Guatemala 2016 | Relentless Hope

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 1.49.01 PMI have felt the weight of transitioning back to “normal” life after Guatemala in almost every fiber of my being. I am exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. I feel as if I need to ration out each day’s energy carefully, lest I run out too early. Much like Janet shared in her blog, I also feel the gift and weight of seeing the world through a different lens: my heart and my senses are heightened towards issues of justice, privilege and oppression.

In the midst of this new and powerful turbulence I am brought back to some crucial points from this course. First, spiritual growth is predicated on the idea that there will be times of failure—an inability to act because our theology or experiences have not prepared us for a certain truth—and there need to be times of rest (Jim Martin writes about this beautifully in The Just Church). While the Spirit has been inviting, I have had to give myself permission to rest and be restored by simple delights: quiet evenings with my spouse, less frantic production at work, plenty of sleep. As unconventional as it may sound, these are crucial practices for sustainable growth in the Spirit-led life.

Second, I have to give myself time to “unpack” the memories and lessons of this experience in Guatemala. One such memory came this evening. I was telling my spouse that one of my take-aways from the trip is starting to read Scripture through the lens of justice. The few times I have done this, well-rehearsed verses have nearly popped off the page at me, brimming with life and challenge and rugged beauty. I remembered that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 was one of those passages for me.

I share these meditations with you from a taut and tired heart, befuddled by the enormity of injustice but driven by our hope in a relentlessly loving God.

Love never gives up, even though the issues are complex and the statistics staggering.

Love cares more about the oppression of others than personal convenience.

Love doesn’t want for the sake of acquiring, but considers need.

Love doesn’t strut—how can it? We are all implicated in injustice.

It doesn’t have a swelled head, but walks humbly.

It doesn’t force itself on others (rushing in with solutions), but lifts them up.

It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others or revel when others are stuck in a lower social status—progress and redemption are more important than self-preservation.

Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything for the sake of shalom.

Love trusts that redemption is God’s initiative,

And expects that the best is yet to come.

Love mixes every one part despair with nine parts of hope,

And keeps going till justice reigns.

Martin, Jim. The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-taking, Justice-seeking, Disciple-making Congregation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2012. Print.
1 Corinthians. The Message. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. Print.

Becca Bio PicBecca lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jon. They both work in higher education and love exploring, hiking and traveling in their spare time.