Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”
I took the hospital shift today to give Jeff a bit of a break because he did not sleep well last night. I was so happy to be there today and to snuggle these adorable children, even if we only had a few. Nothing really stands out from the shift today, other than the comfort I feel with being there. I feel confident in my role and thus have a sense of belonging. As I am looking ahead to our required departure date, I am saddened that our time is ending. Despite our best efforts to locate another opportunity elsewhere, we have thus far not found another project that provides the same sense of calling. We are in the process of arranging for a translator to come to the police station with us on Tuesday so we can ask permission to stay for another 25 days, so I am hopeful that part of God’s plan for us to finish this journey here in Brasov with these children.
Today is also Raymond’s birthday. When we were in India on the mission we were able to fill a gap in their child sponsorship program and were blessed to be named as sponsors for one of the children, Raymond. Our relationship with him is still new, but it was so fun to be able to wish him a happy birthday today via FaceTime. It was disappointing, though not unexpected, that the package we sent did not arrive in time. We were at least to financially help him have a fun birthday party with his family on the mission. He told us all about how he was going to have a movie party in the Strong House backyard and that all of the boys from the Small Boys Hostel will be there to celebrate with him. He was so excited to tell us about his party and it was obvious that he was having a good day with all his brothers.
As I reflect on this scripture today I can see how there are times that I am strong and bold, where I have no fear or dread because I am grounded in my faith that God is with me. But there are other times when I am none of those things and I know it is in these moments when I either forget that God is with me or my faith is wavering. I am reminded of the Footprints poem.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
These last 2 months have been like a roller coaster for me as it relates to these very things. There are days (or sometimes just moments) when I feel strong, bold, and fearless because I know I am standing firm in the foundation that God is with me and will never forsake me. And then there are the other days, and lately I think they have been more frequent. The days that I feel weak and scared, or bogged down with anxiety and doubt and it makes me wonder where God is or I have forgotten all about Him. Why can I be strong and faithful one day and then weak and doubtful the next? What is different? What changed?
As I ask myself these questions the only answer I come up with is that my faith is not a blind faith, but rather one grounded in understanding and experience as it relates to my relationship with God. This relationship I have with God is continuously growing and changing and this inconsistency is what my faith looks like, right or wrong. I also realize that my relationship with God is not one-sided. I can’t just ask God for strength and boldness, and do nothing but sit around and wait for Him to give it to me (I actually can, but that doesn’t mean that I should). I have to work on this relationship too. I have to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone and trust in His ways and His truths, (some may call that blind faith), but every time I do this, He is there, fulfilling His promise to me to never leave me or forsake me. This brings me comfort knowing that just because I am not always the person He wants me to be, I can still keep striving to make my relationship better with Him and He WILL always be there. So I guess in the end it is a one-sided relationship, because He is the one who will never fail.