Do you know that God still delights to bring something from nothing? He did it in the beginning, and he’s doing it today. If you feel like you’ve got nothing, today is for you.
In Barranquilla, Columbia, you don’t cross the tracks to find the most vulnerable children. You walk downhill.
When the rains come to Columbia, they saturate the mountains. With the ground unable to swallow another drop, the water rushes downhill turning dirt paths into muddy streams, and streams into rushing rivers carrying with it rusty bicycles, tin-roofed homes, and even children.
I was in Columbia more than ten years ago with Bill, my 11 year-old daughter, Sara Maria, and a small team from our church. It was my first time out of the country. I was in a hard season and perhaps I shouldn’t have been there. But I was. God works like that sometimes.
When I filled out the application to go on this mission trip, there was a section to list skills you could offer, gifts you have. Basically they wanted to know what you could bring to the table. I wrote “Nothing.” That’s where I was. I had nothing to offer. But they let me come anyway.
I met with church planters and spent time with missionaries, but I felt useless. Nothing to offer. Until I went downhill.
We stepped from the asphalt parking lot to the muddy path. Winding down, we passed chickens, and cats, and so many stray dogs. As we went downhill, the level of poverty rose. But it was there, in the foot of the barrio, among the city’s most vulnerable, I learned that God still delights to bring something from nothing.
As the other team members met with leaders and talked with adults, I sat down on a concrete platform and watched as my daughter played with the children. She was a natural teaching them duck-duck-goose, and it delighted my heart to watch her. Then she came to my platform surrounded by a band of some of the most beautiful children in the world. “Mom, teach them a song.” And right there, in the space where I had nothing to give, God brought something from my nothing.
A silly song. One with silly motions, and “doodly-doos.” The children joined in. And we laughed. It was joyful laughter, a little bit sacred. I had nothing to give. But that didn’t matter to God. And in that downhill place, I learned that God still delights to bring something from nothing.
And I’m wondering today if you feel like you have nothing. You’re in a downhill place and you’re wondering if the rising stream will carry you away. I want you to consider that God might meet you right where you are in your downhill place. Would you ask him to meet you right where you are and bring something from nothing? To do something sacred in your downhill place? God still delights to bring something from nothing.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2