This post is a part of a series based on my memoir, In a Sun-Scorched Land. Find your own copy here, and join me each week as I touch on another chapter, meditating on God’s faithfulness through life’s challenges.
I closed my eyes and drifted off, blissfully unaware of an oft-spoken Creole proverb that would define the years ahead: Dèyè monn gen monn – Beyond the mountains, more mountains. Had I known the shadows of those mountain paths – the toll the steep hikes would take on our family, my faith, and my health – my courage surely would have failed me. But by the grace of God, the God who can move mountains, I didn’t know, and I slept in peace. In a pool of sweat. But in peace nonetheless.
(p. 36, In a Sun-Scorched Land)
Had I known, my courage surely would have failed me.
True for us all, isn’t it?
And sometimes we’re caught up in wondering, What exactly does lie ahead?
That first day Jarod and I spent in Haiti was too full, too action-packed for me to worry, but there’s been many a day since then that I’ve made time to not only wonder, but to fret:
- How will we make ends meet?
- How will this child ever get past this?
- Will I ever feel normal again?
- Will this fear ever leave?
- What if God asks too much of me?
Our futures always stretch out in front of us, unknown, mysterious. To us.
But not to our Heavenly Father. He knows, and we don’t. That’s not an accident.
His sovereign, eternal mind can handle it all, and we can’t. He created us to have limits. Our bodies can only handle so much work, strain, and stress each day, and our minds are no different.
In His mercy, He allows us to see yesterday – to learn from its mistakes or successes – as well as this moment right now.
The Creole proverb is right. Beyond mountains there are always more mountains. And as humans, in our weakness, we’re easily overwhelmed by their heights. Knowing the name of each mountain to come would surely immobilize us.
Yet when we look back, we can’t deny God’s presence, His strength, His grace. And the exhilaration we’ve known as we reached the peaks of life’s biggest challenges. I survived that, we remind ourselves. And it becomes a beautiful part of our testimony.
Would we have chosen it had we known ahead of time? Probably not. Our energy probably would have gone to praying against it, begging God for something else – anything else.
But it was there, that place of struggle designed especially for us, that we met God, that we saw Him work. We saw our lives transformed and learned that He is real, that He cares.
So why would tomorrow be any different?
Yes, there will be mountains. I won’t minimize that. Mountain climbing is painful, sometimes impossibly so. Sometimes God will move the mountains, and sometimes He won’t.
But there will always be help. Supernatural courage. Grace. Peace. Joy. God’s presence.
Whatever your future may hold, what you’re worried about today, I pray you’ll rest in Him. He held you together yesterday. And you’re in His hands right now. That’s never going to change.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.