When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
The Lord has greatly blessed me here in Ukraine. The brothers and sisters I have been blessed to meet, the Bible studies we have been blessed to share, and the spiritual edification of one another – a surpassing weight of glory.
I am going to miss this time, this place, these people. I already am, in many ways. This did not affect me nearly as strongly last year. Last year I had the confident expectation that I would return here for my 2nd year of study. I was excited to go home of course, but I was not worried about never seeing Ukraine again. This time is different.
My return ticket to America is booked for June 8th. I have no plans, no convictions about returning to Ukraine beyond that. There is a desire to return, if only to visit, but that is out of my control. All of this is actually out of my control, which is a wonderful thing. My current consideration for ministry is to remain in Texas for the humanly-foreseeable future. (Just how far can a human foresee the future? Proverbs 27:1).
I have been spending time in Proverbs lately, reading a chapter and memorizing a verse every day. Today, as the 23rd of the month, I focused in on these 2 verses:
Don’t let your heart envy sinners,
instead, always fear the Lord.
For then you will have a future
and your hope will never fade.
“Hope” in the Bible is always used with the meaning of “confident expectation of the future”. Of course, the value of hope is based in its object, and not in the subject or the hope itself. If our hope is the LORD, and in His WORD as He has revealed it to us in the Bible, then our hope will never fade.
Notice the contrast in this verse between the present and the future. Obviously, the time in which you would envy sinners is in the present. “Fear the Lord” is a command to fulfill in the present. The promise is a future and an unfading hope. The sinners do not have this hope, and they do not have this future.
There is also a contrast here between the visible and the invisible, as in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (expect to hear more about these verses soon), and in Colossians 3:1-4. We are commanded in Scripture to focus on the invisible.
We have assurance, a confident expectation of the future, because we are trusting in the Lord who knows the future.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
In other news…
We have MORE SNOW! The snowfall began Friday, has continued hard and strong all through the day to Saturday. More snow has fallen in the past 48 hours than the entire month of February. Vova and Lena have apparently been praying for Siberia, and God decided to bring Siberia here to them.
I don’t expect to see much snow next winter, so I am trying to enjoy it now while I can. With lots of hot chocolate.
(EDIT: I found some numbers on some website, so I’m sure that they’re totally accurate. 50mm of snow fell on Friday in Kiev. The monthly average for March is 47mm)
In closing, here’s a picture of a pig.