A guest post from YWAM Louisville staff member, Rob Bryant.
This summer I led a mission trip to Nicaragua for high school and college students. One morning I set out with a few of them to distribute Bibles to families who owned none. As we entered one home and I took my seat, I was introduced to a man with worn edges around his eyes and a heart heavy with despair. His name was Mario. I felt inadequate to do anything, and instantly was flooded with the temptation to offer up a generic prayer and pull out of there.
Then God stopped me.
You may know the feeling – that inward struggle between your flesh and the spirit. God wanted me to share a personal story, and it was no easy story.
I was filled with an inner anger toward the God I quietly blamed.
The story began in the fall of 2011, when my wife Susanna and I were expecting our second child. When Susanna miscarried, I was filled with an inner anger towards the God I quietly blamed.
Four months after the miscarriage, Susanna became pregnant again. Believe it or not, I was angry. The night we found out, I yelled at God, “Are you just going to take this one away, too?”
Then the unthinkable happened: God spoke to me and said that we would have a son and that his name would be Matthew Johnson. Matthew means “gift of God” and Johnson means “God is gracious.”
In November of 2012, almost a year to the day after the miscarriage, Matthew Johnson was born – a healthy, 10-pound boy. Even in my anger, God was gracious and gave a precious gift to our family.
“Do you want God to walk with you through your pain?”
Back in that dark, muggy room I sat across from a man who had lost his wife and now blamed God. As I shared my own painfully raw story, Mario’s defenses began to crumble. I said to him, “We all have questions, and we all face painful things in life. But God wants to walk with you through our pain, like a man walks with a friend. Do you want that?”
Mario said, “Yes, I do.”
Rob and his wife, Susanna, met in our first DTS in 2007. Now they’re raising a family of missionaries – Gabrielle, age 4, and Matthew, age 1 1/2. Rob heads up our short-term mission trip program, which you can find out more about here. The Bryants have a heart for Germany and are planning to head there long-term in the next few years.