‘Even in the wilderness,
through confusion and barrennes
You are beautiful God.
Even in my brokenness,
through this pain I will confess
You are always good.’
(Housefires – Never Run Dry)
I haven’t written anything in a long time. Things have been, in a word, difficult. They still are. But something in the words of this song this morning spoke to me clearly – reminding me of what I already know; God is, has been and always will be good.
Since I returned from my travels I have been somewhat broken. At first it was just the longing to be back in the nations again, the frustration of changing plans and feeling grounded. After a few weeks this turned into the realisation that, for whatever reason, God is asking me to stay where I am for a while which only increased my frustration. 8 months ago I had a good job and my own little flat, which I loved. I gave these things up – these things which most people are desperately trying to get hold of – and poured everything into what God was telling me to do; go to Kansas City, grow in intimacy with Him, travel to the nations and share His love. I didn’t know what would happen next but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered this – my present state of unemployment and ‘homelessness’ – would be an option.
So I wasn’t entirely unprepared for this. I willingly chose to give up what I had for something better – walking in obedience and intimacy with Jesus. I knew what I was coming home to. I knew the questions I was going to face. But I wasn’t prepared for the rest.
Since I returned home from my travels, I have felt physically ill. I have felt weak and exhausted and ‘run-down’ and have had aching joints, mouth ulcers, stomach problems, swollen glands, blackouts. None of these things are really much to be concerned about. They are mostly pointers of stress and lack of rest. But they do not make life easy. They have not helped me settle easily into life back at home.
Since I returned home from my travels, I have faced family struggles. I have had my heart broken by people I love. I have had to watch others deal with their own heartaches.
Since I returned home from my travels, I have had to make tough decisions which have caused me to say ‘bye for now’ to friends who I love. This is particularly painful.
‘“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.‘
Since I returned home from my travels God has spoken to me so clearly and so tenderly. I have been reminded each day of His faithfulness and his mercy. I have experienced a deeper measure of joy in His presence. I have found myself singing new songs of praise and worship to Him. I have felt emotionally and physically weak, but stronger spiritually than ever before.
Right now, I don’t know exactly what is going on. I don’t know why these things are happening or what will happen next but I know that through it all I am being drawn closer to God. In the past I have cried out to God during trials and clung on to Him in desperation, knowing that He is all I really have (and all I really need). This time, however, He has drawn me to Himself. When I don’t know what to cry about first and I’m too exhausted to even reach for Him, He picks me up and speaks truth over every situation.
‘A peace in the storm,
Your voice I will follow.
In weakess I rise remembering You hold my world.’
(Bethel – Anchor)
Thank you God, for who you are. For your constant comfort and encouragement. For empowering me to keep going every day. For your peace that truly does surpass my understanding and for hope, sure and steadfast, to anchor my soul.