‘We are held by God when we live by faith!’

Becca, Schafer, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Hope Home, disability ministry

Becca Schafer is learning the joyful lessons of living by faith every day while serving in Hope Home, a group foster home for disabled children in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Here she shares beautiful and encouraging thoughts inspired by Dontrii, a seven-year-old boy at the home.

“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Recently, I have had the chance to reflect on what it must be like to experience the world as Dontrii does. Dontrii is blind. While I wouldn’t pretend to understand Dontrii’s experience, as I have sight, in my attempts to create a communication system for him I have come across a great challenge to listen and understand him more. In that search I have found something about this verse, something about our shared humanity, that I have misunderstood before now. Living by faith and not by sight is not intended to be a torturous journey of trust but is instead an experience that opens us up to great joy and brings us firmly into the embrace of our Savior. It is not the command I’ve read before, but instead is a beautiful invitation in a confusing and sometimes frightening world.

Dontrii finds great joy in encountering things he loves. Music. Slimy textures. The sound of grass being cut. The rain on the tin rooftop and the pop of a balloon. While they don’t come as a total surprise to Dontrii, he enjoys them fully and completely when they arrive sometimes without warning.

Becca, Schafer, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Hope Home, disability ministry

Seven-year-old Dontrii enjoys the textures of the sensory table at Hope Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

We see Po Boonmee prepare the edging machines, we see the sky darken, and we see Garfield’s foot going for that balloon. What to us is expected, even anticipated, is a great joy for Dontrii. I have prepared for the experience. I have known what is coming and how, and I anticipate the event. Somehow because he has not anticipated and prepared in the same way, Dontrii enjoys it more abundantly. I think when God has called us to live by faith, He wants us to open up to the great joy and comfort that He provides.

Dontrii does not turn off the world in between these experiences. But he is most happy when he is firmly held, knowing that the person holding him is ready. In these arms he is safe and secure. The person holding him will protect him if there is danger, and now he can simply enjoy.

I believe that is what God is calling us to now and always — to allow ourselves to be held by Him, and to open ourselves up to the great joy that comes in living by faith and not by what we can see. There are challenges in front of us, but it is not the ending. Living by faith, which transcends our sight, we are held by God, and open to experience great joy.

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