It has been almost a year since our family of five moved into my parent’s basement which we humorously call the “bat cave.” Not that there are any bats mind you, but because no matter what time of day, it is always dark. This has proved to be wonderful for sleeping during the day but dreadful when trying to get up in the morning.
Never in our wildest dreams would we have ever believed that we would still be living here. After our return from Korea about a year ago, we moved into the basement (which is actually very nice) thinking we would be here only so long as it would take my husband to finish his Ph. D. and graduate that December. Yet, graduation came and went as well as other various holiday celebrations and still we are here.
You may wonder what we have been doing all this time. The answer to that good question is that we have been waiting. Waiting on the Lord. Knowing the Lord has called our family to serve Him on the mission field, we have waited and sought Him. Believing in His perfect time He would lead us to the place He has prepared for us.
We believe our time here now is short and getting shorter every day as we are beginning to see a glimpse of what the Lord has in store for our family. We know it is going to be good and we know that the Lord will bless us for our obedience as we have waited and trusted in Him. Yet, I’m here to tell you it has not been easy, in fact many days have just been hard. However, the lessons learned have been valuable.
1. God really does know best: Though there have been days I have wondered and even asked, “Lord, don’t you see?” I know that He has seen and that His perfect plan is bigger than my own. Had we left right after my husband graduated, we would not have had the opportunity to get to teach classes at our church or lead the college ministry. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Is. 55:9)
2.God really does care: If I could count the number of times I have wondered if God really cared about us, it would be a lot. Days of discouragement believing lies, thinking surely if He cared at all, we would not be here. Then reminded once again that NO, He does care, in fact He loves us and has good planned for us. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you I Peter 5:7”
3. God is more interested in my spiritual growth than my comfort.: This has been a tough lesson to learn because I like you like to be comfortable. I like to feel safe and secure. Yet, the Lord is more interested in growing me to be more like Jesus than He is in making life easy for me. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faithdevelops perseverance (James 1:2-3).”
4. God desires that I persevere: Along this journey, there have been so many days I have wanted to quit. I have told my husband that I am done, I can’t take it any longer. I have asked that we just quit the ministry and get a “real” job and settle down like all the normal people our age. To which my husband calmly replies, “where will we go? what will we do?” Then I am reminded of Peter the day many of the disciples walked away from Jesus because things got too hard. Jesus asked Peter, will you walk away too? “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life(John 6:68).” God has taught me to persevere under the pain, despite how difficult and to cling to Him.
5. I don’t deserve anything: Contrary to popular belief, none of us “deserve” anything. We all have this idea that if we do for God, somehow He has to do for us. Forgetting, that He has done the best for us in sending Jesus. We have the wrong mentality and perspective when all we see is the bad instead of focusing on the good. I have learned that even if the Lord leaves us in the basement forever, He has still given me more than I ever deserve, through the cross. “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).”
6. To be thankful for everything: In I Thess. 5:16, Paul instructs us to be thankful. In fact throughout the Scriptures this is a huge theme. When going through difficult times, it is hard sometimes to see the good. Easier in fact to complain. Yet, the Lord has taught me the incredible value of a thankful heart. That as Ann Voskamp says, “it is through thanksgiving, joy comes.”
7. God does fight for us: There have been days, even weeks when we have seen nothing happening. In fact times when God has seemed silent. Then out of nowhere it seems, we get some news and realize that though we have not been able to see what the Lord was doing, He has in fact been fighting for us. “The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you (Deut. 1:30).”
8. God’s timing is perfect:I do not like to wait, so this time has been hard. We live in a society that craves instant things. A time when we want fast food faster, and answers from God immediately. There are times, when we pray that God response is instant. Then there are times when He says, “Be Still and know I am God (Ps. 46:10).” These are tough times, but what I have learned is I must trust His timing rather than my own. Though I may not understand or like it, He has a purpose.
9. Nothing can stop the plans of the Lord: The Bible tells us that before the foundation of the world, God had prepared good works for us to walk in. He has reminded me again and again that these plans are not conditioned on the response of man or circumstances. That instead, these plans will be accomplished just as He said. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).”
10. God is always faithful: What a relief it has been to know at the end of a hard day, that the mercies of the Lord will be new the next day and the next. That though I may go to sleep in tears, I can wake up reminded of His goodness and faithfulness. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-24)
I am sure these are only a few of the many lessons I have learned, and that there will be more lessons to learn in the days ahead as we prepare to go to the place the Lord has prepared. As I have walked this narrow, rocky road though I believe the biggest lesson learned is to depend upon the Lord every day and to really believe Him. It is easy to say we believe this and that about the Lord, but it is through the fire that we find out how weak we are, how much we truly need the Lord and are confronted with what we really believe.
I do not know what lessons the Lord is teaching you, but I encourage you to embrace the season of life you are in. To press on in the midst of difficulty and allow the Lord to teach you, to grow you, and to equip you.
He is good! We can trust Him! He does know best! He does care!