I recently just got the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, Chile. It was AMAZING. No, actually it was magical. I fell in love with the food, the language, and the people. It was crazy seeing how two different people from two different backgrounds could somehow understand each other. I’m not going to lie to y’all though; the first month was actually hell. I was frustrated with the people who couldn’t speak/understand my language and I was closing off everyone who actually could understand. I pushed away anyone that I got close to and I was angry that I was with an all Christian group. I was in such a bad place going to Chile. I stayed in my room and hid instead of trying to fix it. And I blamed God. I blamed Him for my unhappiness. I blamed Him, because He wasn’t helping me. I prayed and He wasn’t listening. No one listened. I was alone (or so I thought). So, my loneliness turned into bitterness and depression. However, I quickly realized I was being a brat. I started going out more. I met new people and befriended the people in my group. I got involved with the people around me. I started talking to Vincent at El Teller (the coffee shop). I asked Lucas about his life. I became best friends with Francisco (my Spanish teacher). I had dance parties with Larissa, Geni, and Dani from Brazil. And I finally grew. I was able to see God as something more than a scary, all powerful being.
My group and I were very sad to come home (sorry parents). We wanted to stay there forever. It was kind of like our safe place. It didn’t feel real and we were afraid that the United States would be a little too real. And it was/still is. We let that fear eat us and distract us from the truth. That truth is and will always be that God is the same God that He is in Chile and will continue being the same God in the United States.
However, another person was distracted as well. His name was Peter the Disciple. Now Peter has had multiple doubting moments in the Bible (which gives me hope). But this doubting moment intrigued me the most.
Peter and the disciples were all waiting on boat for Jesus to come back from praying. It was around dawn and Jesus appeared in the distance walking on water (casual). The disciples were terrified (naturally). I mean it was a man on water! They all started freaking out thinking that it was a ghost, but Jesus reassured them and said,
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” -matthew 14:28
They still didn’t believe that it was Jesus, so, Peter said,
“Lord, if it’s you… tell me to come to you on the water.” and Jesus said,
So, Peter, walked out onto the water to meet Jesus. But he felt the harsh winds and the darkness envelop him and our good man Peter
“was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter. However He said,
“You of little faith…why did you doubt?”
That question gets me every time. “Why did you doubt?” And it makes me ask, why did Peter doubt?
A few days ago I got a call from one of my good friends that had been on the Chilean study abroad trip with me. We talked about our lives and school. I told her that I was conflicted in many ways because I felt like there needed to be something more. I told her that I felt like my life was missing something and I was searching for that thing but couldn’t find it. And before she could say something I said (verbatim),
Karlie, it’s not God that I’m missing. So, please don’t say it.
But guys, it was 100% God that I was missing. In Chile I got close to Him, because I had all my friends to help me. I heard the Word and saw the Word working through everyone. But I quickly changed back to my old habits when I got back to the states. You see; we were not afraid of the United States. We were afraid of losing that magical, safe feeling that we had experienced in the mountains of Patagonia or the sand dunes of the Atacama. It was our fear of the unknown that left us not wanting to leave.
It was the doubt that was sinking Peter and it was the doubt that was and still continues to sink me. I see God. He is there. And like Peter, I really want to walk to Him, but y’all I’m taking my first steps onto that water and I’m sinking. But the beauty of all of this guys is that even through our doubts our Father, our God, our savior STILL continues to pursue us. He STILL continues to love us. And He WILL continue to reach out His hands for us and save us from
este es tu lugar (this is your place)
And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King