I am having a hard time grasping the truth of what is currently transpiring in my life at this point in time. In less than twenty-four hours I will board a plane bound for Chicago. Chicago is not my final destination. Not even close. I am headed to the African island of Madagascar. For nine months, I will take on a volunteer position teaching English in a local school and nearby seminary. I will be living on the top floor of an AIM (Africa Inland Mission) apartment on the outskirts of town. I will be receiving training upon arrival and given more information about the assignment that has been extended to me. I know that I’ll probably eat quite a bit of rice.. and wear skirts. Other than that, I am aware of little else.
My heart has wrestled this past summer. Wrestled with the fear of the unknown and the foreign, with feelings of inadequacy (which are abounding, given the fact that I am a mere 19 years of age with no degree of any kind). I have secretly struggled with doubts about God’s ability to provide $12,114 in about 5 months time. (We all say we trust Him, but when the rubber hits the road, when the time seems to run out, are we actually settled? Do we feel safe resting secure in His hands or does panic quietly seize our hearts?) In all honesty, loneliness is rumored to be an insurmountable struggle at times when people go on trips like these. They say month 6 is when it really hits, or maybe during big holidays like Christmas. You’re likely to get sick, spend a little time in the bathroom, that sorta thing. Oh, and did you know that Ebola is sweeping across Africa? I have heard all of other people’s concerns on my behalf and had waves of my own fear grip my heart and cause panic to rise and regret to surface before I have even left the country.
Emotions are deeply strung within the framework of man. It is hardwired into our nature. Most of us are utterly dependent on them! They urge us here or there, string us along in this direction or that, and can work us into an absolute frenzy. It’s quite ridiculous. Most often our emotions have no substance of reality behind them. No truth is contained in them. My feelings would’ve long ago told me to get the heck out! Do something reasonable. Go to school. Get that degree. Get married. But praise God! He is far beyond the sensible or reasonable. Oh, how He has shown me that He is beyond being confined. He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20a).” The truth of who God is has been further confirmed in my heart during this whole process. He has met me. I am $2000 above my target amount and climbing. I have been brought to tears by the generosity of family and friends who have given without hesitation. I have felt the depth of His love through them. I have been upheld in prayers prayed on my behalf that He has faithfully answered. He sorted out little details with ease, settled my heart on the daily, and realigned my feelings time and time again with the truth. He has met me and will continue to meet me. For that is who He is.