As I'm preparing for international service in Hungary, I have spent the last two weeks at Pre-Field Orientation regarding Third-Culture Kids in Houghton, New York. This time has been significant as we've wrestled with the issues of Negative Attribution Theory (seeing things that are different as wrong), culture stress and long stages of transition, the needs of third-culture kids, our own personalities, moral purity in difficult places, and issues of faith.
While each session has been fascinating and helpful, this last topic has been pressed upon me by the Holy Spirit as I've been seeing obstacles or trials from a human point of view. I didn't even realize how little I was trusting in God with things I thought were human error. I haven't been heeding my own advice: seize eternity! View life from an eternal perspective, for that is the one that will last. God has done great things in the past and will continue to work out difficult situations; I must simply have faith in times of trial.
Nothing is outside the power of God. No one can change His best plans. Even the challenging moments--especially the challenging moments--are opportunities to see the power and faithfulness of God. He uses moments of suffering to produce perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character, hope. "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:5
And so the lessons from PFO that I have absorbed so far are focused on the Heavenly Father who is faithful to make the life to which he has called me work out and the trials I face become benefits. How thankful am I to be given such a gift: a front row seat to the marvelous works of God, a life outside my own comfort and control, a journey from which I hope never to stray.
Here are some of the lyrics from a song by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker called "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" that seems fitting.
Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow though I'm worn.
May this journey bring a blessing;
May I rise on wings of faith.
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.