Well last Friday marked one month until we leave. I didn't realize how fast the time is winding down before we will get on a plane and go to a place where not much is known of how things will go or what we will do. While we know much more now about what we are going to do, still much is left to the imagination. This is leaving a lot of room for fear and anxieties, and I am really starting to feel those right now.
There are people here that I don't really want to leave behind; my family and friends. And there are familiarities of which I will have a hard time letting go. There is this scary thought that I need to, and should have already been, thinking about learning another language in the midst of cramming for finals. It's just a crazy time.
The only consolation I have from this right now is how I can feel and see God working through all of this. I can see his hand on this trip. I wasn't so sure before, and was very doubtful of this trip. But God has just shown up and provided a way to get there, and given me an attitude of trust that is more open to God's creative work in my life. So many doors have been opened that can't be explained other than God acting and "making a way in the desert," just like he provided for the Israelites in times of exile. I fought it for a little while. I didn't really want to go. But I know that God is going to do incredible things in us and through us. It will be a very formative experience in all of our lives, and I know God will bring our hearts closer to his. Hopefully while we are there we can impact the lives of the people there, and I know they will impact us.
I know this summer will not be easy, and will be very trying at some points. Sometimes we will want to go home and back to all that is safe and familiar. We will just want to see the ones we love and have life be back to normal. But in this time of needing God to really be everything for us, we will find joy. We will find that sustaining joy through Christ that will be everything we need. In writing a paper last week, I came across a quote by Frederick Buechner in his book The Longing For Home that I found very encouraging, and I think it relates to this.
"Joy is home…God created us in joy and created us for joy, and in the long run not all darkness there is in the world and in ourselves can separate us finally from that joy, because whatever else it means to say that God created us in his image, I think it means that even when we cannot believe in him, even when we feel most spiritually bankrupt and deserted by him, his mark is deep within us. We have God's joy in our blood."
The joy we find through Christ will sustain us, and bring life to us so we can pour that life into those we come into contact with. No matter how hard it will get sometimes or how far we will feel from home, the joy found in Christ will bring us peace and life, as we learn to trust Him in a new way.