It was a trip on which my spirit was renewed, my soul was encouraged, and I fell in love with the little state of Iowa.
Iowa is not at all what I expected, and what I expected was pretty much fields of corn in a vast expanse of nothing else. No, it's hilly and green, and there plenty of trees, and cornfields, yes, but they give a golden hue to the land and a warmth unmatched by any other place I've been. And the old farmhouses fill that land with a sense of timeless appeal that speaks to a quiet soul such as mine, one that longs for solitude.
And it was there at a little church in the middle of all this solitude where I found what I've been looking for and didn't even know it. I was reminded of what it's like to know the One who gives me the quiet that I seek, along with the companionship that I need.
|(Not Iowa, obviously, but taken on the way.)|
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Initially, our primary purpose for going on this trip was to attend a bible conference and discuss a new ministry project, but as I quickly discovered, I was wrong about the primary purpose.
Because, of course, He orchestrates all things.
We all have a hard time being an encouragement to others if we ourselves are not encouraged, but that has been a problem lately – there is little out there to find very inspiring or encouraging.
I can't hardly get on social media – or any media, really – these days without becoming incredibly sad, or angry, or overwhelmed. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but things in this world are not alright. Maybe they've never been alright, except in the Garden, but the tension seems greater now, the circumstances particularly more dire.
But what I learned from the hearts that I connected with on this trip is that there are others like me. We are not alone in this world. We're together in the fight.
I am not the only one who has been looking around at everything that is taking place and wondering if the whole world has gone mad.
I'm not the only one who gets angry, who sometimes wants to punch some sense into people.
I'm not the only one who has allowed it to weigh me down, who has wondered if it's all completely hopeless.
I'm not the only one with fears.
And I'm not the only one who is resting in the hope that comes from Him.
That's a big one – the key issue. It's the one we're not supposed to talk about, you know. You're crazy if you mention anything about the forces of good and evil – call it anything but a 'spiritual issue'. But what is evil if not the absence of good? And darkness, if not the absence of light?
What is the absence of God?
I don't know how people remember 9/11 and still don't believe evil exists. I don't know how they mourn beheaded children and still don't believe evil exists. The only answer I can come up with is – because evil exists.
So if there is anything that can at all be an encouragement in these uneasy times, as we reflect on 9/11 and everything that has happened since, everything that has happened before in the course of human history and everything that waits for us in the days to come, it's Him. It's the fact that His presence resides in other souls, in the cornfields of Iowa, in the house down the street. He surrounds us in ways we could never dream.
We are not alone in the fight.