This morning in church we sang the classic hymn "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus."
I haven't had much emotional energy to grieve leaving Uganda still. But this morning my heart hurt with homesickness. There is nothing like the voices of 300 plus children in Kikamba belting out the words to this great hymn. They didn't always know all the words to the first half of the lines, but they would loudly echo "nothing but the blood of Jesus!" with a bold confidence that Americans...as we say in the south: bless their hearts...just can't do. Oh, how I miss those little ones and their Sunday morning singing!
My pain was soothed slightly by the truth of the last verse:
Now by this, I'll overcome, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this, I'll reach my home, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
That's just it, isn't it? How does one overcome such homesickness when you're living in a place that is supposed to be home, but it's not, and you're missing a country that was home despite the fact that it wasn't your own home culture? Only through resting in all the promises of what Christ has given us through his blood poured out on the cross.
How do you walk through unspeakable pain? Only through the promises of Christ.
How do you find feet to walk again in a new place and a new life? Only through the promises of Christ.
How do you survive hurt and betrayal? Only through the promises of Christ.
We've been reading Isaiah at the dinner table. The great warning of chapter 7 verse 9 pierced my heart as we read, "If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all."
There is so much that is shifting sand these days. My life is not settled. I have no idea what this next year will look like. I don't know if God will choose to bring happier days or more trials yet. Anxiety tries so hard to be a constant companion of mine.
Life has fallen apart to such an extent that I have been forced to learn that there is only one sure thing: Jesus died for me. It's a small, four-word statement, with a larger-than-life reality.
This one thing that remains makes me God's precious, beloved child and so it opens the door to all of God's promises for his children. Promises like in Psalm 71 where the psalmist tells me that God will revive me again, he will bring me up again and he will comfort me again. Or Psalm 27, where the Psalmist says that we will look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
People have told me that I've been so strong in this trial. But I so much want everyone to know that it's not me that's been strong. I feel the very opposite of that. I feel crushed, hurt and am often a hot mess of tears. Any strength that might be seen is simply the strength of God that has kept my faith firm. It is God who has made me know and remain sure that Christ died for me. And through that, he has opened so many doors of hope: a hope that the sun will shine again one day, a hope that God will show me his goodness, a hope that God will use this pain for my good,
a hope that will overcome, a hope that will lead me home... not to Milledgeville or Uganda, but one day to my real home, where there will be no more tears and heartache.