We are in the midst of some challenging days of late. Many of you know that Josh is the head of the international school here... here, where this school and our work in this country is our life, the place we have poured ourselves into for going on ten years now. Recently, some issues have come to light that have put our campus in jeopardy. Josh has been in meetings at all hours of the day, for several weeks now, with various levels of government, consulates, staff, parents, community leaders... and the barrage seems at times, endless.
The outcome of all this is uncertain. Negotiations continue with discussions that are layered with cultural complexity. It's hard to know who or what to believe and it's clear everyone is struggling with this on varying levels. We are nearing the end of the school year, when a number of staff are preparing to leave the country for good, and there is a lot of transition and anxiety inevitably hanging about in the air. And added to that are these questions starting to nip at our heels. Will we be able to stay in our building for another year while another site is being prepared? Will we have to move to a transitional facility that is woefully short of meeting our needs? Will we see increased tension and protest from the community? Will the right people fight for us?
I can see the tension in his eyes when he walks in the door-- sometimes at 6pm and sometimes like last night, near midnight. And yet, as he strips off his tie and sets the phone down, the one that never sleeps or stops, as he sidles up next to Margot sleeping on the couch and takes her hand in his, I can see the tension melt away. She is the picture of peace, of trust, of relaxed surrender. She is a reminder of good things given in surprising ways.
And I know too, watching him, that not all burdens break people. Some people are made to bear them and can do it well. When I look at that strong hand holding her little one, the contrast is startling. Those big hands were made to cover hers. I can't think of a better picture of our days and the way we ought to walk in them.
In all these past weeks, I've thought time and again, how do we walk in faith in these moments, when we know God doesn't always fix things to our desired end? All you have to do is read the Bible to see that victory is not guaranteed. The plot is often far from the way we would write it. Jacob was chosen, not Esau. Joseph sat in a prison for years. Moses never entered the land. Job lost everything. Peter was crucified while John was exiled. I don't know that we can pray for a victorious outcome, but we can walk confident knowing he will help us with today.
I think of Joseph, who started out as a punk kid but must have learned a whole lot of humility as he walked some painfully forgotten years. And we see him faithfully serving with reverence, with integrity, even in the land of his affliction. Joseph's story is far removed from ours, but I want to take his bones with me wherever we go. With no certainty of outcome, we walk into each day ready for action, covered by the Hand, led perhaps into hardship or victory, but with the certain help of a Father, who delights in our holding on.