I stand on two opposing shores, straddling the ocean beneath my feet. I feel stretched, pulled, ready to rip apart at the seams. This tug of war between my worlds is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Neither side can truly claim me. I am not African and there are too many parts of me that never want to be. But I am also not American anymore. At least not in the ways it matters. I am somewhere in-between, sampling the luxuries that one world affords while grappling with the ever present pain and suffering of the other. I try to hold one in my hand and the other in my mind. Don’t forget the life you are returning to, I tell myself. Though you feast on caviar Monday, you will eat crusts on Tuesday. Don’t forget…
But how do I truly prepare for such a change? No other generation in history has tasted such extravagant luxuries as have I. Nor have very many in my generation tasted such desperate need. As the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, my mind strains to comprehend the realities of both.
I find myself afraid that I will not be strong enough to handle the change. Can I really bear the stretching?
You see, comfort has an unfortunate way of anesthetizing. And I am no more immune to it than the next man. I do not desire to know pain in this life. I do not want a hard life. The reality I am about to re-enter simply terrifies me. I do not know what is coming. I do not know what hardship will await me in the next few years. The only thing I do know is that I want Jesus. And if suffering was the path chosen for even Him, how then can I desire anything else for myself?
In this moment His promise anchors my wavering heart:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
You are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.