My Source of Strength

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

It is almost hard to believe that we are already well into the New Year.  A new year is a great way of starting over with a clean slate, but to be completely honest, my husband and I were wishing that we had a pause button, some way to not start yet another year.  But whether we want it to or not, there is no pause button and life goes on. Granted, there are some things coming up that we are looking forward to, like the Global Retreat and General Conference in BC. It will be a great time of connecting with other missionaries and pastors.  We are looking forward to Hope Camp and the end of this month, where we take sponsored kids out of the city for a few days of fun and a spiritual retreat. We are anticipating February when the new school year begins and we can start teaching the Bible in the public school again with a new theme. We miss those kids!  However, there are changes approaching that we are not looking forward to.

Before Christmas we received news that my dad’s cancer has returned after being cancer free for many years. It’s hard being so far from home when a parent is dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, even if the Doctor is confident with surgery they can remove it all. Also a friend is dealing with the betrayal of the worst kind and I can’t be there…except to pray from afar. My heart is there and yet it’s here too, because I know this is where the Lord has planted us.  It’s where we live and work and have relationships with people.

One thing that we are dreading is all the goodbyes coming up.  And there are many. Goodbyes are hard when you are living far from family, and when there are friends and people that you love and care about, leave to go “home” or another country it leaves such an emptiness and aching in the heart.  They are going to be missed and I don’t want to think about what life will be like when they are not a part of it in the way they are now. Chances are we will not ever see these wonderful people again…except for on Facebook.  I think goodbyes are one of the hardest things about being in missions.  It feels like people are always leaving and yet there are those of us who remain. Over our more than four years here we have seen many come and then go…too many to count.

Also, our son Ben will be graduating this year and heading back to Canada to further his education.  We don’t want him to go. That will leave just our daughter here with us in Honduras while Ben and Jacob, who left a year and a half ago, make lives for their own apart from us.

So, on New years day, my heart was heavy and sad thinking of all these things.   I was actually feeling sorry for myself as I dwelt on them.  And then it happened during our devotions after dinner…something we always do as a family, that I felt like God was speaking to my heart, nudging me and reminding me of his faithfulness and that He is still good, still worthy of being praised.  That despite how circumstances may seem, despite the aching in my heart, that God is there and God is my source of strength.  It was a verse that my son Ben read..

Habakkuk 3:17-19a

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the crops die in the fields; and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

There is a quote by Henry G. Bosch.”  Our eyes are to be focused on the Lord, not on our circumstances. We are to live above the shadows of fear and bask in the sunlight of faith. Even though we, like Habakkuk, may have a long list of troubles, faith’s answer to disappointment must always be: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” That type of attitude will enable us to live above the circumstances instead of under them. “

 

I don’t know how you began your year or what challenges you will face.  No doubt for all of us there will be unexpected things come up that we are not prepared for.  When they do, let us not take our eyes off of Him, while we merely focus on our circumstances.  Let us remember that he is faithful .  Always.  Let us find our strength and our joy in Him.

Psalm 112:7

They do not fear bad news. They confidently trust the Lord to care for them.