Dominican Adventures: Experiencing God’s goodness through a broken toilet

I sit here on my bed, having just gotten out of shower that was no more than a few drops, with my bedroom floor covered in water from the broken toilet,  the sound of beeping horns, barking dogs and mooing cows mingle in the background, in 90% humidity with no air conditioner, and I’m happy to say I am incredibly content.

This has been one of the longest, most frustrating, trying, tiring and overall difficult weeks of my life. I have lost my patience several times. I’ve complained a lot. I’ve been worn out and strung out.

But, strangely enough, I am satisfied.

Yesterday was probably the most frustrating day of the week. I definitely hit a low. Come night time, I desperately craved time with the Lord, but I didn’t know what to do or what to say. I was far too tired. Lacking words, I turned to Psalm 27, my heart crying out David’s thousand year old words:

I remain confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (v. 13-14).

And today I am delighted to say that I saw the goodness of the Lord.
It didn’t come like I might have expected; in fixed toilets, working showers, people showing up on time, being able to work on the thing I actually came here to do, or the girls being respectful and nice.

Instead, it was quite the opposite. The toilet remains broken. The shower barely functions. Today someone was an hour and a half late to a meeting with us. I was assigned even more tasks then I already have, none of them being what I came here to do, and the girls I’m working with continued to make fun of my lack of Spanish.

But what I was reminded of is that God’s goodness isn’t dependent on circumstances. It isn’t dependent on everything going right and it isn’t dependent on how I feel. He always has been and always will be good.

Today I saw that when the girl’s home I’m working with received 6 more kids. That’s six more kids that had to be taken out of their homes because of abuse, and for the first time this week, that broke my heart. I was incredibly saddened for these six little lives; these were precious little girls under 12 that have been hurt by the people that are supposed to love them most. But as my heart broke, the Lord quietly whispered that His heart broke too. Agonizingly He aches for these beautiful girls that are made in his image and yet terribly mistreated. The sin of those who abused and neglected these little ladies also breaks His heart (Isaiah 63:10). And if their reality wasn’t already harsh enough, I was reminded that I, too, broke God’s heart. There was once a time in my life where I aimlessly wandered, following the prince of this world, dead in my trespasses and sins, carrying out the desires of my flesh. And in doing that, I broke His heart (Matthew 9:36). And that’s when I saw the Lord’s goodness. According to the riches of His glory He sent His perfect Son, so that we might be saved by grace, that He might dwell in our hearts by faith. Today, I was reminded that we live in a broken world, evident by the six new girls. We are broken because of sin. But I saw the goodness of the Lord today too, as I was reminded of His great grace.

I saw God’s goodness in our broken toilet and barely working shower as I was reminded that there is so much more to life than this world offers. At the end of the day, this was just a temporary annoyance that would be far out weighed by the eternal goodness of our Savior.

And even when the girls were disrespectful, making fun of my Spanish, despite my desperate attempts to practice and carry on a conversation with them, I saw the Lord’s goodness as He gently reminded me that my worth is not found in my ability to speak Spanish, it’s not even found in my ability to do anything. My worth and my value comes from Him and him alone.

With that in mind, at first I asked the same question as a psalmist did thousands of years ago: “what shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12)
But I do not owe the Lord for his goodness, to do so would be to diminish it. However, there is something I owe the world: Christ. I owe Him to each precious, abused, and disrespectful girl. I owe Him to the random men that cat call my friend and I, acting as if we’re some object rather than alive, breathing, beautiful, loved, valued people. I owe him to every person I love and miss, and every person that’s caused frustration this week.

Until the whole world hears, I am in debt to the nations. 

So I gladly take on humidity, disrespectful chicas, tardiness, broken toilets, more tasks than I signed on for, cat calls and anything else the Dominican Republic wants to throw my way, remaining confident in this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord.


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