Growing up my Dad was always one of my best friends. He understood me in ways other people couldn’t. For example, sometimes he knew I was being contrary because I just wanted to debate. Other nights he would understand that he just needed to pick up my favorite order from sonic. Other days still he gave me his keys and took me to a backroad and sat silently as I drove a little too fast. Somehow he could always tell what I needed when I was upset, and had the patience to accommodate me. My Heavenly Father has that same ability, but on such a personal level it is amazing.
This last July I spent some time in China. It was a totally fulfilling experience. I am so thankful for getting to go and what I learned. However that doesn’t mean it wasn’t incredibly hard! It was.
In fact, I mentioned before, but for a few days I was feeling really awful. I couldn’t keep any water or anything down at all for over 24 hours. So when I had to board a four hour train one morning, I wasn’t feeling my best. I was also starving!! The only thing I could think about was skittles. Don’t ask me why, but when I thought of things I could imagine eating it was the only food that came to mind! I asked one of the girls to walk over to the little train market with me. Guess what was the ONLY recognizable “American” food in the entire market… SKITTLES. It literally felt as if in that second God was smiling at me, laughing at his poor daughter who just wanted something familiar in a strang land.
The last Sunday we were in Chiba we got to go to a “foreigners church.” It was so comforting to be in a room where I actually knew what was being said. The sermon was dead on to what I needed to hear before going home. However, it was the music that touched my heart! As the service came to a close we ended by standing to sing. First we sang my favorite contemporary worship song, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United. I absolutely love it. One line reads “Spirit lead me where my trust is without boarders. Let me walk upon the water. Wherever you may call me…”
Never have those words meant so much! But there I was, standing in China, because that is where the Holy Spirit had led me! I cried through the whole song, singing with my entire heart. I was not emotionally prepared for when my favorite hymn began to play next! The song How Great Thou Art (originally composed by Carl Gustav Boberg around 1940). I felt so loved as we sang these cherished, familiar songs. In that moment I felt exactly like a daughter who’s Father knew exactly what she needed.
Another example was during the second week of our trip. We had just met our groups of kids that we would be responsible for the following 24 hours on a field trip. The task looked daunting. (Especially because our girls were so painfully shy and their English was beyond limited.) I was feeling incredibly discouraged when I noticed one of the quietest girl’s jackets. It had a little badge on the left breast pocket. It read “Fear Thou Not 41:10.” I instantly recognized my favorite scripture in the entire bible… Isaiah 41:10. I instantly was comforted and reminded to trust in God. It was such an unexpected reminder, especially seeing how the girl was not only Buddhist, but also spoke barely five words in English. I’m sure she had no idea what it meant, but to me it meant that God was everywhere and he knew I would need encouragement.
These little examples all attest to my favorite verse. They exclaim that God is with us! He strengthens us daily. I am so thankful for these little reminders I experienced of Gods endless love.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
– Isaiah 41:10 KJV