Look again, at the cross
Where you are found when lost
Make a new song of praise
Fill your cup at the mouth of the spring
New wonders we will sing
As the Spirit blows the ambers of our hearts
Tell the story of Jesus the Christ
And His promisies we write
Of the doorway of our house
Oh the mirror and remember your own face
Brother do not forfeit grace
As the Savior pleads your pardon with His blood
Oh crown every sparrow every flower
All creation sings out loud of the grand design
You are small, but you are filled with breath and life
If you seek then you will find
As the Father looks with favor on His child
Oh the Savior pleads your pardon with His blood
And the Spirit blows the ambers of our hearts
The past few days have been hard and discouraging. Midterms week equals stressed out kids and a frazzled Katelyn Teacher. My reliance on the Lord has been slipping, and I was growing more convicted that some things need to change in my life in order to more fully grasp onto God’s strength instead of trying to fumble around on my own efforts.
Before I go further, let me tell you how fun it is to make the most random connections with people. My friend Rose invited me to a party at a popular foreigner bar across from our apartment. We went on Wednesday night and hung out with some people she had met last weekend. They invited us to go hiking the next day since it was a national holiday and we had no classes.. Of course I agreed to go hiking with 10 foreigners I’ve never met, because yes, it sounded fun to met some new people, but I just really wanted to go hiking! I had no idea what impact this beautiful day would have on my heart.
From a new perspective, as I stood on the top of the Korean mountains and looked out over the city, the coast, islands and more mountains in the distance, I contemplated my own frailty in contrast to the fullness of my Creator. The One who imagined these very ridges brought me here to experience this joy in the beauty of His creation. He is so kind to bring me to the heights and remind me of His greatness and my weakness. He is so gracious to bring me to the mountaintops to revel in the beauty around me, to allow the Spirit to blow on the embers of my heart, and to remind me of His magnificence in all the wide earth and my small, frail heart.
He just keeps pouring out so many gifts of grace… Random and unexpected from the outset, but full of beauty and mercy and joy.
So as I said, meeting people and making relationships has been somewhat random to my feeble awareness, but just today I was comforted by the realization that none of this is random at all. In some ways, even moving to Korea was random (but that story will have to wait for another time, perhaps.) Last weekend I went to a church retreat in Busan, and had I not trekked all the way there, to another city over an hour away, I wouldn’t have met the fantastic individual that is my new friend, Courtney- who lives in the same city I do. I say this is “random,” with a full knowledge that God knew, God knew all these things would transpire.
It seems random that I met her in a completely different city, but it wasn’t.
It seems random that her host family offered to take us to Jinju (a city an hour away) at 10pm to the lantern festival on Monday, but it wasn’t.
It seems random that Courtney was waiting outside the same bar at the same night I was at the birthday party when two Korean’s came up to her and asked her a question, and it seems random that she hung out with them the rest of the night instead of going to the same party where I was, and it seems random that they invited her to go hiking this weekend, and that Courtney invited me along too, and it seems random that we spent all day on Saturday together, and it seems random that when we got to the restaurant where we ate dinner two couples from our church were there and they invited our new friends to church
…but it wasn’t.
Because that trip to Busan taught me and encouraged me more than I ever expected it to, and there God gifted me with a new friend. Because Courtney’s host parent’s took us to the lantern festival at 10 pm to avoid the crowds. Because Courtney hung out with those Korean friends and they took us hiking and bought us dinner and we got to invite them to church and talk about their stories and histories with the church in Korea and doors were opened for deeper conversations.
I looked back at this week and stand in awe of how God orchestrated every detail. His handprints are all over these days, and I just stand back and watch in amazement at all He is doing. The gift of Thursday’s hike and the fresh perspective, the gift of new friendships, the gift of abundant life, new wonders each day, it is all underserved grace!
I am thankful. Thankful for a God who shows me my weakness and His steadfastness through the grace of the great wide open, thankful for a God to whom nothing is random, everything is held in His hands and known by His will. I am thankful for this year, and the journey it has been so far, and to think I’ve only been here for a month and a half! I anticipate what new wonders the next 11 will hold.
“Trust the twists and turns as part of the greater narrative” — Kelly Keller