Early in the morning, Japan-time, I sat in a cozy lounge with some people I met barely 36 hours earlier, and found peace. These people, they don’t know my history, not all of it; they barely know my present, they hardly know the person I am, much less what I was, much less all that has come before.
And yet it was with these people, these pseudo-strangers, that I was washed with the peace and grace of God.
These past few weeks — oh, these weeks, I’ve been so lost. I’ve wandered in the dark through a cold forest, noises on every side, danger near and breathing down my neck.
I have been the farthest from safe, from comfort. From peace. I have floundered. Like a kid who learned to swim in a pool, thrown into the ocean for the first time. Yes, he still knows how to swim; but this environment is different, vast, terrifying, and so he splashes and kicks and screams and swallows water and chokes and cries and flounders. That was me.
Shrieking, crying, tearing at my hair — or worse, my skin — sobbing in the dark, desperate for someone to save me.
It didn’t even have to be God, is the thing. I didn’t care who came to save me, as long as someone did. It could have been God; it could have been a best friend, a coworker, a dangerous boy on a bike…who cares? If he’s willing to pull me out of the woods, I will take him, danger be damned.
Alone, lost, terrified, I boarded a plane to spend a week in Japan, ministering to children. I mean, what was I even thinking? I can barely take care of myself, much less help anyone else! What arrogance, to believe I could add to these kids’ lives when my own is such a shipwreck.
And yet. I digress.
I sat on a couch in a lounge in Japan, and without the help of instruments or a band or any outside paraphernalia, we worshipped.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…
The tears began slowly at first, a thought in the back of my mind: I might cry. My trust has so many borders, but oh how I long for them to disintegrate.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters…
That’s where I am, now, for the past months, for the past years: deepest waters. Floundering. Drowning. Sometimes treading water, sometimes floating, most often sinking.
And keep my eyes above the waters…
I see nothing. I see waves and nothing but waves. I try to keep my head up but I can’t, I’m alone and I’m sinking and I’m drowning.
The great unknown where feet may fail…
I am failing. And yet. In this moment, this worshipping moment in a foreign country with people who don’t know me…in this moment my eyes surface above the waves, I can breathe, I feel whole, I feel at home.
When oceans rise / My soul will rest in your embrace.
Here. The embrace is here. Home is here. I belong. I am not lost.
I've been in Japan for a little over 24 hours. I've been on two long walks through the countryside, where I marveled at how beautiful the landscape is. I tie-dyed a T-shirt, ate unfamiliar and delicious food, experienced God's peace and simply...lived. I've met people I didn't know, made friends, prepared for an intense weekend ahead.
And I look forward to what is to come. I definitely cried this morning, but it was a cleansing cry, a good kind. I thought for a second I'd been healed of my depression, because that's something I'm always looking out for.
I'm not sure that's the case, but I do know God found me here. He saw me, he showed me His love, and here I am. At peace. At least for now.