On Wednesday morning, the entire MOC staff plus forty hired Rwandans came together to pour the second of three cement slabs for our new kitchen patio. By forming two human chains from the concrete mixer down to the construction site, we were able to pass down bucket after bucket of wet cement to complete the project in record time– three hours! As the sun rose over Musanze, you could hear the buzzing of machines and clinks of shovels, as well as the occasional “Komera! Komera!” (Be strong! Be strong!) from down the lines.
Once the last bucket was poured and the cement smoothed over, we washed all the buckets (with an ensuing water fight) and gathered as a group to celebrate our accomplishment. We applauded the fact that the project was one small step towards building a better Rwanda; that the cement we were laying would still be just as strong and in tact for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
All of us joined dirty, sweaty hands and prayed– first in English and then translated into Kinyarwanda. All circled up and linked together, it didn’t matter which language you spoke or whether you were Rwandan or mzungu. We were simply a group of people who had completed a difficult task, worshiping the One whom we had come to serve.
Now, I’m no construction expert, but the kitchen patio looked just fine to me when I first got here. Sure, it was built out of uneven cobblestones, but it was walk-able. Little did I know that re-doing that entire deck would not only create a more multi-purpose space, but it would also become a unifying project for dozens of Americans and Rwandans alike.
Isn’t that exactly the way that God loves us? Just as we are, and yet too much to not let us stay that way?
Yes, sometimes His ways are not our ways, and we don’t understand and they’re difficult and stretching and out of our comfort zone, and our hearts ache like my arms hurt after passing buckets of cement for three hours straight. We think we’re just fine if we stay as rickety cobblestones because comfortable feels good and the thought of being wrecked and rebuilt seems like too much of an undertaking.
When we give an ear to the soreness, to the doubt and the fear and the unknown, we cheat ourselves out of seeing the bigger picture. When we listen to our own apprehensions, we miss out on the goodness of His hand and the true portion of our hearts.
We miss out on Love.
Because there is no fear in Love, and where Love is, plans are made perfect. People are made perfect.
I want to be smoothed out. I want my heart to be so radically ravaged that there’s no room left for rough edges and uneven pavement. I want God to keep sending bucket after bucket down the line, no matter how sore my arms get. Because if I’ve learned one thing throughout my life, and even more so throughout my time in Rwanda, it’s this:
Demolition days end in rejoicing when the rebuilding is done by the Refiner of our souls. To be shaped and shifted and smoothed out by the true Carpenter is our crown of glory.
As I prepare for our third and last concrete pour tomorrow morning, I think it’s going to be easier to pull myself out of bed at 5:30 A.M., in anticipation of the celebration that is bound to commence– Rwandan and American alike– after the last bucket is poured and the last tool put away.
Oh, that we might have the same perspective in our daily lives, pressing on in hopeful expectation of the day when we will all join hands at the foot of the Throne and eternally sing…
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is filled with His glory.”
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” -Psalms 27:4