Rainy season finally gave up. The flood waters have receded and we've been able to return home. The school term ended and the pace has been slower. We've made some changes.
But mostly we're trying to regain focus that we've lost along the way. We came to Thailand as missionaries determined to serve God. We now realize we came to learn who He is. We can serve and not be saved but we can't be saved and not serve. We want to finally get things in their proper order.
God has been so good and patient. He's allowed us struggle and trial; He's allowed us to flounder and flail and get it all wrong so we can learn to truly surrender, enabling Him to help us get it right. He's blessed us with purpose and all the incentive a person could need for staying connected to Christ ... we quickly see when we've let go because it all starts to unravel.
But He's also shown us that sometimes, even when we hold on, things can go off the rails "because your advesary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8
That's not a license to sin because we're under attack by an unseen enemy; it's reason to double-down on our determination to embrace the promise that "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." Psalm 91:4
A few nights ago we were walking back to the house from the outdoor dining room where we had worship and supper. I had what has become known as the "cobra light" which is actually just the flashlight of my cell phone.
We were walking in a cluster and using the light from my phone to watch the path so we didn't step on any snakes. I suddenly remembered that I'd seen a hat in a tree earlier from one of the little boys and I quickly swiped the light over to that tree. In that moment, Alex, the youngest of my oldest three adult sons who are visiting from America for a month jokingly said, "Mom, the light is supposed to be on the path because of the snakes."
I quickly turned the light back to the road in front of us and it was precisely then that we saw a snake which Quinn immediately stepped on. We watched as the snake wrapped itself around his foot and then as he kicked it off. I, cool as a cucumber (total panic), asked him if he’d been bit to which Quinn replied, "Yes."
I turned and took him to Robbie who was on his way over to the house after hearing my shout. He examined his foot and found no fang marks. We have no idea what kind of snake it was because it happened so fast and then we couldn't locate it. But Quinn is fine other than the fact that his love for snakes, which never really existed to begin with, has diminished into absolute nothingness.
After these encounters I always want to gather all the kids up and strap them safely into padded chairs and not let them play. It all just feels too risky. But then God reminds me that yes, it happened. He didn't prevent the event but He did provide the protection.
That is life. It's how it works and it's how we learn. It's how we recognize we're powerless no matter how in control we think we are.
I could do nothing in that moment to keep Quinn from stepping on the snake ... it all happened too fast.
But we worship a God who's never out-hustled and who also knows what trials will stretch, without breaking, us.
In Him we can trust.