Looking forward . . .

Tomorrow I leave for Amman, Jordan.

It’s hard to know what else to say right now.  Sure, I’m excited.  This is my first trip to the middle east, and there’s a lot to learn.  And yes, I’m also a bit nervous.  There’s a lot for me to wonder about right now.

Will I get through customs okay?

Will my checked bag make it too?

Will I have everything I need?

Will I be able to interact with people well?

Will any of it even be WORTH IT?

I guess that depends on what I mean by “it.”  The cost of the trip, the long flight over, or the time spent reading, thinking, and praying about anything that might happen?  Maybe the answer is the same regardless:

Yes.

Yes, it will be worth it.  I don’t have to be there yet to know that.  God wanted me in Jordan this May.  No matter what happens, I can trust that He has me where He wants me right now.

I’m still nervous, of course.  I’m still not sure why God wants me in Jordan.  But I choose to believe that He will guide me through whatever circumstances I find myself in, to bring the greatest glory to His name and the best outcome for all involved.  And I know from experience that that may not always look the way I expect or desire it to look.  Meaningful connections, encounters, or situations don’t happen on command, and they definitely don’t last forever.  I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of people that I didn’t want to lose because of timing or location or situation.

But it’s okay.  God works His will into all of it.  Everything, large or small, is on His radar – nothing escapes His notice.  He is present in every hello and every goodbye.  He is present in the short and the long times.  And He is present in suffering, too.

I’m afraid that I’ll be revisiting the topic of suffering in the coming days.  And I’ll admit now that it puzzles me.  How does a good God stand idly by while His beloved children suffer?  I don’t know much about suffering, I don’t have all the answers, and I definitely don’t have the authority to make any guesses.  But I refuse to believe that God is not good because He allows His children to suffer, and I refuse to believe that He is idle.  That’s Biblically founded, so I can probably say that.

God is constantly working in ways we do not realize, bringing about His good and perfect will.  Joseph, I think, would testify to that most faithfully.  Joseph who suffered greatly at the hands of his own brothers and then his trusted master.  Joseph who spent years in prison wrongfully in order to become the man who saved his father, Jacob, and their whole family line from famine and death.  Yes, God is working.

So, Lord, here I am.  I’m ready to fly across the world tomorrow and be a part of Your will – whatever that might be.  I’m ready for You to use me to bless others or teach me through others or make me a witness to something apart from me entirely, if that’s what You will.  I have no idea what to say or do except to surrender to You, because You’ll do what’s best whether I’m on board or not, so I might as well try to keep up.  Have Your way, Father.  Just, please, walk me through with unwavering faith in You as I go.  Manage my expectations, open my heart, teach me, grow me, and above all keep me humble.  Maybe that way Your light will shine brighter in all of this than I ever could.

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