Hmhmm where do I start?
Okay, I will start with being honest. This first week in my wilderness experience feels like it is one of worst weeks of my life. I can’t even tell you why but after looking for every avenue possible for me to get back to America, I have become content with knowing that I am not going anywhere. Not because I said so, not because my parents said so, and not even because my study abroad program director said so… but because God said so.
I was mad at God every day of my first week here. I knew it was wrong but I knew He was the reason I am here and the reason why I ought to remain here. And to make matters worse, frustrating events would happen to make me even more angry. It was almost like Satan was sitting back, having a good laugh while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. After spending days late for each of my classes because I got lost in the middle of Europe, buying a pair of expensive gloves to keep my hands warm then losing them within 24 hours, trying to fill up on bread and water at dinner, getting shin splints from all of the walking we have been doing, and feeling unexplainable spiritual oppression…. I told God that I quit.
I wanted to quit writing on the blog, I wanted to end this wilderness experience, and I even possibly wanted to go back to my old way of doing things. I knew all of what I was saying was crazy but I was so mad that I couldn’t help but say it and hoping to mean it. I didn’t mean it but I did want my way. I began to think about Job and the way he talked to God about his conditions. I remember the first time I read Job and thought about how rude he was to God but guess what, I was being just as rude this week. Then I questioned, “Wait…God called Job His servant in Job 1:8 even when He knew how Job would talk to Him?” I am certainly no Job but if Job had his little, God just end things now moment then maybe it wasn’t so odd that I was finding myself at that same place. Interestingly enough, the week leading up to me leaving for Europe God led me to read Job. I always love when God tells Job about himself starting with, Job 38:1 (NIV) “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” I was praying that God would tell me off before I really thought or said something that I would truly regret. That is, if I haven’t already.
Lord knows regardless of how foolish I act I certainly would never want to lose my relationship with my Father, my Groom , my Everything. I was walking home the other day and this is what I told God: I hate being here. I hate getting lost. I hate being cold. I hate how boring my classes are. I hate having to walk everywhere. I hate experiencing jet lag. I hate majority of the food. I hate when people try talking to me when I just want to be alone. And I hate…. then I stopped with the next sentence. I can’t even remember what I was going to say next but what I did realize was that God didn’t respond at all. You know when you are having a conversation with someone and you say something then there is an awkward silence and then you wonder if you said the wrong thing? Yea, it was one of those and it humbled me. I immediately apologized and started again with: Thank you God for perfect health. Thank you God for allowing me to be in Europe. Thank you God for a sound mind. Thank you God for financial stability. Thank you God for legs to be able to walk. Thank you God for a coat, thermals, and boots to keep me warm from the cold. Thank you God for friends who wish to know me better. Thank you God for giving me a safe place to sleep. Thank you God for food and a digestive track that allows me to eat anything I wish. Thank you God for letting me know that man does not live on bread alone (Luke 4:4). And thank you God for giving me salvation. Whew! After that I began to feel more like myself. God still remained quiet but at least my last statements didn’t sound like I was being a selfish, spoiled, and foolish brat.
I was telling God to use me, cleanse me, and mold me so that I may fulfill the plan He has for me but in my heart I was saying, “No God I don’t want to. That isn’t what I want. I don’t think I can do that. Can I leave now? Yea, I know I said I was ready but I don’t think I can ever be ready for this. Yes, of course I love you but can I do Your will somewhere else?”
I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning wondering what my issue was. Like what is my problem!? I already told my dad that I want to leave and all he could offer me was encouragement. My selfish power card of getting what I want and when I want it has officially been revoked. Once I faced reality the only thing I could do was cry out to the Lord for answers. I knew He wanted me to write about what I am experiencing right now but I didn’t know where to begin until He put on my heart:
Luke 14:25-30(NIV): The Cost of Being a Disciple “25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
Hmhmm… Maybe I haven’t counted the cost of being a disciple, or at least counted accurately.
So I am sitting here wondering if my perspective is so wrong because I received all of the victories that come from being a disciple and skimmed over the print that mentions trials and tribulations. I am unsure if this is the primary issue but I know it is certainly one of them. Pick up your cross daily it says! I can’t get through today with the faith, ambition, and energy from yesterday! I pray for strength to carry my cross here and everywhere else because seriously…I would be in big trouble if I left my cross at home.
Luke 14:31-32(NIV) “31 Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.”
The only thing I can say is, “I am sorry God.” Sorry God for being selfish. Sorry God for thinking my way is better than Yours. Sorry God for questioning Your wisdom. Sorry God for tossing my faith for comfort. Sorry God for basically saying, “Yea, I was happy that you saved me but now since I am having to deal with unfavorable circumstances I am ready to trade that for the sinful life I once lived. The life of getting everything I wanted including drinking ,smoking, and freakin’ my way to Hell.” That stuff was deadly but at the time I wanted it.
For anyone who finds this article as a surprise, you shouldn’t. We are only human and we each find our way and yes, there will be mistakes along the way. I am not proud or even satisfied about the way I have been acting towards God but I have prayed and asked for help, even in the midst of plotting ways to get back to Georgia. I have to start somewhere and although I currently wish I was home, I pray more, read the Bible more, and try to meditate on the Lord more. There has to be a breakthrough because I am a firm believer that once I step out of the hedge of protection the blood of Jesus provides for me, Satan will be waiting to knock my head off. Losing my salvation and going to Hell is never worth it. Even as I write this article I am finding myself singing songs of praise as if I were back home. Sometimes Satan will try to keep us quiet so that his voice becomes louder than the voice of God.
Nope! Not happening here. I will fight as a frontline warrior of God. Fasting, praying, and reading the Word will be my medicine when I feel spiritually sick and emotionally furious. Just the other day God was showing me how what He is doing on the inside of my cup is pouring outward and I refuse to go backwards. I want to encourage anyone who may be reading this. Count the cost of being a disciple and although things may appear to be difficult, know that counting the cost (even if you have to double-check and recheck 5 times more),and eternal salvation is worth it. All of this turmoil during the first week is only confirmation of the mighty works God has planned! I can either remain childish and say, “I Quit” or say, “God this is difficult but I know You will strengthen and direct me with each step.” This is certainly work but He never said His path was easy. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and prepare for war.