At one time or another, every adult finds themself in a life situation that leaves them with only one option: to throw their hands in the air, turn to the heavens, and ask God the inevitable, "WHY?" Some scream it over and over. Some whisper it through tears. Yet others repeat the question for days on end. Most, if not all of us, ask knowing fully well that we will never obtain satisfactory answers. Robyn's sister will never know why her baby son ceased living at seven months in the womb. Beau's parents will never know why he had to be the junior high boy struck by an oncoming car. For those who trust the Creator, the answer is simple: for God's glory. Joseph's life, Job's life, Daniel's life--let alone Christ's life--all bear witness to this reality. But just because the answer is simple does not mean that it is easy to understand.
After the situation requiring me to leave Africa, I am asking my own set of "Why?" questions.
Why did my body freak out?
Why would God provide so many amazing people, situations, and connections just for me to leave them three short months later?
Why did He bring me all the way there, have me suffer through what is supposedly the hardest part of Peace Corps service (training), and not have me finish the two years out?
Why am I being separated from the relationships that I have worked so hard to establish?
All the answers are unclear, save one: for God's glory.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." And I believe that. I trust it, though easier said than done.
I think God's purposes are not singular in purpose. Perhaps soem of them may be. But the more I think about possible answers to my own questions, the more I realize the plurality of options. Isaiah 55:8-9 reads:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
I received news today that I will not return to Africa, I am returning home to California. After more than a month of being alarmingly ill, medically evacuated to Dakar, Senegal then to Washington, D.C. and being uncertain of cause and effect, I have come to grips with the reality that my body cannot handle the West African environment and its demands.
Though many emotions are running their course through my mind, the biggest emotion I have been wrestling with is sorrow. My heart is sad to leave Africa, though I never thought I would be confessing this out loud. Yes, the short time there was difficult. The most difficult three months I have ever experienced, illness or no illness. Mostly, I am sad to leave the many relationships that I established and were starting to take root.
The future is wide open again. For the time being, I will return to my parents in northern California and continue to recover. Options of starting service over in another region of the world are being explored. May God continue to receive all glory, praise, and honor.
Goodbye, The Gambia.
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