In the past week I have been to three different airports in three different countries and crossed one border by car. I was questioned at passport control in Germany and border control in Greece (just a couple minor questions – nothing serious). And, for the first time in my life, I got frisked. I’ve had my shoes and bags searched before, but I myself have never been searched like that. It wasn’t a traumatic experience, but it was awkward and it did make me think.
I had just spent an amazing week at a conference in Holzhausen and was heading home when I got stopped and searched. As I was standing there with my arms out I realized there was another lesson to be learned. I realized that throughout the whole conference God had been searching my heart.
Obviously and thankfully, the Lord is much different than a grumpy German woman, but He used her to teach me a lesson about Himself. He had pulled me aside from my normal activities to search out the Truth of who I am and what I am doing, and to bring to light any potential dangers – just as she was doing. I had been placed in a position where trusting Him and waiting on His favor also meant being vulnerable.
And, just as she sent me on my way, He too sent me back to Prilep to continue my adventures here. But unlike that security guard, He loves me radically and is right here with me on this journey. Also unlike her, He taught me more than I could ever imagine as He searched my heart.
I learned many lessons while I was there, but the greatest one came from a colleague as we were visiting one evening with a few others. He was talking about His own walk with the Lord and how He had realized the value of daily dwelling in Christ’s presence. The question we ask ourselves should not be, “Did I have a quiet time today?” – something to just check off a list. Rather, it should be, “Did I abide in Christ today?” – an ongoing interaction with Him throughout the day.
He used the marriage analogy to drive the point home. He talked about how you wouldn’t walk up to your spouse and say, “Ok, Honey, let’s have our daily hour together. Go ahead and talk to me. Let’s get this out of the way,” and then have no other interaction with them all day. The Bible frequently refers to believers as the bride of Christ. Just as a husband longs to be with his bride that he loves, so the Lord desires to commune with us – and even more so because He loves us more than a man loves his wife. Intentional time in Scripture each day is a crucial part of this because it is the primary way we get to know Him, but it’s not the only component to having a thriving relationship with Christ.
There were many other wonderful things talked about at the conference. I spent hours playing games, conversing, laughing, and just enjoying life with old and new friends. I walked through a quaint little town and beautiful woods. I cried as I said goodbye to some who have become very dear to me over the last year and a half – some of whom I might not get to see again this side of Heaven. But I left rejuvenated, encouraged, and even more grateful for my colleagues (aka family) here in Macedonia.
I am not sure why I was chosen to have God’s love, mercy, and blessings so extravagantly lavished on me, but I could not be more thrilled with the life He has given me. Each day is a new adventure with Him. Some days I would rather sleep than climb a mountain, but when you get to the top you realize every step was worth it.