Reflections on Our Cambodian Experience

We take so many things for granted. Let me rephrase that. I take so many things for granted. Health. Family. Career. Shelter. Food. Clothing. And I could go on. 


I’ve been thinking about this recently due to a wonderful trip to the other side of the world that Laura and I took last week to visit our oldest son and his wife. They serve as missionaries in Cambodia, where they have lived for the past one year, three months, and eight days (but who’s counting).


Laura and I came away from our Cambodian experience with deep gratitude in our hearts for our time with Will and Michaela. We celebrated Michaela’s pregnancy (fourteen weeks now) and the odd feeling of becoming grandparents. Me, a grandfather? Surreal is the word that comes to mind.


Thus, my pondering of the things we take for granted. Things like being able to see our children, because visiting halfway around the world is not a journey for the faint of heart. Things like air conditioning, as we experienced its absence in 100-degree weather in Phnom Penh. Things like language, as we understood nothing of Khmer, the language of Cambodia. Things like financial security, as we witnessed so much poverty in our travels through the city and countryside.


We remind ourselves of the blessings we possess, not to boast but to humbly serve. We remind ourselves that when God blessed Abraham, He did so that Abraham would be a blessing to others. “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). We remind ourselves that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17), not because we are so deserving, but because God is so good. And we remind ourselves of the suffering of others, so that we might pray, give, and serve.


I am now at the ripe, young age of 55. I think that means I’m eligible for a senior discount at McDonald’s. Count your many blessings. Name them one by one. In my 55 years, I have failed often at giving thanks for God’s provision. I am to be a channel, and not a depository, of blessing, and so are you. We receive in order to give. We are blessed in order to pour out God’s blessing.


I challenge you this week to consider the things you take for granted, and give thanks for your blessings as you humbly pass them along to others.