Our first couple of years here were incredibly hard for me. Unmet expectations, as well as some major challenges with relationships and with our living situation, quickly brought me to place of struggle about whether we were really supposed to be here. I battled with doubts and fears that would often become the loudest voices in my head, making it impossible to arrive to a place of peace and acceptance. When I look back through my journal of these days, I see that I did pray through my struggles, but I don't think I went to the Lord with my heart truly ready to hear His answers to my doubts and fears until we had been here for about 18 months (quite honestly, probably the hardest 18 months of my life). I clearly remember the day that I went before Him, wrote the title "My Frantic Questions" at the top of my journal page, then listed the questions that were so frequently bringing me to discouragement and doubt, and then, by God's help and grace, quieted my heart to hear His gentle answers. And, finally... finally... as I felt the distinct change between the state of my stress-filled, constant questioning and how my heart felt after receiving the sweet, gentle, truth-filled responses from Him, I entered a new stage of adjusting to life here. And, as I recognized how profound that difference was, I realized that not only did my frantic questions come from my own flesh, but they came from my enemy, the same enemy who used a question to tempt Eve at the very beginning...
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" (Genesis 3:1-3)The serpent started Eve down the path of temptation, of doubting God's truth, by asking a question that she really knew the answer to already. And, in my case, intellectually, I knew the answers to the my frantic questions about our call to Costa Rica. But, combined with emotions and temptation to doubt, I had fallen to a place of not trusting God. My frantic questions had deafened me from hearing His voice, making it so easy to instead hear the voice of my flesh and of the enemy.
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:4-6)That seed of doubt planted in Eve's and Adam's hearts was what led them to disobey and lose the sweet intimacy that they had with God. When I read this passage in light of that time in my life, I think about how my husband was the one who I frequently bombarded with my frantic questions of doubt. It wasn't until I finally took them to the Lord, with my heart finally open to receive His guidance, that I received His gentle answers.
Tomorrow, I'd like to share some of the questions I brought before the Lord that day in my journal. I have to admit, I find myself hesitating to be vulnerable in this way, but it is my prayer that sharing this will help others who are struggling with frantic, stressful questions of their own. Please join us again tomorrow for part two of this series!