Like many countries near the Equator, Rwanda has intense rainy seasons. The torrential downpours significantly slow down life in the village. They also leave devastating damage to homes and to the lives of the precious families that reside inside these structures.
One Hope Haven family recently saw their roof fly away during one of these intense storms. Their son, Arnold, is a stellar student who recently scored in the highest category during the Rwandan national exams.
Arnold was suffering from dysentery in the local hospital when I stopped by for a visit with our social workers. We heard they were having a difficult time after the storm, but did not fully appreciate the extent of the damage to their home until we saw it with our own eyes. The entire roof had blown away, leaving mud bricks vulnerable to literally melting away with each additional rainstorm. While makeshift plaster on the exterior provides some resilience during a storm, when the roof is gone during strong rains these houses risk deadly collapse.
Arnold’s father, Sylvain, was grateful that we stopped by to encourage him. He is thankful to have his son in a strong Christian school and knows that Hope Haven cares about his entire family and wishes the best for their future.
This experience reminds me of Joel 2:25. I am encouraged by how Colin Smith described this uplifting text in an article for The Gospel Coalition.
Colin writes, “God promises the impossible: ‘I will restore the years that the locust has eaten’ (Joel 2:25). The immediate meaning of this promise is clear. God’s people had suffered the complete destruction of their entire harvest through swarms of locusts that marched like an insect army through the fields, destroying the crops, multiplying their number as they went.
In the coming years, God said, their fields would yield an abundance that would make up for what had been lost: ‘The threshing floor shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil…You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied’ (Joel 2:24, 26)…This wonderful promise for those people meant that years of abundant harvests would follow the years of desolation brought about by the locusts. But God has also put this promise in the Bible for us today.”
You may feel like there is no hope. You may wonder if you can ever gain from seemingly wasted years or experiences, but God has good news for all of us. As we submit to Him, even those years will be restored—for His glory and our good!
Do you know someone who would appreciate a reminder of this today? Send them a note or give them a call.
Go deliver some hope!