I live in the bush. But before you think up an image of a scraggly family living in a mud hut, scared as mice at the very sight of another human being; by ‘bush’ I mean we live in the outback, in a town of about 8,000 people.
But we do live in the bush, and it means that we don’t have everything readily available to us at our fingertips. There’s no craft shop or large supply of fast food joints for 500km. There’s not a huge range of fashion clothes shops around. On our farm, we have limited internet access and simply can’t watch youtube videos without it putting our internet into go-slow-mode. And some people wonder how on earth I’m going to find a Christian guy to marry if I stick around here…
I think everyone is in a similar situation – life isn’t perfect; whether it be an imperfect family, or a run-down donga for a home, or a Church full of bickering and disunity. It’s easy to compare to others – I know I have. However, there are two things I’ve learnt on this subject.
Work with what’s in your hand. God poised this as a question to Moses and Samson, and out of the shepherds’ stick and donkey’s jawbone God did something amazing. I have full confidence that God will provide for all my needs and can work above and beyond all obstacles I can see. God is the ultimate creator, and he is creative; he can make use of whatever is around, and pull solutions out of thin air! God created the world ex nihilo – out of nothing. He is trustworthy (2 Samuel 22:31) and has a good plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Everything works together for good, even evil beginnings (Genesis 50:20). We can’t pine for what we don’t have. If there is something for us to do, I want to use what I have and trust God with the rest. It’s a good thing shepherd boy David didn’t give up on his sheep because he didn’t have a javelin or sword to fight the lion or the bear with. He had a sling, and he had God on his side. That was enough. I might not have everything I want, the situation mightn’t be perfect, but what do I have?
I have some internet, so I can buy clothes and craft supplies online. I can list off about eight couples that have met or married in town (not that I have any plans, just for the record! God has that one completely under his belt!) I have ways of keeping in touch with girlfriends who live far away that develop deeper friendships, such as Facebook messages, phone calls, emails, and snail mail letters. My Church isn’t perfect, but there are sermons, books, and music out there that can help supplement it. We have to get creative and think outside the box, and trust that God cares for us and will provide.
You never know what or who is around the corner. Sometimes, I get lonely – I don’t have a peer group of friends in town, so just about everyone I do see is older or younger than me. But do we ever really know who’s moving to town next? We don’t. When I don’t know how to spend my time now that I’m not a homeschooling student, I work with what’s in my hand, and work on fine tuning the skills God has given me that are right in front of me. I don’t know what opportunities will pop around the corner. This time last year, I had no idea that in 2012, I would consider myself graduated, go gallivanting around Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland with my family, become the secretary for the major community event of the year, begin teaching part-time, or consider starting a professional organising business. But God knew, and I’m so glad he knows what he’s doing, both now and forever!
I think the secret lies in contentment. Do we trust God? Do we believe he always has good plans for us? Do we live knowing he is big enough to, and will, provide? Are we happy being where we are because we know its part of his bigger plan for us?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5, 6
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