Our family has been back for just over a week; nine days to be exact. Since returning life feels like it’s been flipped upside down. Here’s a list of things that weigh heavy on me (Justin).
- Upon entry, Kennedy and I were tested for COVID-19 because we had coughs coming into the country. My test results returned negative two days later and I was allowed to leave the house. Nine days later we’re still waiting for Kennedy’s test results. That means that Kennedy’s been stuck at home. My father’s heart breaks each morning I leave for work and my extroverted daughter sadly waves as she realizes today will be another day she’s stuck at home.
- Leaving for Taiwan many of you prayed we would find a great apartment to rent. I specifically remember praying and sensing God telling me that He has something great in store for us. I imagined and prayed that it would happen quickly, like, within days quickly. After visiting four different apartments we are struggling to find the right home for our family. We continue to pray for God’s providence, but the waiting has been difficult, especially considering Kennedy’s house arrest.
- Social pressure is real. America and the COVID-19 virus blew up right after we left. Because of this and our just returning from the USA, remarks were made. Some friends have been scared into treating us differently, distancing themselves from us more than what would be normal in our situation. I’ll be completely honest; That hurts. A lot, actually.
- Our work and ministry is being tossed around. Right now, a second wave of COVID-19 is spreading through Taiwan. Because of that the government is shutting it’s borders to foreigners and safety precautions are tightening. That means each day brings huge question marks when it comes whether or not our gatherings can be held. Are there too many people in one place? Do we require everyone to wear masks? How do we turn people away if they show up sick? There are even talks about the government quarantining everyone for a time, similar to what is happening in San Fransisco. In that case all of our planning is moot.
yet, despite these things… our Sovereign God remains our refuge. Our strength comes from Him alone and not our circumstances. I’m reminded of this by a song I recently came across on Spotify.
But for me, it is good to be near You
I have made the Sovereign God my refuge
I will tell of all that You’ve done for me
How you cleansed and set me free
As I dive deeper into Psalm 73, the passage this chorus is taken from, it feels like I could have written this entire chapter.
13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. 14All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
23Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
28But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (NIV)
So what has God done for us in the last nine days? He’s provided a place to stay while we search for our new home. (And our friends who are hosting us clean up our room and made us feel extremely welcome!) The school I work part-time for has welcomed me back and their willingness to keep me on as a teacher has allowed us a smooth transition back into the country with little visa issues. While Kennedy can’t attend school right now, her teacher actively texts with Brittany telling her she can’t wait for her to return and that she is more than willing to help Kennedy catch up on anything she’s missed! (This feels huge to us as it’s not the norm for teachers here.) Finally, despite the Corona scare we are healthy. Our family is doing well and God even blessed us with a smooth and easy transition between timezones. I hear jet lag and babies don’t mix, but Hailee has been exception.
With all that said, I can complain. I can be angry. But I can not say that God has not been with us each step of this journey. And ya’ know what? That’s what brings on my smile, because for me, it is good to be near Him.