Two years ago, I was in India. Two years ago, at this moment, I was beginning to feel cool because the sun had put on its long, purple nightgown and had laid down to rest. I was watching the lizard scuttle out of the bucket I used to bathe. I was watching my hair dry in the heat of evening and the whir of the ceiling fan. I was putting on my long, cotton nightgown, like the sun, and slipping into the cot I shared with a nest of fire ants. I was falling asleep praying for the wisdom to teach deaf and disabled orphans sign language. I was learning a weary kind of strength.
Today, at this moment, I have finished breakfast late. I have fluffed white pillows on a bed without fire ants and washed in a bathroom without lizards. I make a list of this ministries I need to contact, the jobs I need to apply for, and pray for the wisdom to continue to help deaf and disabled orphans in India. I am still learning a weary kind of strength.
Because, in the two years in between I have known much suffering and much comfort; I have come to the end of myself over and over again; I have known intense illness and intense injury, and the empty, gut-wrench of mourning again and again – as well as the companionship and fellowship that takes you by the hand and walks with you through those valleys; I have seen the vows of beautiful new marriages and the sweet cries of newborns and the first blooms of spring; and I have looked up from the depths of brokenness and seen glory.
And I am a witness that glory is heavy and that the path He lays before us is often fraught with pain, suffering, and deep sadness. And I am a witness that when we do not run from our valleys, but enter into them by God’s grace and walk through them, we learn a love and peace, a joy and comfort, we meet ourselves and God and others in a deeper, truer way, a way we never could have without these God permitted trials, without the valley of the shadow of death.
I will be honest with you: I am weary. I am aching. I am filled with both eagerness and trepidation at my rootlessness. And, above all, I am tired of bracing for impact. But I rejoice in the reality that God is fierce and mighty, abounding in compassion and mercy. I rejoice that He is leading, that He is planting me in Himself and binding me together with people who are rooting themselves in Him too, people who help me grow as I help them grow. I rejoice that He is coming, that He will not rest till every knee has bowed and every tongue confessed. I rejoice that the Spirit of God is moving and at work as much in the bliss of wedding vows as He is in the death of His saints. I rejoice in You, Yehovah Elohim, for You are all we have.