As I rode my motorcycle to an orphanage a year or so ago I was petrified I wouldn’t have anything to say to the kid I was going to counsel. I had thoughts of listening to his story and not even understanding what he was saying as he was from Ambon and, even though my Indonesian is pretty good, I might simply not be able to understand what he was saying. Even if I managed to understand, I was filled with uncertainty about whether I would be able to be of any help to him whatsoever. Doubt tortured me and I wondered why I had volunteered myself to be an ear for these kids.
And then it happened. As the kid spoke I was filled with awe at how great God is. He shared his life story, growing up in Ambon and how his father had abandoned his family. His struggle with guilt because of the terrible model he had been for his younger brother and on and on…. It was all exactly the same or very close to the experiences I had during my childhood and teen years.
The next week I went through the exact same doubts and in a completely different context the next kid had experiences very similar to mine. And so, week after week, God sent teens for me to minister to and ironically He had prepared me to minister to them over a decade before through the experiences I went through during my childhood.
Not long after a minister was preaching and he said “Pupuk masa laluku menjadi pupuk untuk masa depanku” (the cow ‘turds’ of my past are the compost of my future) For me it all fit together as it only can when God is the orchestrator. I saw that all the pain and problems I had experienced with my father’s suicide, leaving home at 14 years old and almost 10 years of substance abuse and wandering, were partly preparation for the ministry I love doing these days.
I resolved to take a different perception of problems and always be (at least partly) pleased when trouble strikes as I trust that God has something in store for me. Amen