One of the most powerful lessons from our trip to Guatemala occurred in the quietest and most unassuming of ways. I have been thinking on it for days and its lesson has been applicable to several different aspects of my life.
Each day in the community of Chitipey we spent a couple of hours visiting a few pre-selected homes. After touring we would spend about 10 minutes introducing ourselves (through interpreters) and praying for one another. As we were leaving one of the scheduled visits, a woman in the home expressed her excitement that my husband was a doctor. Although there was not a planned medical component of our trip, she implored him to visit the home of her neighbor who 'had been very sick for a long time.'
Upon arrival at the meager home, the women and children stayed in the muddy outdoor kitchen area with the chickens while my husband, our missionary friend, David, and an interpreter went in to speak with the sick man. After about 15 minutes they emerged with news that this man had been suffering from terrible diarrhea for over five months. The good news, my husband reported, was that he had medicine with us that would cure him within 5-7 days.
"That's terrific," I replied, "I bet he was eager to take that!"
I was shocked when my compassionate, problem solving husband responded, "I didn't give it to him."
"What? Why not?" I asked incredulously. "You have what he needs. Why wouldn't you help him?"
"Because he would be washing the solution down with dirty water that is causing the problem. It would be treating the symptoms not the root cause. I told him we would bring the medicine back tomorrow when his filter was installed."
It is so simple--but the implications are profound. How very human of us to want our symptoms alleviated without getting to the root of our issues. We want to be comfortable. We appreciate quick fixes. We are tired and don't want to do the hard work.
We want a certain body type, but don't want to exercise or change our diets.
We desire well behaved children, but we are tired of addressing the same issues over and over.
We are unhappy if our spouses can't meet an ever-changing list of needs/desires, but bristle when they broach the subject of something they need/want from us.
We expect near-perfection from the people we're in relationship with, but want them to love us 'warts and all.'
We ask the Lord to 'bless our lives,' but instead of seeking His Will we just wish He'd rubber-stamp OUR plan for our lives.
We want to be healed from our sin, but keep drinking from the dirty wells that made us sin-sick in the first place.
It is the human condition. It is why Jesus had to come.
He is the Great Physician. He is Healer. He is living water. It is not enough to ask him to simply heal us from our discomfort...let's be courageous and faith-filled enough to bring our brokenness to Him for true inside-out change.