During this uncertain time, there is still much to find hope in. We spoke to Karen from Australia about how she is dealing with the disappointment of having her Serve Asia short-term mission trip to Japan cancelled.
What gives you hope right now?
The fact that God is sovereign, that he is in control and none of this has caught him off guard. He ordained this since the beginning of time and nothing that is happening right now is operating outside of his will. He is using this for my good and his glory, as he promised he would.
What blessings have you experienced in this time of waiting?
During this time of waiting God has given me the eyes to see that this season is not forever. I am not where I was hoping to be or doing what I was hoping to do, but I am where I am meant to be at this time. I think God has blessed me by enabling me to see and to enjoy the simple things I have here and now, which I won’t have when I do go to Japan. I have had lots of opportunities to spend time with my family and friends, eating Australian food, being surrounded by familiar things that bring me comfort. This time has also allowed me the chance to read some sound theological books and to think deeply about the attributes of God. I’ve also had the time to read books about Japanese culture that have long been on my ‘to-read’ list, as well as having undivided attention to study the language. This time of waiting is a blessing in itself gifted by the hand of God.
How have you managed to adjust your expectations of this year?
I learnt some time ago to hold all things loosely…God’s plans and his timeline has never seemed to align with my own, so although I was disappointed that things weren’t going according to my own plan, I’m neither surprised nor discouraged. But it comes back to knowing him and his nature, that he is sovereign, he has a plan and he is working it for my good and his glory. He knows better than me and I trust that whatever he chooses will be better than my best.
How has God ministered to you during this time of uncertainty? What encouragements have you been reading about in the Bible? What has God been teaching you in this time?
God is unsearchable (Ps 145:3)…his ways are inscrutable (Rom 11:33)… There is no searching of his understanding (Is 40:28). He is infinite in knowledge and wisdom… who can know the mind of God or be his counsellor? (Romans 11:34). There is so much of God that I don’t understand, there is so much to him that my “plumb-line cannot sound his depths and my eagle eye cannot see his heights” (Charles Spurgeon). But every moment of every day is an opportunity to know more of him, a venture that will never be exhausted. Knowing him and having my soul satisfied in him is my greatest goal this day, and every day, no matter where I am.
What does glorifying God look like for you in this season?
God is glorified in us when we are satisfied in him (regardless of the season). But what does that look like in this particular season? At present, I have more free time than I usually have so glorifying God, in this season, looks like choosing the option that would draw me deeper into him, finding my satisfaction there rather than choosing the distractions of this world. It’s choosing to read God’s word, rather than reading the latest news, it’s choosing to pray rather than scrolling social media, it’s choosing to just sit and spend time in solitude with him rather than filling the silence with the latest Youtube video, it’s making the determined choice to know more of him and to fight for satisfaction in him.
How has your church been supporting you in lockdown?
Our church has stayed connected (as most have) through streaming the Sunday service online and through the week with Zoom Bible studies. We have continued to pray for one another, send encouraging verses and offer support to each other. Because I am single, I also have more opportunities in the current social distancing restrictions to meet others, particularly single women, and inspire each other through God’s word in relation to real life.
What would you say to other people in the same situation?
Use this time well…. Don’t resent it but embrace it, knowing that everything that is happening (or not happening) has passed through the hands of our loving Father. Whether the moments gifted you are mundane or marvellous, they’re an opportunity to know more of him. Seek him.
Serve Asia Worker