddled with diseases that could be prevented, men are beating their wives. You sit on the cold, bathroom tiles, palms pressed to your wet eyes, nose running freely, and you feel Him come and sit next to you. He strokes your hair and whispers in your ear, “it’s alright, darling. I see the pain and I see the darkness. I see your work. I see the people. I love them, too, and I am doing a work far greater than you can ever imagine.”
Sometimes, in YWAM, you feel your eyelids starting to droop before nine o’clock even rolls around. Sometimes, in YWAM, you chop vegetables for hours. Sometimes, in YWAM, you laugh until your sides ache. Sometimes, in YWAM, you walk for miles. Sometimes, in YWAM, you wedge yourself behind a door and the wall just to get a moment of quiet. Sometimes, in YWAM, you hurt for what you see and feel helpless for what you cannot do. Sometimes, in YWAM, you feel like giving up.
But always, in YWAM, He meets you every day. He meets you in the kitchen, on the dusty roads, in the worship hall, around the dining table, on your knees, in the freezing shower, sobbing on the bathroom floor. He meets you in your humanness and your brokenness, in your attempt to save the world and in your frustrated tears when nothing seems to be happening. He meets you—He meets us—when we obey the calling He placed on our lives to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to reach the all and the every, to save the one. He meets us when we call out to Him, and it is His absolute joy to come.
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