One of my absolute favorite books is The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. In one particular part, Shasta, the “unlucky boy,” as he thinks of himself, finally encounters the Lion who is revealed to be the one who was with him through all the hard and unexpected paths of his life, sovereignly guiding him to where he belonged.
Like Shasta’s childhood began in Calormen, our story started in India. Fifteen years ago, my husband and I left India, married just two years. I was 21 and though I was sad about leaving my family, I was very naive about what it really meant to move seven seas away. It finally hit home after a week of living in Kentucky with my sister’s family and experiencing extreme cold for the first time. I was huddled beneath blankets and fully expected the government to declare a state of emergency! Meanwhile, my husband found a job in Delaware which led us to this area. The cold weather was not the only thing that was depressing to me; the trees looking bare was the worst. I thought the leaves would never come back!
Despite my culture shock, God started to do one miracle after the other; in fact, too many to mention. Here’s a funny one: We had decided to start our church-hunting process with a church that was only one minute away from our new home. But that first Sunday drive ended up being 45 minutes of total frustration! It ended up that God, in His rich, sovereign providence, led us to another church where we learned to take important baby steps in this new chapter of our lives. He reminded us that he was leading us, and homesickness slowly tapered off.
Becoming a mother at 20 was one the best gifts God gave me. My precious little one gave me so much joy. Yet, I felt inadequate, not knowing how to do “mothering” in a new culture. I looked to my parents and others around me as examples of what to do. Then, a good friend helped me see that we are first Christians, then Indian, American or any particular nationality and that we abide by a Christian culture, and not just according to the cultures that we live in. Reading through Exodus and Deuteronomy, I found God constantly asking the people of Israel not to be like the nations surrounding them, but to be holy, set apart from the other nations around them and following the beautiful way that magnifies God.
As time passed, God gave us three more children, all in amazing and miraculous ways. Not having family to help with “post baby drama” was always challenging. I wish my children had grandparents homes’ to visit and family to vacation with. I missed my mother’s help and my father’s counsel. But in all our wishes that remain unfulfilled, God, in his sovereignty, reminds us to be content. He appointed friends to help me and a husband to love me. He knew I needed to grow, learn, and most of all, find Jesus as all sufficient.
In 2011, God shook our nest once more and moved us to Covenant Fellowship Church. There are so many beautiful miracles that God did in our move. We didn’t know what we needed, but God did, and we can’t imagine life differently now!
So, let’s see, is God present in our chaos and confusion? Is He at every intersection of our lives pointing to the right turn to make? Is He still sovereign and good when the promises that He gives look dim and the pressures of life feel unbearable? Is His will still good when everything familiar is stripped away to reveal his deeper friendship and closeness? You probably have situations in your life that cause you to ask similar questions. The answer to each of these questions remains the same: Yes! God is at work.
I am so thankful that God is both sovereign and good, and that there is divine purpose in what seems chaotic and confusing! Psalm 145:17 says, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” I didn’t ask for a relocation, but God used it to bless me immeasurably.
Nowhere in the Bible do we read only joy-filled and pleasant stories. Each one is a real-life story marked with struggles and victories on the way. But in them, we can all sing, “Never once did we ever walk alone, carried by His constant grace, held within his perfect peace.”
Shasta, the poor boy who discovers he is actually Prince Cor of Archenland, reminds me of how God uses every situation to accomplish His purposes. His loving hand is seen in every season of our lives, whether we are teenagers or have gray hare crowning our heads. He is walking beside us and fulfilling His promises to us. So we keep pressing forward, fellow sojourners. This is not our home. We excitedly anticipate what’s next as we wait patiently for our Savior and King, our Beloved One! And remember, spring brings new leaves!