I want to share tough reality that has been weighing on me lately. Maybe others can relate. A thought occurred to me as I walked through the crowded street market with two muslim background believers. Two of my closet friends in North Africa. We were hurrying around, buying things for a meal we would be preparing to share with the church a few hours later.
We dodged men pushing huge carts of everything from fruits to plastic wares. We avoided the women huddling around a man selling the “newest fashion”. We ignored the crude calls of bored men with nothing better to do than harass undeserving women in the street. We were just happy to be together. Together serving the Lord. We were excited to be doing our part in making our time together special, more intimate. I was content picturing our friends and my family all sharing a meal together. I smiled thinking of my little daughters helping carry out trays of cookies and maybe even the tea cups if one of the ladies was feeling particularly brave.
Then a thought hit me like a strong wind causing a door to slam shut. It hurt. A reality that I really hated to really think about. I thought about if this were my last day in this country. If I never saw this busy market again, or if I never walked past the cafes and patisseries with their wonderful smells. What if the government kicked us out? What if something happened and there was a political uproar similar to events in other muslim countries? Or even what if my husband told me God was leading us elsewhere?
The truth is I would be fine. Sure I would miss my sweet friends terribly. We would cry tears of loss, of course. However the reality is I have an entire other life. A life in a land far away. I have a family and many friends who know nothing of the details of my life in North Africa. Our relationships go on without really much connection to life outside of the Untied States. Sure our friends and family love to hear reports and see pictures but the two lives are mostly separate. Painfully separate at times.
The reason why this hurts in a truly unexplainable way is that I thought about this at a moment when I was with my friends. My friends who have no other believers in their families. My friends who pour theirs hearts out to me. The thought that this is “it” for them is just so heavy for me. I have to admit I struggle often with loneliness. I long for my other life. The life full of places to go and people to see, big events to help plan and be involved in, church services where I get to fellowship with a seemingly uncountable amount of believers.
Living in a muslim country does make for a different church life and it surely has its struggles. I believe God allowed me to feel this heavy sadness when I thought of my friends reality not so that I would feel sorry for them but to appreciate what I do have and motivate me to have faith that one day… they, too, may know something of this “other life”!! For me this is a journey out of loneliness through faith. God’s plan is beyond my understanding and I know that in these times of difficult lonely waiting I can have great JOY in just being obedient and trusting!
|That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 1:17