Have you ever waited a really long time for something? Have you ever felt greatly discouraged during the whole waiting period? Been unsure of what steps to take in order to move forward, uncertain of what to do next, afraid of making the wrong decision? I think we all come to this place at some point in our lives, often more than once. What do you do when you're faced with the unknown? How do you respond to opportunities of faith? Did you ever consider that those moments when we are unsure of ourselves and uncertain of what to do they are actually opportunities to exercise our faith?
Just as our physical bodies need exercise...our spirit needs exercise also. We may not like the pain and/or exhaustion it can bring, but those tough trials are meant to strengthen us, to better us, and to train us for healthy lives. When we're in the middle of the mission it's easy to lose sight of the goal...it's easy to want to give in and give up. But if we endure, if we put our trust in the Lord knowing that He is our personal trainer who will never give us more weight than we can bear, our faith will be strengthened. And let's face it...there is a spiritual battle going on all around us, much of which is unseen and we need to be strong in our faith when the enemy attacks. The devil's greatest weapon is doubt, but we hold the shield of faith. Our trust in Christ will allow us to hold onto that shield even when it starts to feel heavy.
My shield has been feeling heavy recently. There has been a lot going on in our lives that has made me want to lay down my shield. I've felt weak, tired, overwhelmed, discouraged and angry. But through it all, I never laid down my shield. I kept my faith in the knowledge that Christ will never let me down. I was often reminded of this verse:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus has already won the ultimate victory. He conquered death so that we can live eternally with Him. There is no battle we'll face in this life that we cannot win with the help of Christ. We can draw strength from Him whenever we feel weak or discouraged.
These last few weeks my own faith has definitely been tested. So many things seemed out of my control. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. The struggles kept piling up. I felt helpless, worn down and on the brink of throwing my hands in the air and giving up. I did ultimately surrender...I surrendered my doubts and put my trust in God's Word...
"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Your mercy, oh Lord, endures forever." (Psalm138:8)
Believe me, I did not surrender easily. I did what most of us do...I tried to rely on myself to produce answers, to achieve results. It wasn't until I said out loud in my empty apartment "God, I surrender...I want YOUR plan...I want YOUR way...I want YOUR help" that I finally got my answer. After weeks and months of waiting God finally revealed His perfect plan. We have been anxiously waiting to know what our next step is from here...where will we go after our time here in Switzerland is done. There were several options but we were unsure of which option was God's pick for our lives. Imagine sailing out in the open ocean at night with no land in sight and not knowing which direction to go in to find land. That's a little how this whole situation felt. Fear, panic, and despair began to set in. But after much prayer and many trials we now know with certainty what God knew all along.
Jared had the opportunity to speak with his boss this week and he is giving Jared the opportunity to continue doing research for him while working in America. This is a HUGE answer to prayer. Basically, nothing will change except for the location in which he will be working. He will still have the same boss, the same pay, the same research...just a different lab space....closer to family! :) Jared loves what he is doing and given the multiple papers and patents he has achieved in the short year he has been here it is evident that he is also good at what he does. But in order to pursue a career as a college professor, which we know is God's calling on his life, he will need to be back in the U.S. to do job interviews, because flying back and forth from Switzerland to do job interviews is not an option. This new opportunity will be the stepping stone that he needs to further his career. We are so thankful his current boss is being more than supportive. I think he sees the great potential in Jared as well. He has actually called Jared a "wizard" at chemistry which I now tease him about often. :) His confidence in Jared is very encouraging because he is very well-respected in the field and as an individual.
So where will we be moving you ask? There is a professor at Georgia Tech that Jared has had opportunities to work with in the past who practically jumped at the idea of sharing lab space with him. So by the fall of 2012 we will be living in Atlanta, Georgia. We have a few dear friends in the area so we are happy to be going somewhere that we'll already have friends close by and our family will be MUCH closer than they are here in Switzerland. So look out Atlanta...here we come!
Now that we can see enough into the future in order to relax a little, we plan on enjoying the rest of our time here in Switzerland as best we can before the brief time we have here is up. Lots to look forward to in 2012 and lots of memories and lessons from 2011 that we'll carry on with us.
For those who may be dealing with some doubt and confusion yourself, please be encouraged by our experience. If you are looking for answers and all you seem to be getting is frustrated...remember that sometimes God's answer is "wait". His timing is perfect. Trust that He works the all together for good. (Romans 8:28) Pray it out. Ask God to help you while you wait on Him. Ask others to pray with you. The power of prayer is the most effective tool we have.