Yesterday we arrived in Columbus. To a place that isn't ours, but it's ours for the next 6 weeks. Relief. We're not invading anyone's space. We're not wreaking havoc on someone else's life. There can be toys everywhere and we don't have to feel bad. We can leave the kitchen a mess. It's not ours, but it's ours. And we're not in anyone's way or imposing in any way.
Today is a little bittersweet. Today is the day we were supposed to leave Venezuela. For the past two and a half months we should've been in Venezuela. Living life, doing ministry, getting closure, saying goodbyes. All of that was cut short. We still don't know why, but it's not what happened the way we planned or wanted.
As I have said, the Bible consistently changes the questions we bring to the problem of pain. It rarely, or ambiguously, answers the backward-looking question "Why?" Instead, it raises the very different, forward-looking question, "To what end?" We are not put on earth merely to satisfy our desires, to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with him. And that process may be served by the mysterious pattern of all creation: pleasure sometimes emerges against a background of pain, evil may be transformed into good, and suffering may produce something of value. -Philip YanceyThis is one of the quotes that has hit my heart lately. No matter how much I plan, no matter how much time I spend or well thought out something is, there is very little that is in my control. And that's the way the Lord wants it. He wants me to choose him over myself. He wants me to experience pleasure, goodness and for my character to grow. But sometimes, often times, that requires pain, evil and suffering. How can I not take the good with the bad?
And so during this continued time of transition, we rest in the fact that God is sovereign. We had tickets bought to return to the United States today. Those were my plans. And just like Job I can look to God and ask the question "why?" but he may not give me the why. He may just give me a better view of himself. I can't complain about that.
God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly. -Philip YanceyThis is that time. I can choose to deny him. I can choose to be angry or bitter or sad (some of those things are healthy and even fair). I can also choose to move toward the Lord, to move toward joy, grace and peace. By faith.
And so it is by faith that we continue to heal. Our hearts. Our marriage. Our family. Would you pray for us? This time has been very trying on all of us. We're all a little more tense. Our fuses are a little (or a lot) shorter. There's more yelling, more tears, more frustration. This time is not easy. We're hopeful that this time of having one place to stay will help calm our hearts a bit. Would you pray for that for us?