We’ve all seen the verse — probably more times than we’ve ever really wanted to, honestly, thrown up on billboards, bumper stickers, and poorly spelled roadside signs. It seems cliche and trite, and people seem to love to quote it (and is that a hint of self-righteousness I detect? Or is it just overbearing concern?) at the worst moments of our lives, when everything seems out of whack, painful, and just plain wrong.
But, even I must admit, there is some truth to these words.
For those of you unfortunate enough to know me, you realize I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, even if I try to pretend otherwise. It’s not really an overt determination to be ornery, it just tends to happen. Luckily for me, though, God works His miracles despite my resistance.
Example A — I moved to Japan in March. I can’t honestly say as it was a joyous transition, despite the “cool factor” of moving to the Empire of the Rising Sun. Simply explained, I’m a Middle East person, so two years in the land of anime and samurai was just not appealing.
And so for six months I just was.
I existed, I did my job. But I didn’t really do much else; I didn’t even want to try to learn the language, which was a real blow for my language nerd ego. I simply had no stomach for this twisted tongue or their foreign culture and oddball ways (which include bellhops in white gloves shoving people onto subways during rush hour).
I suppose I became rather curmudgeonly, comfortable in my introverted, minimum-expectation ways. Or, as my friend observed, “I feel like you’ve become content with being unhappy. And that makes me sad.”
Coming back to Japan after two weeks home, though, I have gained a new attitude towards my life here. I sense that God has softened my heart and started to lead me down a healthier path. No, I still don’t have all the answers, and at times I still get frustrated that a would-be Arab scholar is living in the Far East. But now I’m at last open to maybe exploring those “why’s”. When I wander into a park now and see it full of Japanese people, I no longer see “foreigners”; instead I see a people trying to seek and enjoy beauty, just the same as anyone else. I see parents trying to provide a better life for their children, old grandmothers resting in the sun.
What I guess I’m trying to say is … sometimes we all are lost. Everyone faces that moment when they are surrounded by the uncomfortable unknown, when we try to pray and tell ourselves that God has a purpose, but we just can’t see it. And occasionally we fall into those spells where, pray as we might, we just can’t find hope.
And it happens. It’s just life. Hard as it can be to hold onto the spirit of this verse, though (hard as it can be to fathom God’s eventual plan), we kind of just have to.
And really — isn’t that the whole purpose of faith?
Side note: for those tough moments, that’s also why God gave us friends, laughter, and forgiveness. And lots and lots of chocolate.
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is an ensign (officer) in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling, perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.