“O Lord, You have examined my heart, and You know everything about me.” –Psalm 139:1
Yesterday was a big day. We had our last service at the church we planted over a year and a half ago, and it was the big climax to two and a half years of missionary work in South America. This week I leave Ambato, and next week I leave Ecuador. As things come to a close, all of our emotions are out of whack. Our church gave us an amazing goodbye service yesterday. On top of it all, I had the privilege of preaching, and God proved to me once again that He will never leave me or forsake me.
The most impactful thing for me yesterday wasn’t in the videos or the dances or the beautiful letters. It wasn’t in the eyes of the children or the tears of my friends. All these things meant the world to me, and I will carry those memories with me forever. However, yesterday God reached out to me in the most unexpected and beautiful way through one of my disciples.
The service was just beginning, and Juan Carlos came up to me and handed me a little jewelry box. “This is from our Bible Study to you,” he said and quietly waited for me to open it. As I slowly opened the box, I saw it: a beautiful shiny elephant necklace. “Thank you!” I said with tears in my eyes. He smiled at me, gave me a hug, and walked away.
What he didn’t know was that this was the exact same necklace I had spotted over a year ago in a store and I fell in love with it. It was kind of a strange desire for me; I’m not really a huge fan of elephants, but for some reason this necklace caught my eye, and every time I walked by it over this past year and a half, something inside of me always thought, “That is so pretty.” NO ONE knew how much I loved that necklace; it was simply something that I kept inside.
But you know what God showed me yesterday? He showed me that He knows me and He cares about the things that I like. Like a true lover, he notices the things that draw my attention and make my eyes sparkle. There are some promises that I have been waiting to receive for a long time; things that are difficult to wait for and not become anxious about or lose hope in their fulfillment. Time and time again, God has said to me, “Not yet,” and I know that it is for a reason. Lest my heart become bitter, the lover of my soul gave me something yesterday that I believed too petty to ask for, but He proved to me that He knows exactly what I need and that He cares about what I want. It makes me smile to think that He can use shiny elephants to remind me, “I have not forgotten. Keep trusting.”
Thank you, Jesus, for surprising me once again. I know that I am just beginning to understand Your love for me. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.