Originally posted on July 9, 2008 in an old blog of mine.
Looking back on our mission trip to Honduras, I had an insight that took me by surprise: life without pain is not life at all. Living an insulated life is to reject life at its basic, most meaningful, level. The people of Honduras taught me that I should embrace joy where I find it, and joy doesn’t come from pleasure-seeking. Rather, true joy is discovered in unexpected places: a one-room frame house with a dirt floor and tin roof; a hospital room with a girl who may not live; an orphanage of special needs children; a school for the blind where music and hymns lift people’s spirits to God; a hot, pitch-black airport; and sharing devotions with newly-met brothers and sisters in two languages. These times are full of pain, both for the sufferer and the encourager, but the acceptance of pain only heightens the joy to be had by both. Indeed, the joy of giving and receiving is an argument for rejecting an insulated, painless existence.
The pain of poverty was the catalyst for this experience, but also the author of more purpose for my life. Who is the poor man really? Is it the trusting, struggling person living at a subsistence level or the desperate person clinging to his things for support? Who is the blind person: the one who knows he can’t see or the sighted person who doesn’t recognize his blindness? Who is the special needs person: the person who lives from day to day enjoying simplicity, or the person who just can’t be happy? With new clarity, I understand that we are all poor, blind, and “special needs” in God’s eyes.
May my daily existence be more about trusting God for support, sight, and the simplicity of joy wherever He leads me. May I embrace the opportunities presented by the pain of life for discovering joy in unexpected places.