"Lord, how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way..."
Pastor Ray once told me, "God's will for you is not a place, not a destination, it's the person of Jesus Christ." God's will for all of our lives is described perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ. To know what God wants you to do, open the gospels and read what Jesus did.
When St. Francis of Assisi was first beginning his order of monks, the Franciscans, he would use an unusual way of finding an answer to problems. Whenever there was a decision to be made, he would tell one of his monks to open the gospels and start reading at random. Whatever Jesus said to do in that passage was the answer to the problem and they would do whatever He said to do in the passage, no questions asked. Preach to the world? Ok. Sell everything I own and give to the poor? Ok.
I'm starting to love St. Francis and his unconventional ways. He once told one of the brothers to preach naked because the brother had not listened to his first command to go preach to the people. Then, when the brother was standing naked in front of the congregation preaching naked, St. Francis felt so bad for having commanded him to do such an embarrassing thing that he himself stripped off his clothes and joined his brother, preaching naked at the pulpit! The entire group there was so convicted by their message about giving up worldly possessions, following Jesus, and the way the monks lived out this gospel, that the whole lot of them were converted and many joined the order of Franciscans. (I am not, in any way, advocating naked preaching...)
Right now at my guest house there is a group of about 40 Spaniards all here to volunteer at Mother Theresa's homes. Each night they get together and share stories about how God used them that day, how He taught them a lesson, how He moved them. Yesterday, they invited me to this session. It was all in Spanish, but a guy next to me was kind enough to translate their stories about cleaning lepers' wounds, holding the hands of the elderly men at Prem Dan, and other beautiful amazing things. While these stories were being shared (and, in my case, translated) I thought, "What kind of story do I have to share about sitting in the basement of Mother House every day writing down volunteer's names, addresses, and phone numbers in a big volunteer book for hours?" I felt so small, so insignificant with the little I had to offer.
(In case you did not know, I have had several sicknesses over the past two months that have kept me from volunteering at any of the homes with sick patients. I've had fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, colds, and right now I have a skin condition called scabies in which little bugs crawl under the skin and lay eggs. It is very itchy and I need to apply a really annoying oil-like lotion to my skin at night for several days to get rid of it. I skipped a night of the lotion because I thought it was gone, but it was not and now I think I have to start all over.)
Then one of the priests in the group told his own story of peeling potatoes at one of the homes. Just peeling potatoes, that's all he did. "Mother Theresa didn't do great things," he reminded us, "She did small things with great love."
And I remembered my prayer that I have been praying with fervor for weeks: Lord, make me small, humble, weak, foolish enough to be used by You. I thought He would accomplish this by having me work at one of the homes, taking care of the elderly patients. But I'm realizing I may go to the homes and be full of pride for what I am doing. Look at me, taking care of the poorest of the poor all the way in Kolkata. In some ways doing this for the praise of people in the States, for the stories I think they expect from me, to make people feel like they've donated their money in the right place...instead of doing it simply because Jesus tells me to.
My job is so small, sitting in a basement, often by myself, writing down information in a big book and I have no other reason to be there besides the fact that Jesus is keeping me there. I have no incredible stories of leprosy patients or the elderly women at Prem Dan. I have nothing to tell people about why they are justified in giving me their money to come all the way to the other side of the world so I can write down information for the Sisters. But I have to trust this is the path and that God is doing a great work. I'm feeling like Jacob right now after he woke up from the dream about the stairway to heaven, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it!" God is in the basement of the Mother House, sitting next to me, whispering words of love to me while I complete my little task.
I'm thanking God for the sicknesses that have kept me from going to the homes. I would rather have scabies than be led astray by pride and acclamation/praise of others around me. To make me small, humble, and weak, God in all His wisdom has chosen to keep me in a small job that does not get much recognition (except by the two Sisters who have given me the task), with diseases that keep me reliant on Him. My God is so good to me.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also..." John 14:1-3