“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.” Deut. 30:3
The picture above shows the buildings that were destroyed by a devastating fire on Sunday night, June 26th, leaving businesses gutted and 88 people homeless. Fortunately, no one was hurt or killed in the fire. Compassion has been pouring out toward the victims of this tragedy.
We arrived here on Wednesday, just a few days after the fire. The debris from the burned buildings has been mostly cleared away. But for the families and businesses affected, the process of restoration has just begun.
This tragedy is a visible and dramatic example of destruction in Belize. But a darker, hidden and equally painful destruction takes place every day of the year: the pain of abuse. It happens in families where drug and alcohol use are rampant. It occurs where selfishness and violence are the instruments of destruction.
These destructive patterns are the reason we are here in Belize this week. I came to San Pedro, Belize, 18 months ago to see firsthand the pain and damage being done by human trafficking here. It is a horrible reality that leaves many broken lives in its aftermath. Like the burned out buildings from Sunday’s fire, hearts and minds are devastated and find it very difficult to heal and rebuild.
We are asking the Father to heal the people of San Pedro, especially hurting young women. We are praying, worshipping and seeking the heart of God for His plans for how He wants to heal. God is at work here. His light is shining. We are asking him to use us as a part of that growing light.
It feels like such a huge and intimidating challenge. But God is greater than the darkness. In my devotion this morning, I was reminded about a scripture in Proverbs that says:
“Look to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, or overseer, or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Prov. 6:6-8
What I learned by considering the ant is that great projects and great restoration does not happen all at one time. Think about an ant colony. A whole ant colony is built as thousands of little ants grab one small grain of sand and move it to its proper place. An ant farm is built by tiny creatures doing thousands of small acts towards the same goal.
God’s great works happen little by little, by small acts done the right way with the right motive. Just like the ant, God uses simple people, doing many simple things, over time to do nearly impossible things. I feel like a little ant a lot of times, wondering if moving my one little grain matters in the big picture.
The need here is at times overwhelming. Human trafficking does great damage. But the promise today is that God will restore things that are broken and destroyed. He is the God of restoration.
Little by little, as God’s people do little things with great love, He will put the pieces of broken lives back together. This is our call and our mission. We are not called to do great things, just lots and lots of small things that lead to great transformation.
Thank you for praying and giving into the work here in Belize. This feels like a huge rebuilding process. Hearts, lives and families need healing and restoration. With God as our Master Builder, we will see restoration come from the presence of the Lord.