last weekend i went "white water rafting" without paddles. i hopped in a 2-person tube, got pushed off a dam-overflow, twisted, turned and screamed my way down the river, and laughed with all that was inside of me. though completely ridiculous [and so fitting of this country i endearingly call home], i realized it was a perfect illustration of life here in east asia. i love control and always want to step into circumstances i have the upper-hand in. yet over here, my life couldn't be more opposite of that desire. here i am in a place i know nothing about, and i have literally zero control over my life. YET, i'm delighted and full of JOY and couldn't imagine a better place to be.
as i have 10 days left in this precious country i have come to love, i'm beginning to reflect on my time here, all the Lord has taught me, and the ways i've seen Him work. there have certainly been some BIG rapids to face: a seemingly impossible language, people who have never heard the glorious truth, responsibilities way beyond my capacity, moving towns and in the process embracing totally new relationships, and so many more. and most of those rapids are things i would've never chosen on my own and couldn't have imagined making it through alive. but here in those rapids, i have found so much more of JESUS! as He calls me to surrender my control--to come forward without a paddle--He meets me there and shows me His goodness.
"i would have despaired if i had not believed that i would look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" psalm 27:13.
the land of the living? the Lord's goodness? are these the things i'm daily believing in and looking for? are they what my faith is hung on? while living in a place of utter darkness, i can relate to that despair...but lately, our sweet Father has been reminding me that it doesn't stop there: there is so much HOPE to cling to because His goodness is so present. HE is my hope, and HE is here--He is EMMANUEL, God with me.
He teaches me that i can live in expectation--that He WILL show up. He also promises that this side of heaven, circumstances and relationships will surely lead to despair, but we can have total confidence in His goodness--we can totally surrender and abide in it. this faith in HIS goodness keeps me hoping, praying, and waiting...it keeps me on my knees.
my new favorite author, sara hagerty, wrote words that have gripped my heart all semester. in the midst of the rapids and craziness of daily life, these words remind me that He wants us on our knees, He wants us at His feet. she writes, "the MAKER of the world multiplies His work on the earth through us, as we WASTE our lives at His feet! the greatest 'waste'--sitting at His feet for unconventional amounts of time--is the ONE THING He says is needed."
so as i begin to think through transitioning back to america [a place that right now seems kinda scary], i'm choosing to be expectant of His goodness and ever-longing for His house! i'm praying i will find my rest at His feet. i'm asking that even though i'm walking into a place that usually offers me "paddles" of control, that i would instead remain surrendered and dependent. Jesus, keep me ever-looking for your GOODNESS here in a land where you're constantly bringing NEW LIFE!