Have you ever felt your life’s circumstances were earthquake-y and unpredictable and mysterious? That the songs of your heart were slightly out of tune? And yet, at the same time you had an inkling that God was slogging through it with you, holding you close, smiling at you, cheering you on?
Often we don’t see our situation clearly until later, in hindsight.
I look back and see that during my first few weeks in Lomalinda, I was in a fog—not a dense one, but a fog nevertheless—and I recognize now, more than ever, that day by day, morning by morning, new mercies I saw. All I needed, God’s hand provided. Great was His faithfulness!
God had put His loving arms around me during those puzzling days of transition—transition out of so much and into so much. . . .
- God said He’d be with me and bless me as I left my homeland and instead lived in Colombia as a foreigner (Genesis 26:3);
- He went before me as I transitioned out of my home in Seattle and into my home in Lomalinda (Deuteronomy 31:8);
- His everlasting lovingkindness led me out of my Pacific Northwest culture and into two cultures new to me: (1) the culture of a missionary community and (2) the culture of rural Colombia (Exodus 13:21);
- As I stepped away from my friends and family back home, God circled me, front and back, with His hand of blessing upon me, and led me into new groups of people I’d never met before (Psalm 139:5);
- He assured me He’d be with me and keep me close as I transitioned out of my home church and into a different one—we had only one in Lomalinda (Exodus 28:15);
- He went before me and helped me fight mental and physical battles as I left behind the way I’d always done grocery shopping and meal preparation, and He led me into the Lomalinda way (Deuteronomy 1:30);
- Although I had never been this way before (Joshua 3:4), He helped me transition out of owning a car and into walking everywhere;
- He had sent me to live as a foreigner and promised to bless me there (Genesis 26:3), helping me trade the smells of forest and sea for the smells of jungle and grasslands and mud;
- Because I was a foreigner in a foreign land (Exodus 2:22), God stood beside me as I moved out of cool Seattle temperatures and into sweltering equatorial heat;
- Within each day’s spirals and whorls, and despite my many awkward lurches, with each little victory and each major triumph God was helping me drop puzzle pieces into place. He held my hand, guided me with His counsel, and transitioned me toward a glorious destiny (Psalm 73:23-24).
As we traveled this foreign wilderness, I witnessed God caring for Dave, Matt, Karen, and me as a father cares for his child. He had brought us to this place (Deuteronomy 1:31).
Little did I know then that He was preparing a feast for me so that my cup would overflow with blessings (Psalm 23:5).
The Lord carried me out of despair and offered me hope: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Joan Chittister writes: “Despair . . . leads us to ignore the very possibilities that could save us. . . .
“Hope, on the other hand, . . . knows that whatever happens God lives in it, and expects that, whatever its twists and turns, it will ultimately yield its good to those who live it consciously, to those who live it to the hilt. . . . Hope sends us dancing around dark corners. . . .
“Every dimension of the process of struggle is a call to draw from a well of new understandings. It is that wisdom that carries us beyond the dark night of struggle to the dawn of new wisdom and new strength.” (Joan Chittister, Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope)
Hope: It’s a good thing.
Wherever you find yourself today,
God holds you in His arms
and offers you hope.
“May the God of all hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust Him. . . .”