In asking me to stay, God expanded my understanding of missions to be not just going to an overseas country to share the love of Christ, but rather leveraging any opportunity or situation to make disciples and share the gospel where I am.
It seems that it is more difficult for me to praise God when I don’t have an abundance of good things happening in my life. My mind does not often go to thanksgiving when I don’t see all those little (and big) things to be thankful for.
Why do the righteous suffer? Is all suffering for the sake of God? How do we reconcile the fact that God is good and God is sovereign with the fact that there is evil in the world? Does God somehow ordain evil and suffering? Why do the plans of the wicked prosper?
Hope in God. David proclaims what I would do well to remember – that even if everything around me gives way, even if evil and darkness rule my life, there is still hope because God is unchangeable and steady and unshakeable, “His grace is the ground for unshaken hope” (Spurgeon). Even if you are in a place where you don’t feel God’s love, it does not mean that He is not present. Even if the darkness does not lift, “the darkness is not dark to him” and there is still hope.
What do you do when you so heavily feel the weight of the brokenness of the world bearing down on you? When you are so overwhelmed with the pain caused by sin that you feel suffocated? When your heart aches with the hurt and grief of the people around you? How do you let it more deeply root yourself in the goodness and love and sovereignty of the Lord?
...regardless of what is happening in my life [or my feeling that nothing is happening in my life], God is still on His throne. So even when I don’t know what is ahead I can rest in his sovereignty, cling to His character, and walk daily in obedience. I can stop seeking for direction or clarity and start seeking to live a life of abandon right where I am to the glory of God. I can find rest in who God is...
...And even if he had not done all these things, even if I could not look back and see His faithfulness, I could rest unwaveringly in the fact that He is still faithful, because He cannot deny his character. He has been, he is, and He will always be Yahweh…I Am… Jehovah… Lord… faithful One… even in my foolish doubting.
To be honest, this has been one of the hardest semesters of my life. I've been overwhelmed at times with loneliness, confusion, fear, insecurity, and inadequacy. I've had quite a few moments where I've doubted everything. So many negative thoughts have plagued my mind: “What in the world are you doing?” “You aren't smart enough for seminary.” “How do you expect this all to work out?”
“Remember it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.” These words came to mind while I was spending time in God's Word recently. They convicted me and challenged me. It's so difficult to let go and allow God to lead.
I've read this verse so many times, but today I’m comforted by the fact that even when I have no idea where my life is headed, He knows. God never promises that we will understand His will for our lives. That we will understand why He has us where He does right now. He does however promise to guard our anxious hearts and minds with a peace that transcends all understanding (Phil. 4:7). A peace that is somehow more comforting than actually knowing.