I recently went on a mission trip to Honduras with my wife Brittany. You can find out an overview of the trip and some of our experiences here. The goal of the trip was to conduct eye exams and give out prescription eyewear. We gave out over 1,200 pairs while we were there.
Honduras is a beautiful country with landscapes impossible to truly capture in photographs. We went into some areas outside of Copan as well as villages two hours into the mountains, small communities, and also the middle of an established town. People in need everywhere. Many were given the gift of clear sight and we thank God for just being able to help be a part of that.
On the last day of our eye exams, the very last person we met with was Norma. She was a 21-year-old who came in with her mother after hearing about what we were doing from a local TV station broadcast. Norma had severe cataracts in both of her eyes and was almost completely blind, except for being able to see some sort of movements and light. Eyeglasses were no help; she needed surgery. Or better yet, she needed a divine healing.
There are few moments in my life as heartbreaking as I experienced when we had to tell her not one of our pairs of eyeglasses would allow her to see. The Americans who had come to bring help couldn’t help her. With her mother at her side, she put her head down and began to cry.
While our team stood with her, Norma’s mother began explaining (translating into Spanish) the news. I stood a few feet back nervously pacing and blinking. I hated feeling so helpless. My thoughts moved to, “Well, Jesus was notorious for healing blind people. This is what he did and still does. God is able! This must be why we are here. Healing a blind girl is nothing for God!”
After debating whether or not to say anything, I decided that I couldn’t let this girl not be prayed over because God heals people.
Our missionary, John, began to pray in Spanish over her. We lay hands on her head and shoulders and spoke the name of Jesus Christ over her.
“God, this is your daughter. She’s yours, and you love her,” we prayed. “Touch her eyes and give her sight as you gave the blind men in the Bible. Heal her in the name of Jesus.”
When our prayers ended we took a step back.
Nothing had changed. No scales fell from her eyes. No improvement. Nothing had changed.
No miracles today. Norma was still crying.
We wanted to at least give her sunglasses because it would help with the brightness day, but we had run out. I ran to my bag and pulled out my pair I had with me and gave them to her and walked away. She put them on and began to smile just a little.
I walked to the corner of the room with my head hanging. My lip began to shake, and I began to cry. Then I began to weep. I couldn’t fight it. My heart was broken, and I had to watch her walk out of the room with her hand on her mother’s shoulder. She walked out the exact same way she came in.
On the ninety-minute ride back to where we were staying, I was silent as the group talked in the car about Honduras and shared stories from their other mission trips. They spoke about miracles they had seen. About how a few drops of eyewash lasted for dozens of people when it should have run out. They spoke about how they had seen God heal people on the spot. They also talked about the injustice they had witnessed and the poor and sick people in countries all over the world who remain poor and sick.
The more I listened to these stories of need, the more I began to wrestle with my faith. I did not doubt the existence of God. Instead, I was struggling with the idea that we have a God who is all-powerful, yet does not release his power to a 21-year-old blind girl who didn’t do anything to deserve blindness.
Many of us have these types of thoughts at some point. I think it is natural. I don’t run from them anymore. I used to be afraid to question God. Now, I take my questions directly to him. He can handle it.
I looked out the window as we sped down the winding mountain roads and grieved for the millions in need. “God, where are you in Honduras? We need you. Where are you? Show me you are here in this country.”
I felt the gentle whisper of the Lord as I turned my head towards the companions in my car. “John is here. Ron and Brittany are here. You are here, and I am with you. And I am with many more you will never meet.”
Jesus has not physically walked this earth in thousands of years, but God still walks the earth today in the lives of those who would carry his Spirit and share his love. Whether it is in Honduras, Asia, Africa or the United States. Jesus is walking and talking more than ever.
This truth gave me some comfort, but if I can be totally honest, it doesn’t give me total peace. I wish I could tell you God gave me supernatural understanding and it settled my soul. Or God healed Norma the next day after we all learned a lesson about faith. I wish I could tell you God will always give you understanding when you face trials and endure pain.
But I cannot tell you any of that.
I’m almost 30 and I feel I’ve learned a great amount but have mountains more to learn in my life. Some experiences that didn’t make sense at first made sense later. I can look back on some trials and see the good being produced in me and around me because of them. I can look back on seemingly meaningless experiences at the time that played out to be mighty acts of God.
And yet I have many experiences that just seem like random experiences. I have many trials I can’t connect to improvements in my life or character. I see suffering and unexplainable injustice all over the world. The more I look around, the more unanswered questions I gather every single day.
When we look at these issues, many people will decide there couldn’t possibly be a God. At least not a self-proclaimed loving God. I understand that reasoning; I honestly do. It’s the kind of reasoning that will keep me up at night.
The question I come face to face with every day is this: “Can I serve a God who leaves me with questions?”
Can I love a Creator who keeps me wondering?
Can I trust in his goodness?
Can I trust in his system of judgment?
It’s easy to sit in America and argue the existence of a God. We have books. We have the Internet. We have food in our bellies. We have time to sit around and read blog articles and arguments. But many do not have that luxury. And many are not looking for scholarly expertise and well-crafted opinions.
They are looking for action.
Can I believe God is just when I see injustice? Can I believe in a God who does not answer all of my questions?
I think I can.
When I get around the all of the questions and all of the doubts and all of the opinions of men, I find what I’m truly looking for is not merely answers. I am looking for hope.
God doesn’t give me all the answers I want; instead, he offers me hope. And with hope, I can move forward. With hope, I can love. And with love, I can act.
What if Norma is never healed, but what if the first time she opens her eyes again, she is looking at the face of Jesus? Looking at the King with her eternal eyes.
I pray that God would give us hope to move forward in spite of the questions, knowing one day we will see clearly. I pray that God would give us eternity eyes.
There is still hope for Norma. She has a genetic condition resulting in a severe case of cataracts at a young age, rendering her nearly blind. The good news is, depending upon the first assessment, she may qualify for a simple surgery to remove the cataracts, enabling her to see for the first time.
The first step is to raise the money for her initial doctor’s visit, which is about $400, including the bus trip for her and her mother to get there and back. From there, they will find out if she is eligible or not for the cataracts surgery, estimated at around $3,500.
If you are interested in donating, please check out our Fundraising page here.
Also, if you are anywhere near Jacksonville, FL, we will be holding a “Comedy for a Cause” night to raise money on Friday, May 1, at the Shim Sham Room in Jacksonville Beach at 7 pm. A few others and I will be performing. Event info here.
We hope you’ll join in as you are able to and we can move forward in love and action together.