peace

“Until You Reached This Place”

handwritten scriptureThe year was 2000. My husband, Mark, had quit his job (partly at my insistence) because he was literally pacing the floor in his desperation to get back to Japan (where we’d been missionaries years before). The Japan plan wasn’t clear. The financial plan even less clear. But the motive was pure. And…well, some things ya just gotta do. We would move to Cincinnati, share housing with my sister, and Mark would go on his first trip.

The Cincinnati landlord had his lovely house all cleared out for us—but he’d missed one thing. Stuck inside the master bedroom medicine cabinet was a yellowed envelope with these handwritten words:

“Deut. 1:29-31—Do not be terrified; do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

The landlord’s wife, who had written this, had died of a lingering illness. Stunned by this message from beyond the grave, as it were, I read it again carefully, thinking of how the words must have sustained her. But then a more personal meaning jumped out.

The Lord himself HAD always been with us. Even in “Egypt”—for ten years in our beloved but spiritually dark Japan. And he’d been with us in “the desert.” When we’d returned from Japan, we were in an emotional wilderness and an absolute financial desert—years of repercussion followed.

But the last line of the Scripture hit hardest: “The Lord your God carried you…all the way you went until you reached this place.” Wow. What sweet confirmation that the Lord was with us in our bold-but-rather-frightening current plan! I made an enlarged copy, framed it, and set it in the living room. Little did I know this living Word had further application.

In a few weeks, Mark embarked on what was to be one of many short-term trips to Japan. Less than three months later, he was dead. Another dark place. Another desert. And yet, there was the framed Scripture reminding me that the Lord himself had carried us…all the way we went until we reached this place.

I had taken those words as being about the ancient past, the recent past, and the present. I needed to claim them as an assurance for the future: the Lord himself is the Lord of this life—and beyond.

He’s able to carry every one of us…all the way…until we reach the next place.

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