I just returned from an inspiring trip to Cuba. What I saw has a bearing on your life, whether you are a Christian or not.
This was my first visit to Cuba, but I believe it won’t be my last. My motivation was to watch how a small group of Christians works within the requirements of the law to help their neighbors overcome daily struggles. In the process, they spread the Gospel of Jesus to people by living up to the purpose God prepares them for.
Since you haven’t lived your life in a vacuum, you know that there was a Cuban Revolution in 1953-1959. In general, the people of this beautiful island seem honestly happy in their situation. I never saw any outward dissatisfaction, nor did I speak with anyone about their opinions on life there. Neither does that mean I wore rose-colored glasses that prevented me from seeing the truth.
I was pleased not to have to spend my time in tourist resorts. I would not have gotten a bona fide picture of the daily experience of real people. I want to focus on those who make a difference for others, and I saw some in the villages I visited.
Hector (not his real name) had a checkered past, but determined to rise above a misdirected beginning. It took spending time incarcerated, then overcoming that stigma, but he found redemption that led to purpose.
A teacher mentored Hector to recognize people’s needs and find a way to address them. This was by using simple non-drug healing methods and rallying others to physically care for their necessities. Even long-term deprivations are being addressed. Prayer played a significant role in the process.
People are being helped through health and other life issues. Hector’s influence didn’t stop there. He established small centers of caring in scattered villages. People who Hector helped are now trained to mentor those who want to make a difference. And the Gospel goes with them.
Very few of us in our country experience the level of need that is found in places like Cuba. I’m guessing, though, that in your own sphere of influence, you see people who could benefit from skills that you already have, or that you can learn in short order. Don’t wait for the church to do it. You are the church. Don’t expect the government to do it. You are the government at the foundation level.
You can be the strength to someone around you. You don’t have the restrictions that others like Hector deal with. It may be that the only thing keeping you from moving forward is your own lack of faith in yourself. Let me give you three crucial steps that will guide you to break through whatever limits you.
Step 1 reMaster: We see that we are not perfect people. We know we haven’t been able to get beyond some of our past mistakes. They keep us from moving forward. Surrender all that to God. “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9,10 NLT)
Step 2 reImage: Once we surrender to Him, God will begin the lifelong process of renewing His perfect image in us. We can’t do that in ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Only God can do it, and not until we have taken Step 1. “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son” (Romans 8:29, NLT)
Step 3 rePurpose: This has already begun in your life. You see the need to be a different person. You sense there is something more in life that you can accomplish for others. As God is permitted to rebuild His image in you, He will also direct you to what that purpose is, and how it can be accomplished. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Let’s learn together. Please share this post with someone you know. Chances are, they feel the same way you do.