Ojalá. The translation of this Spanish word is “hopefully.” It is a word that leads an expression of a desire, a wish, a hope. However, the cultural translation of “ojalá” is the equivalent of “If God wills, _______(etc.)” When someone says this, it emphasizes that he or she is putting trust in God. An action. Placing the situation in God’s hands.
This past weekend I had quite the adventure and a wonderful opportunity to trust (which I can say, now that it’s over). But sadly, I did not exercise this whole “ojalá” thing. Quite honestly, I was a nervous wreck that was completely wrapped up in her unfortunate circumstances.
Some friends and I were traveling to San Pedro to stay the night and then continue on to Tela for the morning. It was going to be a quick trip to show some friends from the States the beach and then return to Siguatepeque in time for church that Saturday night. The trip began great and we were just getting to San Pedro when I felt my air conditioning go out. Not 5 minutes later, there was an awful sound like something dragging beneath the car. I immediately pulled over (thank the Lord traffic was not terribly crazy!) and checked beneath the car: nothing. I tried to start it again: nothing. I looked under the hood: nothing. Well nothing that I could see, which doesn’t mean much because to say I don’t know cars is an understatement.
So there we were, 4 girls, gringas, sitting in a car that wouldn’t start, in 95-100 degree weather, along a busy road, at dark, on the south side of San Pedro Sula, and of course we all had to use the bathroom.
I began making phone calls to find a mechanic and a tow truck. I got on the phone with a tow truck, but he needed to know where I was, which at that moment I could not explain well enough to him. I hung up the phone to ask a man sitting on the side of the road, “Excuse me sir, hello, can you tell me where I am?” He graciously told me what neighborhood and what landmarks were nearby so I could tell the tow truck where to come find us.
After an hour had passed (in which I had to keep telling myself “This will be a great story to tell my kids someday”), the tow truck arrived and we (the car and us in the car) were loaded atop the bed of the tow truck to be driven across a part of town to the mechanic, who had stayed late to wait for us to arrive so he could personally drive us to where we were staying.
My car ended up needing the belt replaced so we were not able to go to Tela, but instead went to a water park in San Pedro and my wonderful roommate came to get us and drive us back to Siguatepeque in time for church.
In this stressful event, I learned a few things.
- The Spanish word for tow truck is grua (groo-ah).
- Riding on top of a grua is terrifying and exciting all at the same time
- I need to learn more about cars, as in the words for all the parts in English AND Spanish
- Adventures like this do make for great stories
- I need to do a lot more of practicing ojalá
- God is always faithful
It all ended well and looking back in reflection I can tell you, actually shout out, how faithful God is. He placed a nice man right beside the car to tell me where I was, sent me a tow truck driver with the patience of Job for understanding my choppy Spanish over the phone, and gave me wonderful friends who live in San Pedro and who sent us to the nicest mechanic who gave us a ride back to where we were staying for free. Yes, God is faithful.
But in that moment, I was so caught up in everything that was happening, worried about safety, the friends in my care, my car, etc. I say I trust God, but when put in that situation, a perfect situation to trust Him, my mind went crazy with worry. I didn’t stop to surrender the situation into the hands of God. I didn’t stop to ask for guidance. I just went into fix-it mode. And yes it did turn out alright, all but me. I did not, initially. Like I said, I was a nervous wreck. I had no peace, and that unsettled feeling lasted much longer than just those couple of hours. It turned into doubts and then frustration. And all that did was hurt me. It stole my peace and my joy. All because I didn’t place the situation into the hands of God.
But God….still is always faithful. And he always gives us grace in this not-always-beautiful process of growing to be more like Him.
“…if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
And so, ojalá que yo practique mas ojalá’s.
In other words, I hope, pray and surrender it into God’s hands that I am more diligent in practicing the act of placing every situation into God’s hands. This might mean God brings more moments like that to trust Him, but that’s okay.