The last two years we lived in Singapore were, in a word, hard. The summer prior we’d said goodbye to several families and had to move 2 miles from where we’d been living a glorious communal existence with them. Within months of living in our new apartment, my allergies kicked in like they’d been making up for lost time. I burned through every over the counter allergy drug Mustafa Centre had to offer within about 2 months. When I finally broke down and saw an allergist, he put me on an experimental drug that was supposed to eradicate ALL my allergies. Most people saw dramatic results within 4-6 months. I quit after nine because I’d seen no change. He was baffled. I was just plain tired of it.
In the meantime, he’d put me on a prescription allergy drug as well, which I had to take immediately upon waking. If I didn’t, forget about it. By 10 am I’d be scratching my face off and unable to see straight through a fog of sneezing. I’d pop some Benadryl, point the kids toward the TV, request that they not kill each other before daddy came home, and let the Benadryl slam me into symptomless sleep. Homeschool? Barely. Getting out of the house to do fun stuff with the kids? Not much. Meals? Housework? Nope.
On top of that, Erik’s job had become more demanding, and the kids were lonely without the constant presence of friends which had been their previous existence. Yep, it was just. plain. hard.
So often during that time I would cry out to God and ask Him to change it. I raged. I questioned. I doubted His love. I pleaded with Him to just make it easier. One day, He responded by gently pointing out that what I was really asking was not to have to need Him quite so much.
Nobody signs up for “hard.” It’s not a popular class. We treat it like an elective, but it’s a core course. It’s where we learn to come to the end of ourselves and to trust in His abundant resources. We say we want to grow in Christlikeness, in character, in faith, but when it comes to the reality of what it takes to get there? I know I for one am often inclined to say, “Um . . . no thanks.”
Throughout this transition I’ve been tempted at times to say, “God, just make it easier.” I want to jump to the end where we’ve learned the lessons and grown and are all mature and glowing. (that’s what happens, right?)
But I think back on those two years in Singapore. Yes, they were hard. Were they worth it? You bet. I can’t tell you how much God met us, how He used that situation for good (not the least of which was to take us back to China, which was our dream), how He shaped me in that brokenness.
So I have hope. God meets us in the hard, not to make it easier, but to show us that He is strong enough for it if we will just own our deep need for Him and trust Him.
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