Beth read an article in one of our monthly scuba magazines that talked about how good it is for people to go on vacations. It improves one’s health, mental state, outlook on life, you name it. And one of the surprising discoveries of the study cited by the author is that the anticipation of the vacation is as important to the whole process and outcome as is the vacation itself. That was no surprise to me, I have loved planning our vacations for years. I love planning the route, the timetable, what things would be cool to see, what to leave out. I love sending for brochures, searching online for photos of wherever it is we are going. I love reading and studying about the vacation, and I do so for months in advance. The enjoyment I get from the planning and anticipation is as important and significant to me as the time we spend actually on the vacation. And when we get back, I enjoy basking in the memories of the most recent vacation. For a few weeks. And then I start planning the next one.
But not this time. As we were talking about the article and I had time to reflect, enlightenment came to me. This is my major problem with the upcoming missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and here is anxiety number three! I have had absolutely no input on this trip. I have had no enjoyment in planning, in anticipation. Oh, there’s been anticipation, alright, but none of it positive. I have been dreading it because I have absolutely no idea what is going on. The total sum of my knowledge with this trip is what type of clothing to bring, we can’t flush our toilet paper (it gets put in a basket beside the toilet. Wonderful.), and we are leaving out of Buffalo on January 28 and returning on February 4. That’s it! I don’t even know who holds our tickets, I have no brochures, no ideas for sightseeing, or relaxing, or reading, or…or anything. And I hate this! This is not how I’m wired. This is so far out of my comfort zone I can’t even see my comfort zone.
And I am sure that is part of the point. That I need to learn that “God is sufficient.” That I learn what Paul learned so long ago, that I must focus, not on what I can control, or can touch, but to simply let go. To give God the wheel, and simply go where He desires me to go, and do what He ordains for His kingdom.
The past ten years have been very difficult. The lessons learned, the hardships, have all been nearly more than I could bear. My soul cries out, “How long, oh Lord,” and I have no end in sight. I recognize the truth of this, but the ache does not disappear. I do not doubt the existence of God, nor of his goodness and love for me. But what I am left with right now is to simply wonder how long must I lay here, broken and battered? Will there come a season of peace, contentment? When? How long, oh Lord?
This trip to the D.R. is significant. I do not know how at this point, but time will tell. I look not for a mountaintop experience, nor do I desire such. But for now, even with all my anxieties, fears, and doubts, I know that God is in control. And for now, that is sufficient.