Listening to: Kolohe Kai – Paradise
I was listening to prayers being prayed over my family and myself for the next part of our journey. People who I love dearly were praying for God to bless our time, for God to reveal Himself to us, for God to help us grow closer as a family. That’s when the weight of these next six months really settled on me… My good, good Father has already blessed me with the opportunity to live in this place, to rub elbows with locals who have captured my heart, to explore the beauty of these islands that He created.
That night I realized that we have a chance to allow our six months in Hawai’i to be a flag in the ground kind of moment, we can use this time to call upon the Lord for wisdom and direction and ask for our hearts and eyes to be open to His plan for us here. I won’t have a schedule and I won’t have many responsibilities, both of which I can use as an excuse to not spend time with God.
On the first morning in our Airbnb rental, I was acutely aware that we’re standing on the precipice of the next phase of our journey—maybe even our lives. I was wondering what kind of work God has planned for us here… I was worrying if He even has work for us to do here. I was wondering what that work is going to look like… I was worrying if we would even hear Him as He called us to the works He has prepared in advance for us to do. I was wondering why God even allowed us to come here in the first place… I was worrying about wasting this time away for our own benefit, rather than using our time for the benefit of God’s kingdom.
I was sharing my thoughts with Luke and he mentioned that we could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.
I was reminded of the Israelites, who were rescued from slavery and led by Moses to their promised land. Their lack of faith led them on a long detour in the dessert, but God still fully provided for them and fully sustained them…
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.
Then people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
~ Exodus 16:4-5, 13b-17, 31, Numbers 11:4-6, 18-20
After they complained about wanting to die in a land in which they were enslaved, after they spoke about their delusional longings for the food they received while in slavery, God laid manna on their desert land every morning they needed to collect it. God provided and sustained them. He proved Himself to be all they needed while they waited entry to the promised land. But that wasn’t enough. They grew tired of God’s perfect provision and they wanted something different—they complained against their provider and sustainer for something different! God gave them something different, he gave them quail in such quantities that they would come to loathe what they thought they wanted. This made me think about our manna and our quail…
At the end of these six months, we could look back on our time in Hawaii as our manna or we could look at it as our quail. We could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.
Our feelings about these islands will be greatly impacted by what we choose to do here—which is where all of our struggle lies. We know we want to experience this place and take full advantage of God’s allowance for us to be here—the extraordinariness of this opportunity is not lost on us. We also know that we will only get the most out of our time here if we allow God to make our plans and allow Him to impress them upon our hearts.
I don’t know what God has planned here for us, but I do know that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” I have faith that God will allow us to accomplish something during our time here that will be fulfilling to our souls.
And I don’t want to see Hawai’i as my quail.