Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sent Home to Die

Way too often I hear this scenario played again and again.  This time it involves a man who has been attending our church for the past few years.  He has a brain tumor.  Doctors have decided that it's not worth operating or treating.  He has a bum leg and he's poor, therefore, they have decided, he might as well just go home and die.  He, of course, has not been told what the diagnosis is nor is he given any choice as to whether his life is worth living or not.  The indifferent doctors have made the decision for him.  He is at home...and any day now he will die.

What it's All About

Thankfully, the feelings of not wanting to be in Ukraine were quickly replaced by reasons TO BE in Ukraine.  Sure, there are many things that I don't like about life here and those things are not likely to change, but I once again have a renewed sense of purpose and belonging.  This week an acquaintance confided in me and asked me to pray for her.  I was able to encourage a wife of an alcoholic to continue her new-found courage to stop enabling him.  Through my sister's medical advice, I was able to help a woman recover from a bad ear infection that was affecting her hearing.  I am grateful for the opportunities I have to listen to others and pray for them.  If I can help others get a glimpse of how much God loves them and cares for them, then I know that this is where I am meant to be.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life is Better Somewhere Else Than Here

A few weeks ago I experienced a rare emotion.  I didn't want to be in Ukraine.  I had spent nearly two wonderful weeks outside of Ukraine in a country where life is easier and society functions.  I returned feeling overwhelmed by all the reasons NOT to live in Ukraine.  I couldn't even think of one good reason to stay.  My list of concerns included: I can't trust that the food we eat isn't contaminated, my children aren't receiving the Christian school education that we would like for them to have, I'm repeatedly pushed aside by someone wanting to get to the front of the line, being immersed in three foreign languages is too much, Matthew's personality is repressed because of his inability to communicate, where's the line between helping and developing dependency, and the list goes on.

Slowly over a week these negative emotions began to subside.  The concerns remain but I am not looking so intently at the grass on the other side of the fence (so to speak).  Today I led an English Bible study and our topic was the Israelite's complaining in the desert.  God brought them to the desert to test them and mold them into the people He wanted them to be.  If it's not complaining that He wanted to hear when they had no water, when their feet ached from walking, when their bellies grumbled, then what was it?  Maybe He wanted to hear them say, "Hey, God, I saw how you did amazing things back in Egypt, please see our needs and provide for us."  or "I'll go where you want me to go even though I don't like it."  Perhaps my response to life not always being what I want should not be one of complaining but of openness to what God has to teach me and in expectation of His incredible provision.

All this musing brought to mind a song I heard my parents listen to when I was a child - Keith Green's So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt.  If I was feeling really creative (and had a ton of time on my hands) I would change the words to apply to my situation.  But I have neither the creativity nor the time so if you want you can just listen to the original song.