"It's not fair!" you shout when you're eight and your sister gets to go out and play but you have to stay in to do do chores. "It's not fair," you mutter under your breath when you're fourteen and the guy who had a crush on starts dating someone else. "It's not fair," you think when you're nineteen and sitting in a truck bed at 10 o'clock at night, racing through the streets of El Salvador, stopping only to hand out bag meals and t-shirts to children, men, and women of various ages, states of health, levels of sobriety, and dispositions who all share one thing- the lack of a home.
In a place where I can barely travel a few miles without seeing the words "Dios" (God), "Gloria" (Glory), or "Jesús" (this one is pretty clear-cut) in one combination or another plastered or artfully sprayed on a wall, it seems hard to imagine thinking "Where is God?" Yet, regardless of the past nineteen years I have spent growing closer and closer to Him, I found myself asking this question. Where is God when you see a man trying to cope with his seemingly hopeless situation of being homeless by attempting to get high off of the same glue my six to nine year olds use in Arts and Crafts day camp to stick glitter on their Starry Night coloring pages? Where is God when you watch your friend trying to console a crying infant suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome, living in a home with dozens of other orphans awaiting transfer to yet another orphanage? Where is God when you're struggling to understand the best way to show His love to all around you?
When Moses encountered The Lord in the burning bush, he asked two questions after God told him what he was to do: 1. Who am I? and 2. Who are you? In answer to the "Who am I?" question, God simply replied, "I will be with you." (Ex. 3:12a) in answer to the "Who are you?" question, God declared, "I AM WHO I AM." Both os these answers are so perfectly complete. God could give no other answer. God IS, and He is with us.
So where is God? God is found in the small church building with the beautiful scrolled metal- covered windows, filled with raised hands and praises ringing out in the rich Romance language of Spanish on Sunday morning. God is found in the gleeful laughter of the young ones as they are squirted with water during a Broadway-worthy performance of the story of Jonah. God is found in the smiles and excitement of young girls and boys clamoring for your attention so you can paint their nails bubble-gum pink or paint their face to look like Spider-Man. God is found in the hands, hugs, and tears shared between Starfish team members and teen girls who have been abandoned by earthly fathers but desire to know their Heavenly Father. God is found in the exchange of "Gracias" (Thank you) and "De nada. Dios te Bendiga." (You're welcome. May God bless you.) after a homeless man receives his meal. And "Dios" is found spray-painted on the side of a building as we speed by on our way back to the mission house for showers and sleep.