First off, I want to let you all know that I am still going to Nepal from June 9th through July 24th, but my trip itinerary will look very different from what we had originally planned. While I don’t yet know the nitty gritty of what that means, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wants me to be in Nepal this summer, and I am overwhelmingly grateful that I still get to visit this land that has completely captured my heart.
Secondly, I am done with my fourth semester of undergrad (hallelujah!) and now have as much college behind me as I do before me (how did that happen?) It was my hardest semester yet, but I made it through alive, and now I get to spend the next month at home, processing the last season and preparing for the next.
There have been many times throughout these past two weeks when I’ve thought, “I should really write a blog about this” but try as I might, I can’t seem to get the words right. It’s not so much a lack of words as it is an overabundance, so this will probably turn into more than one blog post. I hope you don’t mind. There’s just so much I want to share with you.
On Wednesday April 15th at 8PM, my body was sitting in evening chapel, but my brain was running through the million and a half things I still needed to complete later that evening. Our campus pastor, Rusty, was scheduled to speak, but instead of giving a sermon, he decided to have an extended time of worship through song, and an opportunity for students to pray with the campus pastors. I love opportunities to pray with others, so when he opened up the prayer time, I walked down the auditorium aisle and asked him to pray for me. All semester my prayer requests had been for strength and endurance to get through this incredibly difficult season of life, but this time, something in me had shifted. I asked Rusty to pray for the transition that was about to happen in my life. It was an odd request considering I still had three weeks of the semester to complete, and was nowhere near ready to even think about being at home and preparing for Nepal. But I couldn’t deny the still small voice of God saying that it was transition time. Something deep inside of me knew that I had finally emerged, victorious, from the dark pit I was in for the first thirteen weeks of the semester, but that the struggle wasn’t over… it was just changing. I know that sounds vague, but at that point in time it was all I knew with any clarity.
On Thursday April 23rd at 10PM, I was following my normal routine of thinking through scenarios of what could potentially happen while I’m in Nepal while I got ready for bed. Suddenly I thought, “What if there’s a massive earthquake while I’m there?” I knew that Nepal rests on a fault line (the Himalayas are not in Nepal by random chance) but the idea of a big earthquake seemed to come out of nowhere. I played out the scenario in my mind, and then moved on, never dreaming how real my imaginings were about to become.
On Saturday April 25th at 8AM, I woke up to go on a run with my roommate Kaylee. When I checked my phone, I had two texts from friends asking if I had heard about the earthquake in Nepal. As I pulled up the news on my laptop, I began to physically shake. I was in shock.
On Saturday April 25th at noon, Nepal time, (11:15PM on Friday, Oregon time) a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the beautiful country of Nepal.
When I found out about the earthquake, a million questions raced through my mind, but the one that kept resurfacing was: did God warn me about the earthquake before it happened?
All day I turned that question over and over in my mind. On one hand, imagining an earthquake the day before it happened was difficult to explain through random chance. On the other hand, there was no way I could’ve articulated when (or even if) the earthquake was going to happen when the thought first crossed my mind on Thursday night.
I finally asked my roommate Rebecca if she thought God had warned me about the earthquake, and she replied, “I think God was preparing you for the earthquake.” Suddenly all the pieces clicked into place. Ten days prior to the earthquake God had help me enter a season of transition. At the time it didn’t make sense to think about my trip to Nepal when I still had schoolwork to complete, but then the earthquake hit… before the semester was over… and suddenly the transition made so much sense. Then, twenty-four hours before the earthquake, God put it on my radar in order to help me absorb the news when it actually became a reality.
This is where I try to put words to the depths of the Father’s love for me. You see, I am an obsessive planner. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t do well with sudden changes of plans. It’s something I’m continually working on because I know that, no matter what happens, God is trustworthy, and has a good plan for my life. However, God knows that this is still an area of weakness in my life, so, in His great love for me, He equipped me to handle this news with more trust in Him than I dreamed possible.
So for all of you who feel like the earth beneath you is shaking, I want to encourage you to press into God’s love. He knows your needs before you even have the words to articulate them. I’ll leave you with a hymn and a promise: God loves you. If I were in Nepal right now, it’s the message I would be telling every man, woman, and child, and it’s as true for you as it is for them.
God loves you,
God loves you,
God loves you!