I am sitting in a small square in Sarajevo. Somehow I’ve always had the urge to come back here, to this country which suffered so much in the recent past. Memories are flooding my mind. I brought my two sons here when they were children to run around and to rollerblade. They ran, played, raced, and shouted excitedly. I watched, sometimes worried, always prayed for their safety, and once in a while helped them with a game or refereed their competitions.
My Word contains hundreds of promises that are yours to claim. As you read, absorb, and claim those promises, you will see answers to your prayers that will cause your faith to grow. And as you continue to read, absorb, and claim My Word, I will continue to answer and inspire and provide.
It’s well known that in fiction, plots along the lines of “Matilda is happy, beautiful, successful, and will live happily-ever-after-forever-and-ever” don’t make the most captivating stories or become bestsellers. Even picture books for children need to involve some kind of tension—an obstacle that the child needs to work through in order to achieve his or her happy ending. Whether it’s a little boy handling his first day of school, or a little girl learning to share her toys, the story isn’t captivating if it starts off perfect.
Not even the dark clouds and gusts of the icy wind outside seemed as bleak and cold as my heart. As I pulled a saucepan from the cupboard, measured water and dried beans into it, and turned on the stove, my mind wandered, retracing the events of the previous weeks and months.
This earth life is commonly seen as one big highway, winding its way through plains, hills, mountains, valleys, and tunnels. I’ve encountered all of the above plenty of times, and I can confidently say that I like the tunnels least of all.
Those are the moments where the future is uncertain and the road ahead can only be known one step at a time. My situation over the past few months has involved a lot of waiting to see how things would turn out and a lot of cautious step-by-step moves.
The Christian life is made up of mountains and valleys. There are times when we’re on exhilarating peaks of joy and happiness. And then there are times when we feel demoralized, abandoned, and alone.
Think of when Jesus miraculously multiplied five loaves and two little fish and made enough to feed a crowd of 5,000 men, not counting the women and children!1 Imagine being one of the disciples distributing that unending supply of food! They were probably overflowing with the electric sensation of being part of a miracle. They must have felt like they were walking on air.
I first met Marina almost 20 years ago at a workshop organized by a Japanese NGO for Bosnian refugee women. She was warm and friendly and was definitely adding her own very original artist’s touch to the event, even though she was just helping these women make some simple greeting cards. A few years later, she accompanied two busloads of the same refugee women to Italy as part of an exchange program. That’s when I got to know her humorous side! She was always livening up the atmosphere with jokes, songs, and her full contagious laugh.
Recently two friends got in touch to let me know about some pretty major events that were happening in their lives. First, Ina called to share that her daughter had tested positive after being leukemia-free for three years. She had just received the heartbreaking news and was overwrought with emotion when she called.
Later that same week, Susan emailed me to say that her husband had unexpectedly been laid off. She was worried that they might have to give up their new house since they were depending on his salary to make the payments.