Need, I am finding, is one of the greatest gifts in the world. Maybe it is a gift to need redemption, to need grace, to need water, to need God to provide. I have never felt my need as clear as I do here in Mekelle; it’s a combination of the brokenness I have embraced in myself in recent years mixed with the vulnerability of our life here. Away from the familiar, distant from community, and adapting to the unknown.
Our journey to Mekelle and the process of making our home is founded in need. But aren’t all of our lives founded in need from the moment we are born? In turn, our story here Mekelle is one of provision, as is human race’s collective story.
Before we ever arrived in Mekelle, the mountain range of impossibilities threatened to thwart us. We couldn’t find a house that was livable in our budget or a reliable car. On top of that, there were tons of questions around the business that was taking us to Mekelle. But we kept coming back to the fact that we felt strongly that God called us and our business to this place and He would plant and establish us in His time and way.
And the way was indeed paved by miracles.
We did find a house and God provided a car. And every month is still a leap of faith with a business we are still figuring out how to run, but our faith is increasing day-by-day as we see God provide our daily manna. There are moments where I question, “Did we read all the signs and miracles wrong that lead us to Mekelle?” Or, “God, did you lead us out here to forsake us? What about Your promises, God?” Just as the Israelites did when led out into the desert. Their way had been paved by miracles; the parting of the Red Sea for starters, but the road of miracles seemed to end in the desert. But that is where God established them, planting and rooting them in daily need and dependence in Him. They learned to look for their daily manna.
Until moving to Mekelle, I never prayed for running water. I never prayed for electricity. I never prayed for God to help me find someone that could fix a toilet. I have never been stranded with a broken-down car in the dark and prayed for help to pass by. In America, I turn the facet and water is already there. I flip the switch and there is light. I simply pull up Angie’s List to find a plumber. My car breaks down in the middle of night, and I call AAA.
On a 12 hour drive from Mekelle to Lalibela, our car overheated after 4 hours while driving through the mountains on the worst dirt roads I had ever been on. Because of the condition of the roads, we had to move much slower and the trip was carrying on into the night.
Still two hours from our destination, we found ourselves on the side of the road, in the dark. We hadn’t seen another car or bus or truck in 45 minutes. We had enough water in the car to cool the engine down but air had leaked into the piles and it needed to be bled (I am not a mechanic so this is my best explanation). Bleeding the engine required a specific wrench that we didn’t have with us, as well as the knowledge required to bleed the air out. My husband and I and two of our friends that were with us all prayed out loud that God would provide this wrench and someone to help us. I was envisioning us all huddled, trying to sleep and stay warm in the back of the truck. I was counting the water bottles and food rations as well as calculating what it would take for us all to stay warm through the night.
While plotting our survival, I spotted lights in the distances and my heart leapt with hope. The boys moved to the middle of the road to wave to the vehicle down. The truck slowed down as it approached and pulled over in front of us in response to our distress. Greg ran up to the truck and I closed my eyes in another prayer. I opened my eyes to see my husband running back to the car, wrench in hand. Just at that moment, from the other direction, a minibus pulled over to see what was going on. The driver for the minibus was also a mechanic and he bled the engine for us with the wrench from the truck driver friend.
Daily need, daily grace.
Until moving to Mekelle, I have never been so thankful for the sound of running water, for the cool liquid feeling washing the dust and heat off my face. I have never been so blessed with power to cook dinner or charge my phone. I am still praying for that plumber that knows anything intelligent about toilets, but in the meantime I am a learning a few plumbing tricks of my own. When that truck passed by with the wrench and then the minibus with the mechanic, I think I cried.
Our need has strengthened our faith. I still cry when the tank runs dry of water. I have a flutter of panic without power and an uncooked dinner. I still can look at the sky and question, “God, did you bring us out here to this wild-dry desert just to forsake us?” But when need comes my way, I know I will get to see God and his provision very tangibly as I look for this daily manna.
How has your need increased your faith? Where are you having to learn to wait for that daily manna? How is God writing a story of provision in your life?