This time next week…I’m imagining it. This time next week I imagine the boys in their school uniforms not quite ready to start their first day in a new country and a new home and a new school. I imagine holding back a flood of tears while reminding them of what God did to bring us here and that He loves us and promises to be with us wherever we go. I imagine myself then having a total breakdown once they are bravely seated in their new classrooms. I imagine standing in the middle of the unimaginable floor of our new Haiti house strewn with the contents we managed to reduce our former lives to in a 12 bags. I imagine myself standing in my fishbowl house trying to make sense of all the spacebags and feeling like I’ve forgotten something of vital importance while packing too much toothpaste. I imagine the new faces I’ve waited to meet for many months now. I imagine the faces of old friends we look forward to embracing and find much comfort in that thought. I imagine my husband sleep deprived from Turkey jetlag and the effort of moving our family to Haiti the day after his return. I imagine that he will do just fine and that everyone will love him simply because Eric Ream is the best. I imagine the harsh sights and smells of my beloved Haiti. I imagine what our boys reactions could be to these things, these people. I imagine holding my girls again after 6 months. I imagine them meeting their brothers for the first time. I imagine a full life. Yet there are so many blank spots in my imaginings. So many unanswered questions of what to expect on so many levels. So many emotions. So much anticipation. So much fear of the unknown. I imagine some thinking and sometimes voicing that we won’t make it. I don’t have to imagine feeling stupid for embracing this life while not fully knowing what to expect or exactly how we will make it. It does seem stupid…and maybe it is. But then I imagine Jesus. I imagine him saying once again, “not by sight my child”. I imagine the life He lived and the people that thought He was stupid too. I dwell on our inadequacies, our past failures, our sinful natures. I remember that He is more than adequate, that His Word will not fail, and that He is perfect. I remember that He has answered enough questions, opened wide all the doors, and that He asks us to trust Him. I remember that even if we were sitting in our nice air conditioned home in the States, that we would still have to trust Him for our next meal. But then I retreat into, “BUT Lord, in the States we can just go out and find a job if we get desperate. I can wait tables if need be. And even in the worst case scenario there are things like government housing and foodstamps that don’t exist in Haiti! How will we survive Lord? I know you have opened all the doors, but You haven’t sent us all the support we need! I know You want us to do this thing, but could you just give us one more sign so that we can be assured that we will be able to feed our family in Haiti? We are trusting You, but we don’t want to feel so stupid in this living by faith and not by sight stuff. So this is the last week. Last chance to prove Your faithfulness and that this is Your will for us before we go. I don’t want to ask for a sign…and I feel You saying, “oh you of little faith”…but I get questions Lord. I have questions Lord. And I don’t see. And I don’t know how all of this is going to work out. And we are hurting. And a sign that You will meet our needs would sure make me feel a little less stupid right now!”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Yesterday the boys and I didn’t go to church. We were drained from all the packing, moving from house to house, the many goodbyes, and thoughts of all that will fill this week and the weeks to come. We spent time talking about the fact that this is our last week before we go and about the things we are looking forward to when we get to Haiti…being with our girls was top of the list (and the boys do not understand why we cannot see them the second we step off the plane)! We prayed for God to provide the things we still need, for mommy to get everything packed, for daddy to get back safely from Turkey, for dear friends going through trials, and for God to give us wisdom and encouragement from the Word we were about to read. He did. We read Mark 8:1-21. And there was my sign! Deep sigh.
“Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him (after Jesus had just produced many signs and wonders and yet another sign would not have produced more faith in Him on their part). But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat (interesting to read this as I stress over the fact that our allotted bags are full and I’ve yet to pack our food supply). Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod“. And they reasoned among themselves saying, “It is because we have no bread.” But Jesus being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And you you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve”. Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it that you do not understand?” (from verses 11-21)
Ok Lord, I get it. I’m too tempted to forget how many times you have multiplied our few loaves and fish. Please help us to be fully dependent upon You and not our own self sufficiency. Help us to live fully by faith and not by sight. I’m sorry if You have “sighed deeply” on my behalf. You are faithful to us and true to Your promises. We belive You. We trust You. Help us not to be dissapointed when You don’t provide in the way we hoped. This scene from the Chronicles of Narnia keeps floating through my mind…Lucy asks Aslan, “Why didn’t you come roaring in and save us like last time? Aslan replies, “Things never happen the same way twice dear one.” Even when Jesus performed the same miracle with the loaves and the fish He didn’t do it in the same way. Perhaps this is what You are doing for us. It is different than what we hoped. But our hope remains in You…and we are thankful that “Your ways are not our ways”.