of faith & the fourth…

On this day when we’re celebrating the birthday of the United States of America, I’ve been thinking more about some of the freedoms we enjoy. One of those is the freedom of religion, where we can worship as we please without being persecuted for it, like in China. Yes, I know we could talk about how some of that freedom is being curtailed by those that believe in the “separation of church and state”. Just a reminder, but that isn’t in the Constitution, it was in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend.

But amidst all the red, white, and blue decor in our house, I’m just grateful that I have my Bible to run to, when I’m in need of comfort. Of course, no one can ever stop us from praying, because you can do that silently and at any time. I am free to pick up the Word of God and delve into any part that I want, and just soak it in. No need to look over my shoulder, expecting someone to arrest me for my beliefs or for even owning a Bible. Don’t take this freedom for granted, there are people that would thank God to have a page or two from a Bible, but can’t even get that.

I’ve only been up here for about two weeks, but until you make some friends at church, or find a Bible study or sports team to get involved with, you can be quite lonely. Even among a crowd, if you don’t know anyone, there can be an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It can slap you down, lower than a physical blow, and no amount of “it’s all in your head” will improve it.

Instead, I’ve been reading in the Psalms, and commiserating with David, though I’ve obviously never gone through anything like he did. He was running for his life from Saul, and then going through battles and tribulation, after he was king. How can my life possibly compare to that? And yet, I can still read where he says, “Why standest Thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest Thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalms 10:1), and feel like that’s applicable to me. Sure, He’s actually there by my side, at all times, but don’t I just act like He isn’t, feeling like He’s left me alone and unprotected?

However, this is the same God that David prayed to, saying “And they who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.” (Psalms 8:10)

I have yet to figure out whether my diet is affecting my brain, or if I’m just having a pileup of homesickness (for home in SC and in AUS), loneliness (at times), or if this is my time of testing. I need to make sure what’s going on in my head doesn’t affect my work, do my best on the job, and continue to look for the Lord’s assistance in all that I do. It can be quite overwhelming, but not too much for the Lord Jesus to handle, when I remember to hand it over to Him.

While I continue to wrestle some of these issues, I will continue to give thanks for this great country that the Lord allowed me to be born into. I give thanks that my Bible and study books are available at every turn, and that I can freely attend whatever church I please. And I am extremely thankful for all the Christian friends and family that the Lord has provided me with, who pray for me, and look out for me. Friendship and family are great blessings. And so is a great country.

Thank you, Lord, that I live in the United States of America. But most of all, thank you for being with me, always.

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