A new year is about to begin, and with it comes the usual contemplation of what the next twelve months may hold. For Dave, the path ahead is clearer. He will put his incredible engineering skills to work on the fleet of MAF planes here in Uganda. There will, of course, be much for him to learn about MAF’s operations, not to mention this country which is simultaneously beautiful and alien, welcoming and perplexing. But his role is clear.
Mine couldn’t be less so. Other than a few tentative talks of potential areas I can help in, my next steps are far from mapped. That’s not a bad thing. It gives me time to get used to Uganda – how shopping and cleaning and travelling through the tumultuous traffic works. But it is a challenge. I’m a person who likes to know what’s coming so I can plan and process accordingly. At the moment there is a feeling of being adrift at sea, unsure of which way to turn to reach land. It’s a little unsettling, particularly after the whirlwind that was 2017. In the space of one year I published a novel, preached in nine different locations around the UK and prepared, packed and promoted our trip to Uganda. Not to mention actually moving 4,000 miles away from the only place I’ve ever called home.
It’s a shock to the system, moving from a life filled with necessary structure, to one in which the days are notably empty.
The good news though, is that where I sometimes feel alone I know I am not. As I lay awake one night I suddenly found myself thinking of a rowing boat. Though I strove to grab the oars and steer in the direction I thought was right, there were already strong hands propelling us forward. The rower smiled at me, perfectly at peace, and knowing exactly where he wanted to take me. In that instant I knew I needed to stop striving, and instead to let God open the doors to the opportunities he wants me to take, knowing that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
I don’t know what 2018 will bring, but I look forward to finding out, and I know that in all things I do, no matter how big or insignificant they may seem, that I am not alone, and that I am moving into the position where God wants me to be.
I pray that you can enter this new year with that same certainty.
Bring it on, 2018!