Sometimes when you’ve been in a place for a long time, you stop noticing things. It’s not that things change, necessarily… more often, we simply stop noticing and appreciating them. For instance, several times a week we get to make drive into the Slovak countryside to visit villages – and the views are breathtaking. But after doing this a few weeks, it’s easy to stop paying attention to it. The view is no less beautiful than it was before – in fact, each day it changes a little as the seasons and time pass. But we simply stop noticing.
It’s the same way, I believe, with the work God is doing in our lives. God’s constantly there – guiding us, providing for us, loving us. But we stop noticing after a while. Sometimes we even forget about it, until God does something new.
Recently we’ve been meeting with a group of people who minister in the village of Rankovce. We’ve been praying with these people over the spiritual situation of the community, and especially over the Roma settlement there. These workers are sometimes discouraged in the day-to-day struggles of ministry, and it’s easy to stop noticing what God’s doing.
The fact is, God’s been working in this village for a long time – since at least the time the village was first settled in the 1300’s. As we often remind our visiting mission teams – as we follow Jesus’ call, we aren’t bringing God anywhere new. God was working here long before we arrived, and will be working here long after we leave… we’re simply joining in that work. If you’ve followed our work at all then you’ve seen pictures of our involvement there the last few years – discipleship groups, English classes, and partnership with a local non-profit that is doing community development.
And recently God’s been doing some new things in this village. We’ve seen and felt a fresh wind of the Spirit, Some of the Roma from the village are involved in starting a new worship service. A group of Roma teenagers were recently confirmed into the Evangelical Church. A new community garden has been home to concerts and Christian gatherings.
It’s a reminder to us – and hopefully to you as well – to keep noticing. Notice where God is doing the same things as before – providing, guiding, loving – and take time to appreciate it. Watch for God’s work in new hearts, softening of hardened hearts, new excitement and new growth.
If you think nothing’s happening then look again, closer… and allow God to surprise you with a fresh breeze of the Spirit!