The question I was constantly pondering while teaching abroad in Ukraine was “Why God? Why Ukraine?” I felt like Peter in the boat when going to Ukraine. The first week felt like when the storm came, when the waves were coming in the boat and Jesus was like do you trust me? Are you going to step out of the boat? And just like Peter I hesitantly stepped out and then sank — I didn’t trust. I could almost here Jesus saying, like he said to Peter, “You of little faith.” I left Ukraine still wondering, “Why God? Why Ukraine? What is here for me?”
Obviously the answer became a little clearer as the time went on. In Ukraine I met the most wonderful people, I made new friends, I grew closer to God each and everyday, I was pushed out of my comfort zone, I was challenged, I was pushed to me limits, and ultimately it changed me. But I knew (or so I thought I knew) this was all temporary. I knew I was going home to the same life, the same struggles, and the same problems. Plus was I going to even see these people again? Oh, the questions.
A few days ago I stumbled upon the quotation, “This was the very reason you were brought to this place. That by knowing me here for a little while you may know me better there.” – Aslan, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I knew that was truth. I knew that was the answer. The little, yet powerful glimpse of the glory of God I saw in Ukraine changed me. The little while I knew him there allowed me to know him better for the rest of my life. It allowed me to know him better here.
Leaving beautiful, life changing places is always hard. You want to stay in the moment forever. But God shows us his love and his goodness so that we may go out and bring that to others. We have to eventually come down from the mountain and share all that we encountered while there.
Friends, I don’t know why you were brought to the place you are at in life. Maybe its a good place, maybe its a hard place, maybe its a happy place, or maybe its a sad place. However, by seeing God in that moment, by taking the chance to catch a glimpse of him you will be forever changed.
Thank you Ukraine. Thank you each and every person I encountered there. Most importantly, thank you sweet Jesus for never disappointing.