It’s hard to believe a week has gone by already. I swear we’re skipping days. It simultaneously feels like I’ve lived here for years and just arrived a week ago. Each week has been packed with a year of knowledge and a month of experiences. I’ve had conversations with people from maybe nine different countries, prayed for two hours straight, shopped by myself, and tried four different kinds of teas (and a sip of some way-too-strong Ethiopian coffee. I’m not a coffee guy. That was a bad idea.)
Each day is a new opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to grow, to love Christ more, to embrace fellowship with people of all stripes. It’s also been an opportunity to examine myself and realize just how deeply sinful and broken I am. I’m prideful, doubting, arrogant, worrying, apathetic. I’ve uncovered sins I’m struggling with that I didn’t even realize before. Identifying these things and their causes has really helped me grow. I’ve got a long way to go (I’ll be doing that the rest of my life), but noticing and working on these things has helped me begin to realize just how great God’s grace is.
Not that I didn’t think it was great before. But there’s a difference between someone offering you a helping hand and carrying your paralyzed body out of the fire. I was paralyzed. Yet the King of the Universe came down to rescue me? He wants me? That’s a greater truth than my mind can comprehend. Here I lay, broken and completely worthy of rejection. But He took my punishment. He suffers with me.
“But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.” – Isaiah 43:1-3 ESV
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that since I’ve arrived in Georgia. The idea that God would be with me through all that is crazy to me. How . . . merciful.