We arrived back to our city of Palangkaraya at just the wrong time—smoky season is in full swing. This is the ugliest time of the year and one we expats have learned to dread. Fires to clear land for palm oil plantations are raging in the surrounding forests, creating a great cloud of smoke and ash that blots out the sun and makes a normally vibrant and beautiful place appear dull and dreary.
In addition to the smoke-choked air and dreary days, we find ourselves readjusting to the realities of life here—the heat, the foreign language, the blaring cultural differences, the aching loneliness for loved ones we had to say good-bye to (again), and, for me, the everyday struggle of just getting dinner on the table. I’ve already heard more heartbreaking stories than I can take—stories that remind me why we are here but that also leave me feeling overwhelmed, wondering how I can even begin to help.
My trials are few and small compared to most people here in Indonesia. And yet, after battling the many tiny, daily trials of life here, I find myself feeling so weary and vulnerable— utterly broken and in need of Jesus. Trials of many kinds are guaranteed for every Christian regardless of where God has placed him or her, but the point is not that there are trials in life— the point is that God brings us through them. And as we come through trials both big and small, He creates a beautiful testimony of His grace, love, and power in us for others to see.
I’m reminded of my weakness as we readjust to life here and endure yet another smoke season, but I am also reminded of God’s presence—His willingness and desire to walk alongside me, even carrying me at those times I am feeling too weary to go on. May I, in my brokenness and weakness, remember to turn to my loving Father for strength, and may others see Him in my life as He lifts my head.