I have to be honest—When my alarm went off at 5:00am Friday morning, my first thought was, “Lord, I am gonna need you to get me through the day.” It had already been a long week. I was exhausted and I barely had the energy or willpower to roll out of bed. I had no idea how I was going to last for another 16 hours. But I knew that lying there any longer wouldn’t help either, so I talked myself out of bed.
No surprise, I didn’t have the energy to good breakfast either. And quarrelling with the little charcoal stove was not on my to-do list for the day. I slathered a piece of dry bread with some pb & j and walked my three miles to school.
On Fridays, I am responsible for teaching the student chapel before lunch. Then, at the end of the school day I take a handful of my kiddos to Deaf church for Bible study. As I pondered the day ahead, I realized that it was 7:12am and already I was looking for a pace to sit…how on earth was I going to make it?
Apparently, I had forgotten that my strength is not dependent on the quality of sleep I got (or didn’t get) the night before. My strength is in Him—and unlike me, He does not grow weary. Little did I know, He was about to give me a little lesson on that verse…
After finishing the science lesson with my 4th graders, I began preparing for the chapel service. For most of the morning I had been dreading it, but at some point, late in the morning, I began feeling a sense of excitement. A subtle assurance that it was going to be okay.
Turns out, it was not okay—it was fabulous!
The memory verse of the week had been Ephesians 6:11 and I began teaching the students about the importance of wearing the armor of God. I had prepared a couple of demonstrations and was very happy to see how attentive my young students were. As always, I concluded the lesson and asked if there were any questions. Initially, my babies sat silent. No one ever wants to be the first to raise their hand. But scripture says that where 2 or more are gathered, God is in their midst. And I know for sure that He was there in that classroom.
Soon, hands began to rise and questions started floating my way…and before long I had questions and comments coming from all corners of the room:
“The helmet protects our head…what about our eyes?”
“Why does the Bible tell us to wear armor? I thought God doesn’t like fighting…”
“Is Moses in heaven?”
I could see that God was really speaking to their hearts and I smiled as I gazed around the room. Nearly every student had ‘concentration’ stamped across their foreheads. Gears were turning and the questions continued:
“If Satan asks for forgiveness, will God let him into heaven?”
“How many times will God forgive me when I sin?”
“Is it okay for Christians to eat pork?”
“What is the book of life?”
“God made the world…but who made God?”
For nearly two hours we sat in that classroom and discussed and pondered the Word of God. I am confident that in a perfect world, we could have continued our conversation until the sun went down. But, unfortunately, this place isn’t perfect; time is limited…and my kids had to eat lunch. Nonetheless, I promised them that we could resume the conversation later.
As I prepared for bed later that night, my heart was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for God. My mind was wandering in a dozen different directions, replaying the events of the day and thanking God for the work He is doing deep within each of my babies.
Then it suddenly dawned on me—it was almost midnight and I was wide awake! Nearly 17 hours before, my body could barely muster enough energy to keep me standing upright. And there I was, lying in bed, bouncing with energy!
“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
I had read that verse so many times before. I had heard it quoted and I had even done so myself…but on Friday night that verse finally became real to me.
This life in Uganda is not easy—nearly every day I find myself standing at the foot of a mountain and God is asking me to climb. I look around, see only my utter weakness and physical fatigue and I quickly become busy looking for alternative routes and shortcuts. For years I had read and believed the scriptures that said my strength is in Him…and it wasn’t until Friday that I truly understood what God had been saying to me. He really IS my strength—literally, figuratively, spiritually. He hasn’t called me to this place so that I can do this and that…He has called me here so that HE can do it.
What a peaceful realization.