Open hands in a white-knuckle World

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”  Psalm 56:3


Click… click… click… You know that slow-building trip to the top of the roller coaster, white knuckles clutching the bar—the anticipation, and then the falling. Life lately has felt like that. I am not a huge fan of roller coasters and the one I am on now has been exhausting. Maybe you feel that way too?

Debbie Klynstra.

This past year we have walked through a move, a new school and community, then riots in our part of the country with a strong military presence—and now, a worldwide pandemic.

It’s also our furlough year, which has made this time all the more challenging. It is supposed to be a time of planning and excitement as we look forward to a few months at home to rest, reconnect, and replenish. But like the rest of the world, our borders have been shut down and there is no way off this island we live on.

It seems the news changes daily, and I can see my hands clinging to the grab bar not knowing if we will make it home this year. Even if we do make it home, the question of where to quarantine makes me tense. It’s hard to imagine asking for help from folks who are already stretched with their own roller coaster rides. And if we do make it home, will we be able to get back into the country in time for the kids to start school? So many unknown twists and turns, right?

In the meantime, fewer flights mean there is less maintenance work for my husband. Curfews mean there is limited time for me to get my shopping done—and more lines. Virtual schooling and lock down mean my kids are missing their friends. And, the threat of a spreading virus means frightened people all around us who already live in a challenging area.

But God… He’s redeeming this time and showing me that doing this together with the people we came to serve, for now, is making a difference. And, He already knows every corkscrew, every g-force and inversion coming my way; He’s on this ride with me. Instead of white knuckles gripping, I see my hands needing to let go of control. Open hands are much more useful.

How about you? What have you had to loosen your grip on?


Dear reader: The week that MAF was going to post this story, we lost a dear friend and teammate at our base. While feeling stress about whether furlough will happen is still there, in comparison, it just doesn’t seem as big anymore. You can read about my dear friend, Joyce, and the impact she had on so many.

Debbie (right) with Joyce Lin (2nd from left) and Sentani teammates after Joyce’s solo flight in Papua, Indonesia.


  • Theresia says:

    Terima kasih Debbie dan semua team yang melayani di Papua,tidak akan cukup terima kasih seluruh Papua dengan pengorbanan dan pelayanan yang sudah saudara/i beri. Saya berdoa dan terus mendoakan saudara/i sekalian. Tuhan Yesus memberkati, salam dalam kasih Kristus

  • Beth says:

    How can you be 13 hours away, on a different continent, in a foreign country, but still write the words that are in my heart??? What a beautiful piece Debbie- and is exactly how I feel: white-knuckling each day, when I should be looking to Him palms up. Thanks for the reminder…”But God.”

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