Hobbits and Hard Days


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This trip has been absolutely wonderful in ways that I never could have imagined! I’ve been enjoying this country and the students immensely.

But I’ll be honest: yesterday I hit a bit of a rough patch. It wasn’t anything specific. It was just one of those days when you feel something is wrong, and you have to find a way to ride out the storm.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:13-14

These verses came to mind as I was scrambling to pull myself together after lunch yesterday to go back to class, and it reminded me how important it is that we take everything to God. Sing praises. Take your trouble and sickness to Him in prayer.

We have definitely had our share of roadblocks, mishaps, and discouragement on this trip, and it’s easy to look at those things and think we are doing something wrong. As Shelly pointed out, though, these things usually mean we are doing something right with a God who is bigger than all of it.

Here’s something I do know: “God is never a God of discouragement.” (John Ortberg) The things coming up against us when we are trying to work with God aren’t from Him.

For my teammates (and myself!), keep pressing into Him. It might feel like we are having a moment in the cave, but don’t forget what Dawn shared from Ortberg’s book: “God does some of his best work in caves.”

And to our wonderful friends and families at home, please continue to pray with and for us. God is doing a good work here in Slovakia. The realization that He’s invited all of us into it with Him is an incredible honor.

Back to yesterday afternoon, I had nearly reached the end of my ability to keep it together when I realized my students were having a heated debate in Slovak. I asked them to switch to English and discovered they were arguing about whether The Hobbit movies were better than The Lord of the Rings. I joined the debate (I’m on the side of LOTR) and we all cracked up. Even across the world, we aren’t that different from one another. And even in a cave, we can still be totally blessed by the people we are with.