I have to confess. Jet lag is at full force within my body. I thought I would wait until the kids were all in bed to do any writing tonight, but I can not guarantee that anything will make sense. My eyes are already crossed.
The last two blogs have been rather long, or that could be my normal writing length, but I think today’s blog may be a bit more concise.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,
though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food,
though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the
stalls, 18 Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and
makes me walk on my high places.”
One of the things that I love most about Shannon is the way she just gets me. There are few people in life who just get me and require little explanation behind what I say and do. (shout out to Kala America) Another thing I love about Shannon is her conversation. There were days that I am positive we were actually speaking for at least 10 hours out of that day. Sometimes we talked for hours about food; the right way to cook dishes, Pioneer Woman’s latest recipe, the newest food blog we had followed, which cake were we baking next and for which event…… Sometimes we talked for hours about nothing, because I can come up with some pretty unimportant things to laugh and joke about. Other times we had long, deep, meaningful conversations about Jesus. Many of them probably had to do with how un-Jesus-like I can be. Many had to do with what we wished the Italians could know and how we thought we might could have them come to know. Much of our conversation just had to do with us though.
Today as we walked through the hilly, cobblestone streets of medieval Arezzo, we had deep conversation about us and Jesus. I need deep conversation about me and Jesus. I often have deep conversation with myself about me and Jesus, but I really need deep conversation with other people about me and Jesus. As we walked and talked (in mixed language by the way) our conversation revolved around this Scripture. (at least enough of it did for me to write about it) I don’t think either one of us walked away with any real answers. Except for the only answer any of us ever really need. Jesus.
This is no secret to anyone on this side of the world; and to those who are reading across the ocean, it may not be a secret to you either. I don’t often like to hide what I feel. My two years in Naples were hard. I mean REALLY hard. So much of it was REALLY good; but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. There were days that I woke up and could think of nothing better than to be back in America. Then I would spend time with God, and walk away from that time saying “Yet I will exult in the Lord.” I knew, without a doubt, that Naples was exactly where God had me. I did not know why, we did not see a ton of fruit, and much of it was just draining. But I knew.
My years back in America have been similar. I feel as if I stay in a state of nothing and wondering, while at the same time being convinced that I am where He has me. I understand much of my wondering; and I absolutely do NOT understand much of it. “Yet I will exult in the Lord.”
Today Shannon and I were in the same boat. To know that you are exactly where God has you, yet understand none of it is a hard place to be. It is such an easy place to allow ourselves to not be content. At the same time, being in that place draws me ever closer to Jesus. For some people, when life is good, it is easy to praise God for all the good. Praising God in the midst of horrible times in life is where we really meet God though.
Don’t misread that. God chooses to bless some people with “happy” earthly lives and they joyously praise His name for that; as they should. Whatever God ordains is good. I am not blasting good, happy lives. I AM acknowledging that sometimes life gets really hard, and if, in the hardest of hard, our first instinct is to turn to Jesus, I think we gain a deeper knowledge and reality of Him.
For some, God has ordained good lives. Believer, exult in the Lord. For some, God has ordained a path that involves more pain and hardship. Believer, exult in the Lord. For the Lord is the end goal. The Lord is the prize. This earth is fleeting and all that is in it. Don’t settle for earth. Long for eternity. In your good days, rejoice and praise His name. In your bad days, face the reality and rejoice even more. For perhaps it is in the bad times that we seek harder, and deeper, and longer, and therefore view Him higher, and greater, and wider. There, we find more to rejoice in.
I may never see things that I desire on this earth. Even there I must be content.
The Lord God is my strength. He makes me walk on high places.