Monday, March 9, 2009

Despair and hope

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. Some days it seems are lost before they begin. That’s how the past week has been for me; one blow after another. And the hits just keep on coming. Let me take you through and share some highlights from the week in question.
Last week I learned that several of my classmates from Milo were involved in some less than reputable, self-destructive activities at college this year. It came as quite a shock to me, to be honest. I went to school with these guys for years and I thought I knew them. Anyway, that put a damper on the beginning of the week. On Wednesday night I was preparing for bed when I was hit with a stomach virus that wiped me out for the next three days. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe food poisoning? Who knows? In any case, I had plenty of time lying on the couch in discomfort, to think about how much I miss home (by the way, I really miss home). This homesickness was compounded by the internet which chose this particular week to take a hiatus.
And to top it all off, my patience has been wearing thin. I find myself growing upset with students and staff alike for things that I just let go in the past. Off-hand comments, cultural irritants, and seemingly a thousand other things trigger me into a bad mood. To sum it up, the world seems to be crashing down around me.
All I want is a little peace. I want to be able to hug my parents. I want to be able to sleep in my own bed. I want to be able to hang out with my friends. I want to worry about when my homework assignment is due, not how to deal with an unruly classroom full of noisy and disrespectful kids.
But alas, all is not lost.
I have a friend who has never failed me in the past, and whose help I can count on today, tomorrow, and forever. I know that He’s here beside me, feeling my pain, hurting when I hurt, crying when I cry. And when I get discouraged, He’s always right there. Sometimes I forget that He’s here with me. I get so caught up in what’s wrong and how miserable I am, that I forget to look for the positive. There are always blessings. Always. It’s only when I become selfish and look inwardly that I lose sight of them.
I’ve heard it said that if we knew the end from the beginning—why we were allowed to go through the trials and pain that we do—that we wouldn’t have it any other way. I think I agree with that. I’m no sadist. I don’t enjoy being unhappy. But when I’m down, that’s when I look to Christ. So for that reason, perhaps the past week was just what I needed.
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
2 Cor. 12:9-10
I have three months left in Egypt. What will the future hold? I have no idea. Will it be easy all the time? Of course not. But If this week has taught me anything, it’s that I am not alone. So there’s a reason to look forward to tomorrow.


Justin said...

Amen Brotha! I'm sorry that your week didn't turn out so great. I'll be praying that your next three months go by enjoyably well. See ya soon.

Phoebe said...

Hola Monte!
Let me start out with introducing myself, as I don't know you all that well. I do know you from Big Lake as the "camp photographer". I've been on the last few RAD trips, so I haven't really gotten to know any of the staff that stays at camp 24/7. Anyways, my name is Phoebe, and I simply had to leave a comment, as I've had some of those blah moments myself these past few weeks. I find myself getting caught in the "oh, woe is me" train of thought, but God has blessed me with so much. That nugget of truth deserves much more recognition than I've been giving it.
I also love the verse you chose. God is amazing. That's all there is to it. :)
Before I end this lengthy comment, I would like to recommend the band/musical group Tenth North Avenue. They have some pretty awesome songs that carry the same message you wrote about. Although I am far from being musically inclined, music just seems to connect with me more, so if you have the opportunity to, you should totally check it out.
Enjoy your remaining 3 months in beautiful, exotic Egypt, and thank you so much for writing out your thoughts. I'll pray that God will continue to reveal more little nuggets of wisdom in your experiences there, as Justin seems to have the enjoying-yourself prayer under control. (I'm kidding; I'll pray for both. :)