When I was small, I learned something about balance. In order to avoid falling down, one is supposed to fix their eyes on a constant, external spot that isn’t moving.
I’m still loving this piece of advice. It tells me how to keep in balance amidst the never ending change and unexpected turbulence of life.
For us, there’s been particularly much of both lately.
Our evacuation, based on our employer’s risk analysis, took place two weeks ago, so we’re back in Finland again. We’ve been spending these days of quarantine in our family friends’ beautiful house a couple of hours’ drive away from where we used to live in the country. Later this week, it’ll be time to move again. Thankfully, we’ve been able to find out our next destination where we’ll be staying until we return to Ethiopia. This ought to happen as soon as the corona situation calms down, which might take months, though.
In the meanwhile, we continue studying the Oromo language by WhatsApp calls and exercises. So, this way at least, we can keep working towards our original goal despite our current displacement.
Although it’s been quite tiring, there are plenty of reasons for gratitude. For instance, it’s incredible how smoothly we were able to exit the country at a very short notice. We’re also grateful for all the care and love expressed by our loved ones during these eventful times. And most fundamentally, God has personally accompanied us on this roller coaster journey, being present throughout the whole process.
Yet, reflecting on our previous steps, I must conclude that even beyond these corona-caused events, the intensity of change has been momentous. Within the past two years, this was the fifth time we’ve packed up our stuff and moved, making our way across three countries on two continents. During this time span, we’ve also changed jobs, and I gave birth to our first child during the training period before we moved to Ethiopia.
As a friend of adventure, I’ve been embracing these wonderful steps excited about what God’s got for us behind each corner. At the same time, it’s been a process of dealing with my fears and letting go. Essentially, it’s been about learning to hold even faster to something that lasts.
But what is it in life that can really play this role of an unshakable constant you can fix your eyes on? Can it be another person? Yourself? Your home? Your job? Some man-made philosophy or a purpose you’ve constructed yourself? Health? Wealth? I doubt it.
The covid-19 crisis has shaken our concept of the unchangeable things in this world. The virus has put our health and even life at risk. Many of us have lost their income, and I’ve been cast out from my home. It’s been like an earthquake, causing the ground upon which we’ve built our houses and lives to shake.
There are good news, however. The Bible says in the letter to the Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) We’ve been created to hold on to Jesus with our full strength, and He will sustain us. There is really no one else unshakable in the entire universe worth building our lives upon. He is our hope.
“… let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12: 1B-2)
I took these pictures during the past two weeks of quarantine in Finland. They reflect the change we’ve experienced, while the Constant of our life never changes.