I continue to see this verse and it has been one to encourage me during my season here in Guatemala. It is easy to hide. To hide from the states and all that is going on there. To hide from the world and the changes that are continual here. To get into a routine here and be invisible to many. And so the reminder that we are seen by God, even through the trials is so very real.
Life here is hard. It is automatically harder because you are drawn away from your natural support base. You are in a land where you will forever live as a foreigner. It does not matter how many years you are here, how many sacrifices you make or how many times you help someone. The reminder that you are a foreigner is daily.
In choosing to live here, I am choosing to be separated from my family and friends. And this automatically gives me a sense of lonliness and isolation. It is not like moving to a new town where the first few months are hard, but after that you find the neighbors that you click with, you reestablish friend groups, and you move on. No. This is different. You will never find a church where you feel at home. You will never be able to completely trust a neighbor. There will forever be cultural differences.
And although I am eternally grateful for the other Americans that are here – because we can sit down at a table and speak the same language and the same culture…. There are still differences. I love how God hand chose each family and person that is here. It shows his sense of humor. And when we talk about whether we would be friends if we lived in the states – the truth is that most of the people I live with would not be in my circle of community. But we are forced to live together and build community. There is underlying support because we are all in this together. We all have the same longings.
And so… when I am reminded that my God is the God that sees me, I am reminded that no matter the degree of isolation or loneliness that comes with living here and being single. No matter the degree of frustration that this is not my culture and this is not my home. No matter how many times I am misunderstood or have unmet expectations… God sees me right where I am and is willing to meet me there. And that alone is comfort. May we each be reminded of that truth – God sees us and instills hope in us right where we are.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13