Sunsets are beautiful, but I find their beauty greatly increased when I take the time to appreciate their details.
The many shades of yellow, orange and red, slowly cooling to shades of pink and purple are details that can be overlooked with just one glance. The sun’s warmth heating your face, then fading, cooling over time, requires a few minutes to enjoy. Sunsets are beautiful, but these details greatly enhance them.
It’s when I take a moment to notice the details that I find myself truly appreciating an experience, and it’s in that time that I often reflect on how God is in each of those details.
Sometimes God’s presence in the details is subtle, and I have to slow down to see it, but one afternoon in Nicaragua last summer, His presence was as undeniable as crashing into a wall.
My two sons and I were visiting my sponsor son Jose’s Compassion project that day. It was our second time meeting Jose, and we had already spent a couple of hours with him at lunch.
I’ve found my meetings with my sponsor children to be intense bits of time, full of emotion, and always finished too quickly. They’re the kinds of experiences where the clock seems to speed up, and the desperate attempt to enjoy every precious moment to the fullest somehow makes those moments a blur.
This day seemed to be heading in that direction. It was slipping past too quickly, and I was already dreading its end. Jose showed us around his project, stopping at the kitchen, the chapel and the main office, where we were able to look though his records.
Next he took us to his classroom, where his classmates were seated in desks, listening to a teacher. Their usual teacher had been spending the day with us, so today they were being taught by a young man.
He looked up as we all walked in, and our translator introduced us to him and the children. Then a look of recognition appeared on his face. He excitedly told our translator something in Spanish.
“I remember her,” she translated, as the young man named Kevin gestured towards me.
He continued explaining to her, and we found out that he did, in fact, remember me. When I first visited Nicaragua in 2014, two years earlier, Kevin’s sponsor was on that same group tour. On the last day of the tour, all of the sponsors were able to meet their children at a local amusement park and spend the day with them.
Kevin remembered seeing me on that day, when I first met Jose.
What were the chances that we would ever see each other again?
Well, it was clear this encounter did not happen by chance. God was in these details.
There are 177 Compassion projects in Nicaragua, and on that day, we walked into the one project where Kevin was working. There are 46,514 sponsored children in Nicaragua, and two years earlier, Kevin was one of about 25 Compassion children at the amusement park on visit day.
I stood there amazed realizing God’s hand in this meeting. We took photos together, and Kevin told me his sponsor’s name. I assured him I would contact his sponsor and share his message and photos with him. I was so excited to let Kevin’s sponsor know that after he graduated the Compassion program, he had gone on to become at teacher with Compassion, helping young children like he had been.
We both were a bit emotional by the end of our quick meeting. I was honored to stand in for Kevin’s sponsor, and to hug him and encourage him.
And as we walked away, exclaiming over how incredible that meeting had been, I knew God was at work, slowing me down, reminding me to appreciate the smallest details throughout the day.
We went to Jose’s house next, and it was raining, so we crowded into his home, which was small, but dry, and we sat together. Jose scrambled to find chairs for us, carefully wiping mine down with a rag before letting me sit.
We were quite a group, including Jose, my two sons, me, our translator, Jose’s mother, two younger brothers and his teacher. We talked, laughed, and even sang a little, enjoying a rainy afternoon together inside. And when the day ended, it still was difficult to say goodbye.
But God had slowed us all down that afternoon, and He had certainly been in all the details.