So my days at the mission have come to an end. Although this was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, I see (pardon the Christianese I am about to use) God's hand in it. I have learned so many things.
Having spent a lot of time recently on the worlds of skype and gchat with friends who are overseas, the idea of back stories has been prevalent in my mind. We have discussed the horrors they have seen - mostly the idea of children begging for money instead of being in schools. . .Most westerners would look at this scene and be disgusted - as they should be. The problem with making those quick judgments is that we don't know the back story. Is this situational ethics? Absolutely. It is quite easy to say - "I would never make my child go begging for money." Put yourself in a situation though, where your family is in a war torn country, with a broken-or barely there educational system and you, yourself are crippled, leaving only your oldest child left to support your other children. Then your view changes and we understand why people make these choices. It is a broad example, but still an example. Black and white is not always an option. Lines get blurry and the shades of grey appear more understandable.
So it goes with how we view the decisions our Creator makes. We can view things from our point of view and not understand them. Why would God remove me from a ministry I love? Why would he take me out of these girls' lives? Why wouldn't He bring the reconciliation between two people who have been praying fervently for it? It doesn't seem to make sense.
Then He reminds me about the idea of back stories. Situational ethics. Sometimes things are not black and white. Shades of grey and other colors of the rainbow are part of the landscape. God has the one unique view that no other person has. He not only knows the back stories, but also the FRONT stories. He knows what will happen down the road. As frustrating and confusing and upsetting as our circumstances may seem, they ARE part of His plan. The children that are obedient to Him, in prayer and seeking Him, are promised that they will be used by Him.
So what does this mean? To be USED? Does it mean we never lose something that we love? Absolutely not. In the contrary, we are called to give up the things we love into His control and understand that all of our affections are to be focused on Him. Anything else is either to be seen as a bonus (which we recieve with abundant gratitude) or a hindrance. If a child is continually praying for deepening sanctification, then those things which become a hindrance of His plan, no matter how righteous they seem, can and should be taken away.
So, He removed me from the mission. From the girls who were coming to me, asking me to pray for them, asking to hear more from His Word. It didn't make sense over a month ago when it happened, and it still doesn't make sense now.
But the following is still true. God is still, and always will be, good. God loves me. He has plans for me. He knows these plans. I am still His child and I am still desiring to be used by Him. So I trust that He knows the front story. He knows where this is going. As I walk blindly into the future, I am thankful that I still get some bonuses.
Here are my students this year. They are one of the biggest 'bonuses' in my life right now. It could not be a more ideal setting for the urban teacher. Parents that care and students wanting to learn.
And they love me - despite the faces they make when I tell them they read a word incorrectly :)
God is good. All the time.
1 Peter 2:2-3
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."