“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:9)
Last week I found out that I had an opportunity to teach some classes in Stuttgart, which is about 40 kilometers north of Reutlingen where I live. Since I haven’t had much work lately of course I was thrilled! God had answered my prayers. Which was my first thought, immediately followed by my second thought which was, Oh no, that means I have to take the train! (Gasp) The last time I taught a class in Stuttgart I was fortunate enough to have a car, but this time I knew I wouldn’t meaning I would be forced to take the train I had managed to avoid for over a year since I moved to Germany. I have these irrational fears that I’ll take the wrong train and end up thousands of miles away from my intended destination, or worse, on some deserted island with no food or water! (Gasp again) Nevertheless, I wasn’t left with much of a choice in the matter. It was either take the train or go broke. Needless to say, I chose the former.
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Some of you might be thinking, public transportation isn’t really a burden, after all people do it everyday and most of them survive. But whatever, I’d never taken the train alone and I was nervous.
There was a lot on Monday’s agenda. I would take the bus to the main station in Reutlingen, then take the train to the main station in Stuttgart, then from the main station in Stuttgart I would walk to the library to get a library card (I needed some books for an upcoming research report on Vietnam), then from the library I would walk back to the city center and try to find this American Store (which ended up being a total bust resulting in a blister on my toe). From the American Store I would walk to the Berlitz center where I would teach for three hours. After teaching I would take the subway back to the main station in Stuttgart where I would wait for my train to take me back to Reutlingen. Once in Reutlingen I would hit up my favorite Vietnamese restaurant for a much-deserved steaming bowl of Pho (highlight of my day for sure). And finally, I would walk about a kilometer to my first recovery meeting for alcoholics. Phew, I’m tired just typing all that.
I kept trying to rehearse the week over and over in my mind, planning for possible contingencies and whatnot. Then I stopped and instead turned my focus on God. I found peace in knowing that he would strengthen me and prepare me for the day ahead.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5)
So what if I didn’t end up in Stuttgart, but instead in Austria somewhere (highly unlikely, but you can see the irrationality behind my rationale)? It wouldn’t have mattered because God would have been there to steer me back in the right direction.
Monday came and it went, and I survived. The only hiccup came when I unintentionally sat and watched my 4:16pm train back to Reutlingen load up and leave the station (long story, don’t ask). Instead of panicking, I casually walked up to the closest attendant and in my broken German asked when the next train that could get me back to Reutlingen would be. 4:31? Change trains in Plochingen. Great, only 10 minutes or so to wait. I got this. Well, that train was late causing me to miss my connection in Plochingen, so I had to wait another 15 minutes once I arrived in Plochingen and then I would finally be on my way back to Reutlingen and to that giant bowl of Pho I’d been dreaming about all day.
The point is. I had made Monday into a molehill. I built it up so much in my head that instead of meeting the day as it came, living it only once, I rehearsed the potentials troubles repeatedly causing myself more stress than was necessary.
But God transformed my fears into confident trust, and for that I am so incredibly grateful and amazed. With you there is no mountain I can’t climb. Amen!