It’s been almost exactly 6 years since I got back from my first trip around the world. To be honest I feel out of touch with myself in a lot of ways.
I am in the third year of my Physician Assistant program which means I am on my rotational year. Every month since May I’ve been at a different clinic or hospital learning different specialties of medicine. And even as I take a deep breath with the start of Christmas break, my heart still feels like it’s trying to keep up with my body. I had hoped to blog more, but that’s been a failure. My time with Jesus has been the periods of silence I could find while driving early in the morning to wherever I was going to be in surgery or clinic for the day. I’ve been trying to pack in time with friends and family while trying to study enough to pass the test at the end of each rotation. I’ve been trying to impress preceptors, stay engaged in people’s lives, and keep up to date on the newest movies. I feel unsure of how I’m doing at life, wondering if I am doing ok at it. To be honest it’s a lot easier to feel like a good Christian traveling the world and doing mission work. All of that made me feel safe, like I’d done enough to make God pleased with me.
But I know this feeling of safety is a lie. I don’t think God’s primary goal is to make us safe. The gospel says he loves us unconditionally, not when we’ve done enough to earn his approval. I looked back at my blogs from 6 years ago. I wrote these words:
“I became part of a community that lived and declared “that just making it to Heaven is not our goal” and “knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing him is meaningless.”
“He carried me through my anger, fears, malaria, and confusion. He carried me through the chaos of 12 flights, 13 countries, numerous bus rides, train rides, van rides, motorcycle trips, and miles of walking. He met me in the night and in the day. He spoke to me through songs, people, and sermons. He revealed pain in my heart and showed me areas of gifting I had no idea I possessed.”
Through it all I learned to love, at least a little better, God and the people around me.
But as I looked back on this time I didn’t feel safe. I was scared and confused. I didn’t know how it would all work out.
And this is good news for me because I find myself in a similar place right now, but with different circumstances. These new circumstances hit close to my heart, affecting those I know best in my life. I feel nervous and confused. (Sorry to be vague about this, but the story isn’t mine to tell)
I can’t help but hear the words of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia.
Safe. He’s not safe. But he is good.
And that’s all I can cling to sometimes. All I can cling to in confusion and darkness is that even though I don’t feel completely safe, even though I feel confused, even though I feel at times overwhelmed by the darkness, God is good.
Looking back on how my life has worked out I can see God’s goodness in the relationships I’ve made, the places I’ve traveled, and the experiences I’ve had. But in the current moment I cannot see his goodness. I cannot tell you with the same passion that God is good. Instead the phrase “God is good” leaks out of my lips more like a question than a statement. It’s accompanied by a fearful heart. So to all of you who walk through life right now with a fearful heart, confused by life’s circumstances, and unsure of God’s goodness hear this:
I walk with you.
One of my good friends texted this quote to me and the truth of it sinks deep into my soul and stokes the fire of hope.
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
As we walk in darkness may love continue to grow greater in us.