CONCORD, NC (BP) – Spending some time in Brazil this summer was an experience I will treasure forever, and the Lord taught me so many precious truths. I've always known various cultures exist, but to experience it firsthand was something entirely new for me. My observations evoked a number of thoughts that I began to wrestle with:
Would I be a more effective missionary if I looked like and spoke the language of those I am trying to reach? If I am supposed to point these people to Jesus, why is there a cultural barrier between us?
This lady who was persecuted by her father for following Christ is so spiritually mature. Would I be a better Christian if I had grown up like her? If I had met Jesus later in life?
Why do I get to go to college and get a Christian education when this Brazilian pastor reads at a seventh-grade level? Is my knowledge in vain?
I love being in Brazil and I love these people, but should I feel guilty for missing Chick-fil-A and my home in Concord, N.C.?
The Lord was faithful to teach me something that brought rest to my conflicted spirit. By His sovereign hand, God has apportioned each of His children different gifts. My portion looks different from the portion that belongs to my Brazilian brothers and sisters, and it looks different from yours as well. God has His own unique plan for each of us, and they should all be celebrated for what they are: gifts from the Lord Himself. I learned to love another culture, but that didn't mean that I had to forsake my own. God gave me my own portion to enjoy, and it would be a sin if I abandoned all that He has given me in pursuit of an admirable gift that belongs to somebody else.
How freeing it was for me to understand that the way God uniquely made me is sufficient to bring glory to His name! Our portions may look different from one another, but they are all enough for the mission at hand and to find fullness of joy. One of the biggest lies Satan can tell us is that we should doubt God as a good gift-giver. It is how he deceived Eve to sin. He persuaded her to think that God was holding out on her.
Though the Lord had given her many trees in the Garden of Eden to eat from, she became convinced that she needed fruit from the only tree that God had graciously forbidden. Eve took what she did not own instead of trusting that her portion from the Lord was not only enough to sustain, but to give fullness of joy. Satan cannot touch our salvation, but he will do everything he can to keep us from enjoying God and His gifts.
My spirit trembles in wonder and awe to think of how beautifully diverse God made the world. Each unique color, culture and creature is a testament of how vast and unsearchable are the riches of God's glory. We serve a good Gift-Giver. He has a distinct plan for each of us, and that is something to be celebrated. Though our lives may vary in what they look like, we are united by this truth: In every portion that the Lord gives, He is giving us Himself.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness," we read in Lamentations 3:22-24. "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, therefore I will hope in him." What God has denied us, we do not need. What He has granted us is sufficient to sustain and delight us. God's portion is enough. Let us find joy in it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abi Waters is a student in Christian studies and Teaching English as a Second Language at North Greenville University in Tigerville, SC.