Three months ago, I moved across the world to Korea. Coming here was daunting to say the least – resigning from a job I loved, leaving a supportive work community and a loving church family, saying goodbye to my brother, relatives, my friends, and our pets were not easy. There were many tears shed. But strangely, through the entire process and transition, I knew and felt God walking beside me. Whether it was through conversations with friends and family or the myriad of details in the complex moving process falling right into place, God continually reminded me that He was taking care of me.
After staying up late into the wee hours of the night finishing the overwhelming task of “packing up my life” and making a long journey across the world, I got to Korea. After a few weeks of busily settling in, and before pangs of homesickness hit, I was reunited with my New Mercy family (Cambodia missions team members). I experienced God work in an epic way there but as I returned to Korea alone, sans my team members, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why am I here? What am I doing here?”
Shortly thereafter, the novelty of having time-off and being in a new place began to wear off and without work and without a community, I found myself struggling, asking myself, “Who am I?” While grappling with this question, one Friday night, I attended a prayer meeting. With the words of one particular song, God answered my question:
I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
You tell me that you’re pleased and that I’m never alone
You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
I hadn’t realized just how much I had identified myself by the work I did. And now, without any work, I felt like I was lacking value, without worth and devoid of purpose. The song deeply comforted me and in that moment, God spoke directly to me, in a gentle whisper, saying, “Grace, I know how you feel. I know the struggles in your heart. But your identity is not in your work, it’s not in what you do or don’t do. You are my child and I love you. That’s who you are. What more do you need?” As I sang the chorus over and over again, I felt like God was calling me into a season of discovering who I am in Him.
There is no doubt that for many in America, during the Easter season, we are bombarded with images of the “commercialized Hallmark” Easter: Cadbury chocolate eggs, sugar-coated marshmallow peeps. But maybe it’s the fact that I find myself in a new country during this Lenten season where there is an absence of this commercialized Easter. Or maybe it’s the fact that I have a lot more time to think and reflect. But this Lenten season, I have been pondering about what Easter truly means to me.
And to me, the lyrics of the song point to the meaning of Easter: love. At the cross, Jesus is God’s love poured out for us. He then conquered death to give us hope and life because He loved us! In dying on the cross, Jesus shared in the very worst of human suffering so that we couldn’t shake our fists at him, saying, “God, you don’t understand. You don’t know”; He knows what it’s like for us. But what’s even greater than the fact that Jesus knows, is that He cares. How incredible that the almighty God that conquered sin and death knows how we feel and cares about how we are doing. And how incredible that we are His children and heirs because of what Christ did for us on the cross.
That is truly reason for us to celebrate: We have a good, good father. He knows, He cares and He loves us.