YOU GIVE!! (AND TAKE AWAY...)
God you give and take away
Oh you give and take away
But my heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
The words of this song rang true last week as we worshiped the Lord with our friends Charlie and Camille for the last time before they left Costa Rica. Charlie and Camille had come to Costa Rica just days after we did on a study abroad program. They're Glenn's former students from Central Christian College of Kansas, and having them here for the past 3+ months helped us to feel a little more at "home". But their classes had finished, and it was time to say goodbye. At the same time Glenn and I finished our first trimester at the language school, and it was time to say goodbye to friends from the school who were graduating. And if you know me, you know how I hate saying goodbye.
During our first major ministry move, I was struggling to leave a church we loved, filled with friends we love. The superintendent's wife said to me, "Ministry is full of 'Hi's' and 'Goodbyes.' You better get used to it." And after 18 years of ministry, that has been more true than I could have imagined, and I've never gotten used to it. However, as we were gathered with our friends, singing this song for the final time together it really hit me, friends may be near or far away, but my heart will choose to say, "Lord, blessed be Your name!" What an awesome prayer!
We can put most anything into this verse such as jobs will come or jobs will go, homes will come and homes will go, it really isn't important which of life's circumstances are in focus, what matters is the cry of our heart. I always want my heart to choose to say, "Lord, blessed be Your name!"
Our new trimester will begin soon, so we will soon be saying hello to new friendships, and we know that these new friends will be moving to new countries a few months from now. But for now we focus on the "hello," on the friendship we can share, and on the mutual encouragement we can be for each other with the time we have together.
I love having friends who live all over the country and around the world. My life is better because God has given me so many amazing people in my life. So God, thank you for giving us people to be in community with. God, thank you for giving us people who want to impact the world with your love, even if it means being far away from those we love. I pray our hearts will always choose to say, "Lord, blessed be Your name!"