Years ago, I served a church in Tokyo, Japan. That time was a highlight of my life, but those first weeks after arriving were especially difficult. Learning to communicate, navigating the subway system, and shopping at markets for food I recognized was a little overwhelming. More than once I wondered why I had come. Why had I felt called by God to serve this church when I often felt so alone? So, I began to write. I filled journal after journal describing my experience.
Two joyful years of meaningful work, new friends, and the best sushi ever passed quickly. As I packed up to return to the States, I noticed that first journal. I almost didn’t open it because I expected to find harsh descriptions of the frustration, confusion, and loneliness of those first months. Those words were there, but I was also surprised by how clearly what I wrote revealed God’s presence with me. I was never alone, and I’ve never forgotten that experience.
Since then other hard, challenging days have come from exhaustion, confusion, tragedy, and a host of realities common to us all. I’ve had my share of questions. But I’ve also had the memory of those early days in Tokyo with my journals and the reminder that God’s goodness and grace sustained me, though I could not initially recognize it.
Over and again, when I have cried out to God, God has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me (v. 20). Blessed be God!
What has God done for you? Consider writing about it to help you remember.
Loving God, thank you for the many ways you comfort, hold, and empower us to continue day by day. Remind us always that your steadfast love endures forever. Amen.