3:17 AM Monday Morning

I can’t sleep.  Worry has me by the throat.  I burst from its grip only to stand in the dark emptiness of the kitchen.  No coffee!

The ocean-going container that so many of us worked so hard to fill and send is stalled at the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  We have been praying constantly.  Six weeks.  Email and phone conversations shuffle across the oceans; across the continents.  Like Moses to Pharaoh I cry out, “Let the container go.”  Can anyone hear?  Does anyone listen?  Care?

I call Provost, Dr. Mwankenja.  He has driven the treacherous road to the port city once again.  Twelve hours of human and financial resource poured out, again.  What is the problem?  What has to happen to release the container?  Who has the authority to change the situation?  He is there to find out.  Pray.  Pray some more.  Pray again.

I think of Jesus’ admonition about the uselessness of worry.  I grouse that it must be easy for Him to say.  I think of the dozens of people who have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to gather and ship equipment and supplies to the university and the hospitals in south, central Tanzania.  Why, because we thought God was calling.  Because we felt honored to be called to help God’s work with our hands and hearts.  Because we believe that our efforts will bring life to many, even those yet unborn.

Frankly, the worry has now been replaced by anger.  St. Paul comes to mind, “Be angry but do not sin.”  Good advice but where is the line in this situation?  With whom am I angry?  There are so many because the stakes seem so high and the wait seems so long.  So much of scripture, so much of God’s talk urges patience and trust.  So much of my experience this year for this container has been surprising joy, new relationships, life-giving partnerships and help.  But now I am angry.

Who am I to challenge God and everyone about this delay?  Why have I so quickly forgotten God’s strong love, guidance and help on this journey and throughout my life?

If I answer those questions truthfully I must acknowledge and confess my sin and separation from God.  It goes something like this at 4 in the morning: Dear Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.  Forgive my arrogance.  Rebuild my trust in you.  Restore my soul in the joy of your salvation.  Please trust me and help me be your helping hands and not a raging bull.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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2 thoughts on “3:17 AM Monday Morning

  1. Sandy Brandt on said:

    God WILL see this through – IN HIS TIME, which unfortunately isn’t always the same as ours! Sure, easy for me to say when I didn’t slave over gathering the container’s contents, pack it, send it on its way, and then see where and with whom its contents would be used. Not being God, I’ll join in the sin and say that your anger is justified because you have such love for His people and their needs. And I’ll join my prayers with yours and the multitude of the faithful.

    • Sandy, Thank you for walking with me and the rest of us whose feeling I apparently gathered. Joining prayers has always been important to me not because I think God keeps score and i know that I do not. Joining in prayer reminds me and all who do that kind of thing that we hold hands and go together into the presence of God who waits with open arms to hold us and help us until we can walk and dance again. Thanks again. See you Sunday. Randy

      The Rev. Dr. Randolph W. Barr tech4tanzania@yahoo.com USA Cell Phone (717) 903-9698

      ________________________________

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