From the time I was a small child I have hated taking the position of observer in a situation. For instance, I vividly remember a time when I went to “watch” my sister and some other older children go rock climbing. By the time the day was up, I had managed to get myself in a position to climb up and down the rock (even though I was wearing church shoes and a dress). Point is, when given a choice I almost always chose the position of doing rather than observing. I love getting my hands dirty.
Yesterday, however, as a small subset of our group left the day filled of activity at Dar El Alwad, we entered into this role of observers. The day began first by visiting the seminary and attending a chapel service where we listened as Arabic songs were sung and as a monk recounted his testimony and call into ministry. This time was quickly followed by going to SKILD and observing how staff interacted and worked with the children with individual learning differences. That again was quickly followed by a luncheon where we were able to hear of the testimony of ministries happen all over Lebanon and Syria. This lunch was followed by observing speech therapy and motor therapy sessions.
As you can imagine, when first embarking on this day of observation I was fairly uncomfortable and antsy. I so desperately wanted to know and be able to sing the Arabic words that were sung and I wanted to enter into the French game on “s” and “z” sounds. However, as the day continued and as I settled into the role of observer, of listener, I was reminder of what a blessing this position can be. You see, when you are constantly caught in constantly doing you for get to stop and notice what else God is doing around you, how He is very much present and working in lives outside of your own.
Yesterday, when I finally decided to listen I heard others speak with passion of the work God was doing in and through ordinary lives here in Lebanon. Some spoke of God’s faithfulness to bring them into ministry, like the monk who spoke of a time of prayer that transformed his heart into one burning for God or the director of SKILD who spoke of feeling unfit for the position and then recounted the journey through which God had placed her there anyways. Some spoke of the miracles God is working, whether that is using the prayers of a believer to work healing and reach the heart of a Muslim, or the miracle of open doors to begin a work of children’s ministry among refugees. Not only did I hear of God’s working in the stories that were told, I saw it in the worked I observed. I saw it in the miracle of skilled even existing to begin with and in the passionate and patient work of each staff member there.
This observation was like the refreshing of my soul. For in seeing God working, so far beyond human capability I was reminded that really my role is almost always partially one of observer. God is the one working the miracles. What a blessing to observe and stand in awe of Him.
“Let the whole earth fear the Lord, let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of Him.” Ps 33:8