Daily Bread October 17

From the Depths of a Broken Heart
Darwyn Copa of Cochabamba, Bolivia

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

I was returning home after a long ministry trip in other countries of Latin America. I had not slept all night and dawn found me sitting at the airport awaiting my final flight.

Upon boarding, I sat beside a woman who was deeply worried. As the plane took off, she began to weep openly. I asked her if she felt OK or if I should call a crew member to help her. And, frankly, I could barely stay awake.

As she wept, she began to tell me her story. She had escaped from her home in Brazil more than 10 years earlier because of a conflict with her family. She came to Bolivia and established a family. She had not returned to see her Brazilian family in all that time and had lost communication with them. She was returning home because she had been informed that her only brother had been shot and killed. The family had gathered to hold vigil and sit with the body.

I was shocked by her story. Worse, I knew I did not know how to give her advice. She asked me, “How do you think my mother will respond to me after so long?” Then she began to cry even more, perhaps remembering the conflict of 10 years earlier. I had no answer for her so I prayed to God to give me some word of encouragement. I was silent for a few seconds; then out of my mouth came these words: “Your mother will be happy to have you by her side in this difficult time.” Suddenly she smiled a little and stopped crying.

I do not think the words I spoke were ones I could have chosen to console her, but I saw them touch the depths of her broken heart. They brought her comfort and peace in that moment.

She continued to tell me more of her story, but was much calmer, with a smiling face. I reached the end of my journey. Before I left, she thanked me for the words spoken to her. It was a profound experience for me and a great learning moment. God reminded me that we are instruments that he uses to bless the people who are seeking to find God’s love and peace.

I know God appreciates our ministry in other countries, but after the experience with this woman, I wonder if perhaps this conversation was the greater purpose for which God took me on this journey.

Prayer Phrase

“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).

Spiritual Practice

Holy Attention

Spend a few moments paying attention, wherever you are. Notice your surroundings. What draws your focus? Look more closely at detail and color. Notice what pulls or prods within you. How is the God-in-all-things speaking to you through what you see and feel right here, right now?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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