What was God teaching me in Pakistan? Why did He have me go? These are the questions that have plagued me over and over and over and over….
It’s funny how often we think that life is supposed to be filled with book after book after book of experiences that we live, learn and understand. It’s as though we are to look at what life offers us as a set of scenes that we live (or watch based on your ability to really live) as nice, neat, tidy little things that we will understand soon after they are over. Like when you read a book, you know? You read cover to cover and understand–there was conflict; there were characters; there was love; there was hatred; there was a moral. You learn the lesson of the book, close the cover, and put the book back on the shelf–likely to never look at it again. Why would you right? You already read that one!
These are words that do not describe my life nor my faith journey. Why, then, am I expecting this experience to process in a nice–neat–tidy way? It simply is not!
Here are a couple of ways God is meeting me, though–
He is illuminating the wilderness–the course sand under my feet and the hot sun on my face. He is reassuring me that life isn’t necessarily only about the “Promised Land” but that he is using the sand and the sun to build my faith.
He is awakening me to the fact that life and the experiences that lie within it are not supposed to be book cover-to-book cover experiences. I will be processing what happened in Pakistan for a very long time. Perhaps the last two-plus months for me have been that cover page that introduces a new chapter into my life instead of a different book altogether. Thus, God holds the future and what I will discover within the pages to follow.
How does this help?
I don’t have to figure everything out. I can be broken and confused. I can wonder and hurt. I can grow callouses on my feet from the hot sand beneath. I can pray and trust. I can believe that God is building my faith. I can believe that He is working all things out for the good.
There is a really great picture of this in Exodus 15. The Israelites are walking (miserably) in the wilderness. They are confused, hurting, broken, not knowing how to live, etc. Just when they think they can’t go one more step, God brings them into an oasis with 70 palm trees and 12 fresh water springs.
Awaken to the God of the oases!
Now I can keep telling the story—