Should I take French or Spanish? It is a weighty decision for a seventh grader. The responsible thing to do was to take Spanish because there was a growing Hispanic population in our area. But that is not why I chose Spanish. I made the decision in the typical seventh grader way: Spanish was more fun. The French teacher was strict and constantly drilled grammar and vocabulary. Students came out of her classes with glazed eyes and French accents. They whispered in French to each other in the hallways. The Spanish teacher, on the other hand, had weekly taco parties. By the end of the year students had mastered the words "enchilada" and "burrito". All the cute girls took Spanish because the teacher was also the cheerleading coach. To top it off, my best friend Noel was taking Spanish. Not only was Noel a cheerleader, she was hilarious. Which did I want to do: learn a language or hang out with cheerleaders, be silly, and eat tacos? The decision was ridiculously easy.
How could I know that I would one day move to France? Oh what mighty consequences there are in decisions made by twelve year-old boys! Had I chosen differently I would know how to order a meal, count change, and read the street signs in France. But now I must learn a new language after speaking nothing but English for almost half a century. Woe is me!
I am on my own.
|"Bring him back to me you will."|
|He might be a relative...|
Two weeks ago my wife Janet noticed a young woman sitting by herself during our church service. The young woman was new to the area and was checking out our church. When Janet mentioned that we would be moving to France the woman smiled and said, "That's interesting, my husband is fluent in French! In fact, I am sure he would love to teach you!" And so he started private classes with us. As we spend time together my tongue is starting to make the right sounds. I am beginning to understand French. Along the way we are becoming friends.
I am learning to trust God. He has asked me to move to France and when I despair of learning a new language He proves he cares about me. He provides in unexpected ways. Following Him is not always easy. Nor is it always fun. Sometimes it is endless drills rather than taco parties. But it the end, following Him is absolutely the best way to live. He surprises us again and again with His faithful provision and care.
The apostle Paul wrote of times that he enjoyed seasons of abundance, but he also wrote of seasons of great hardship. There were times of joy and times of discouragement. Through it all God was teaching Him to be truly satisfied in Him. That is the secret of contentment that he wrote about in Philippians 4:12-13. As Paul reflected on what he had been through he wrote, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." While Paul was never faced with my situation, I am convinced that "learning French" is included in the words "all things."