How Romantic?…

How Romantic?…

We have met all sorts of people in Tanzania: bikers passing through on their trek across the globe, couples traveling through every country in Africa in a zebra colored SUV, and many other expatriates here for various reasons. Recently, I met a gregarious fellow from Holland named Martijn. We exchanged stories and then he asked me, “So you and your husband did the whole romantic sounding thing, sold it all and moved to Africa?” And I laughed, replied yes, and then started to tear up.

That does sound romantic doesn’t it? The trouble is – I have never thought to stamp that word on our undertaking. The process wasn’t romantic and Africa isn’t romantic. It just makes for quite an idyllic start of a bold, new chapter.

Can’t deny it though, when we started down this road, I thought I could change the world, and try as I might, I have learned in one whole African year that I am unable to manufacture outcomes the way I thought I could. Live long enough, lose enough, see enough suffering, and this youthful idealism fades; and it dims especially fast when you live in a land that’s foreign and in contrast to your own. It leaves behind the ugly truth that we live in a broken world as broken people.

I’ve heard it said that one of God’s jobs is to destroy the idols in our lives. Unfortunately for us, our main idol is ourselves. And for all the tears, screams, cries, frustrations, despair, and static of this year, I am completely grateful. I’m grateful for the way God has wrecked my idealism and invincibility complex, and replaced it with a realism about the extent of His love and grace, which is much bigger than I had ever imagined. We all need profound events for recalibration. Indeed, the smaller I get, the smaller life makes me, the easier it is to see the grandeur of grace. God is infinitely more PRESENT than I ever thought.

We aren’t backpacking around the world; we’re not safaring through Africa. These “romantic” flings are fun and short-lived. God’s love is unchanging, forever, and life changing for all of us.  In this season of Advent, remember with God it’s a lifelong commitment of romance. You may not like the process at times and every season probably won’t be as pretty as this Holiday season, but the Lord always comes through with the perfect present in hand.

Thank you for Jesus and the gift of salvation through him.

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