If you had ever asked me if I’d be willing to go somewhere crazy for God, I would have said yes in an instant. Africa has always been at the top of my list. God recently asked us to go somewhere crazy, but not Africa. He changed the letters between the big A and little a of Africa from F R I C to L A S K.
Quite the different direction, climate, people group…you name it.
The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity for my family. My husband was contacted about this job in the middle of August and by the middle of October we had sold our cars and half of our belongings and flew with two kids under the age of 3 for over 18 hours through 4 different airports.
I arrived in Bethel, Alaska…where is that, you ask??? I know, I hadn’t heard of it before either. It’s about 400 miles west of Anchorage; you can only get to it by boat or plane. And trasnport by boat is only available May through September. Yeah, we moved to I that remote place you see on TV shows. Ok, so it’s not that remote. There are 6000 other people that call this place home too. But I digress.
I arrived in Bethel and became instantly overwhelmed by our new life. And not in the good way. The first place we stayed was a tiny 2 bedroom, about 400 square feet. On the way to this first home I saw cars, boats, and what-have-you lining the streets and yards. The vibe wasn’t exactly what I was used to. Come to find out, people don’t throw anything away because it could be a potential resource in the future. The town has one paved road; the rest are made of dirt. Have you ever driven down a dirt road? Remember the cloud of dust that lingers behind your car? That cloud seeps into everything: the bottom of your shoes, your house, the floorboard of your car. Let’s just say I can no longer get by wearing the same pair of jeans for a week anymore.
But let me tell you about the people. Ah.
The second day we were here, a couple stopped us on the side of the road and offered us their extra vehicle. They had overheard us talking at the store about our recent move and needs, including a place to live and a car. They loved on us so much. We are going to dinner with them this weekend too.
That same day, we found a place to live, and our landlord was willing to let us move in right away, even though we didn’t have the funds to pay the deposit yet. The rental even came partially furnished. We have beds, a couch, and a dining room table to use until our household goods arrive. How cool is that?
We’ve also found a church, a small group, and I had a couple play dates already! Play dates = life lines for stay at home moms!
Since we’ve been up here I’ve been tempted to complain. I have done it a lot in fact. But then I realize how much God loves me and all that he has done for us. His expressions of love and provision for us are confirmation that we are in the right place, that we are in his will. What better place is there to be?
I had a realization the day after we arrived. The God who made my home in Texas is the same God who made this remote place in Alaska. And you know what? God called Texas good and he called this part of his creation good too. He delighted in the tundra and permafrost. Maybe he even got giddy about creating times of the year that are in complete darkness and times that bask in sunlight. Even though my life has been a whirlwind, who am I to question the God of the universe?
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man: I will question you, and you make it know to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.
Those dirt roads? Still not my favorite. But they make sense. They are rugged and serve a purpose, long-suffering the hard way of life here.
Where are you right now? Are you in a remote place literally or spiritually? God did not forsake me and he has not forsaken you. Take a minute to jump out of the whirlwind of your life. I know, it’s not easy. Then pause to consider how great God is and what great things he has done and will continue to do for you.