Momentum can be deceiving. When life appears to be clicking along smoothly, one can get lulled into thinking that expectations will continue to be met.
But life really isn’t predictable, even when all indicators point in a certain direction. Palm Sunday turns into Good Friday. Good Friday becomes Holy Saturday. Holy Saturday is jolted into Easter Sunday. Highs become lows, and lows can unexpectedly become highs. The best way to handle life’s wild or even not-so-wild swings is simply to find God’s presence in every moment, low or high, and be grateful.
Our water well project in Guatemala seemed to be going according to plan on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday morning it appeared that we would dedicate the well the following day. Our translator, Blanca, and I went to the school on Wednesday morning to teach what we thought would be the final hygiene lessons. We told the principal that the dedication was planned for 10:00 a.m. the following day and she said the whole school would attend in their school uniforms. It promised to be a great day of celebration for the community of Monte Cristo!
But when we arrived back at the drill site following the dismissal of school at mid-day, we were greeted, not by anticipation and excitement, but by worried expressions and long faces. There was no water. The well that had seemed oh-so-close to completion was not producing water. It was a difficult afternoon and the ride back to Antigua in the van was the quietest hour and a half of the entire trip. We did not know what the outcome of our week would be. While we knew the community would get a well, we did not know when that would happen. I grieved for the families, for the children who would show up in their uniforms on Thursday, for Estella, at whose home the well was sited, and for the folks on our team who had put so much effort into drilling the well.
That night, I woke up during the night and was thinking about the turn of events. A phrase from scripture popped into my head: hope does not disappoint. I held onto that phrase, a gift and a promise from God.
In a marathon day on Thursday, a new well was begun. Word had travelled through the community and when we arrived at the school, the children were not in their uniforms (which was a relief to me). We taught more lessons, primarily about how to have a healthy community. I could not help but think that one way a community is healthy is by bearing one another’s burdens. In our shared disappointment about the first well, the village sustained each other and us.
On Friday morning, when fresh, clean water poured out of the new well, it was glorious! I think we were even more excited because of the disappointment we had felt two days prior. Hope did not disappoint us!
And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.(Romans 5:3-5)