Not only will I be leaving everyone and everything I know, but I also will be going to a place where I am known by no one. Everything will be completely unfamiliar. I do not speak French, which will make simple things like getting groceries a challenge. I will have to set up my own second grade classroom for the very first time ever. I will have to eloquently and creatively inspire learning in the hearts of 17 little seven year olds. I will have to adjust to living with complete strangers. I will face loneliness, heartache, and struggle. I am about to move to the least developed country in the world. The road ahead has a cost.
Jesus Christ paid the price so that we, as Christians, can be a part of the Body of Believers. Even in Niger, I will have the privilege of meeting brothers and sisters in Christ, adopted into the same Family because of His precious blood. I may not be known by others, but I am known by God Almighty. I will have the opportunity to learn a new language, experience a new culture and people, precious to the heart of God. I will finally be able to apply four years of training and education as I set up my first classroom. I have the privilege of getting to know 17 beautiful second graders, whose smiles and even frowns, I'm sure, will make my day - a daily opportunity to learn from the heart and faith of a child. I will bond with once complete strangers as we laugh and struggle together. I will face joy, purpose, and victory. I am about to move to a place where lives will be changed and transformed by the Good News. The road ahead is rewarding.
Although I can be tempted to say that only the exciting moments of joy and victory are of the Lord, I would argue that the moments of exhaustion and disappointment are just as necessary. God desires us to encounter both emotions, not just because we are created in His image and therefore we emote, but also because it is through these experiences that we will encounter our NEED for JESUS.
When I embarrass myself in the market because I said the wrong thing or when I completely mess up a lesson, I can say to the Lord, "I trust you!" And when I make friends with my roommates and help a second grader have an 'aha!' moment, I can say to the Lord, "Thank you that I trust you!"
What a beautiful thing to know that God is TRUSTWORTHY.
EVERYTHING belongs to God and He is absolutely worthy of it all - my time, my energy, my heart, my money, my friends, my job, my family...EVERYTHING.
It's best that way. Yes, there is a cost. But His reward is greater.
So I will continue to TRUST, or "lean into," the One who knows my thoughts before I think them and who numbers the hairs on my head. May we all learn to TRUST our Abba, Father with EVERYTHING.
"Then the king said to Araunah, '...nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.'" - 2 Samuel 24:24
"Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there; but all of it is TOTALLY MEANINGFUL." -John Piper
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18)