During our time in Haiti, the phrase “we’re on Haitian time” became somewhat of a catch phrase for our team. It was usually in the context of a joke about the fact that almost nothing goes according to schedule – or even according to plan – in the region we were in. The pace of life was so much slower there and none of the locals or frequent visitors seemed to mind.
Just like so many other aspects, this facet of their culture was in huge contrast to what I’m used to. Here in the US, we tend to pack our schedules so tightly that the only way we manage to fit everything is to run on a very strict timeline for each of our busy days.
As with many things I encountered in Haiti, I automatically assumed that our ways of life were better. Maybe that was simply because our ways are what I’m used to and really all that I’ve ever known.
It wasn’t until this evening when I was reading the book for our upcoming study – Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – that I started to really question whether that was true. The chapter I was reading tonight talked about the importance of not being in so much of a hurry that we miss the opportunities to serve others that God puts along our path. Just as Jesus was willing to stop what He was doing in order to serve, teach, or save those He encountered, we should be willing to do the same.
Those of us with a fully packed schedule may have filled our days with good things and even better intentions, but if we leave no room for the unexpected, we may be missing out on some really amazing opportunities to serve God and others. If anyone in history had the right to a full schedule, it was Jesus. Everywhere He and the disciples went, He was in high demand. People needed to be taught, to be healed, and sometimes even raised from the dead. Let’s face it – He was the Son of God!
But none of that stopped Him from ministering to people along the way. In one such story, Jesus stops literally mid-step to heal and encourage the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. This story is told in three of the four gospels – do you think God is trying to tell us something?
Just like Jesus’ disciples probably learned this lesson 2,000 years ago, God revealed to me the beauty of not being in a rush and having no plan other than to serve Him and serve others while I was in Haiti. There were so many times that we were able to just pause and show people God’s love because we weren’t in as much of a rush as we usually are at home. From playing games with the children to helping a woman take beans from their pods to stopping on the side of the road to provide medical care to a very brave and precious little boy and so many other things, we never would have had the opportunity to serve those people if we hadn’t been on Haitian time.
Maybe we should rethink our hurried, busy schedules. Are you leaving time in your day for God to use you in unexpected ways?