As of July 15,2019, we were officially migrant workers in Houston, Texas. We touched down in George Bush International Airport with just 10 suitcases of belongings. We had 15 days to find our permanent lodging, purchase our cars and one month to prepare the kids for school in Houston.
We had to re-establish our lives in the US in the shortest time possible but were not familiar with the bureaucracy and the system. We found that even getting the basic essentials like internet (yes, that is an essential), water and gas was an adventure. As I stand at the start of a new year, I look back at 2019 and marvel at His faithfulness and the exciting ride that I had just taken with Him.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
I had depended on Him to be my rock, fortress and deliverer in times of trouble. But a quotation from Tony Evans which was shared during one of the sermons in the church in Houston offered a new perspective.
“Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you can discover He is the Rock at the bottom.”
That quotation was very apt for me. 2019 was a year of trial, testing and uncertainty. It was through these challenging times that I learnt to rely on the dependable Rock that is our Lord. The first few months in Houston was a period of great adjustment, discovery and learning. Adjustment to the work culture and way of life. Discovering and learning the way things work here.
Things that locals know intuitively from the years spent growing up in America, I had to put in much effort to research and learn what to do. There was no simple answers to some issues like deciding which church I should go to, figuring out the health care system, credit score system for applying credit cards and resolving my first speeding ticket (my bad!). All these required much internet research and conversations with colleagues and friends. God is faithful and always provides an answer to the most urgent of our pleas (Psalm 86:6-7). Sometimes, it felt like I was mustering the strength of my entire body to swim to the other bank of a fast moving river and at moments when I felt I couldn’t make it through, I could rest my tired body on the Rock of my salvation and safely reach the other bank. I made it through 2019 through His strength.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14)
The Chinese church I attend in Houston has been going through Philippians as part of their sermon series and this verse kept repeating in my mind. What was God trying to tell me in my situation? In Phil 3:4-8, Paul shared that although he could have confidence in his own effort, things he once thought valuable are now worthless in the light of what Jesus has done. Yes in this foreign land, I need to “forget” the things that I had my confidence in and trust God to provide my every need. All my networks, relationships, experience and knowledge count for very little now and I have to walk by faith and rely on God to learn and adapt to the new surroundings. It is an adventure! Made all the more exciting because I knew who was my shepherd and guide.
As I look back at how far I have come over these 6 months. I have seen how the Lord has carried me and my family through the many unknowns. Each new challenge is a chance for me to rest upon the Rock whenever I felt helpless. My response as His beloved child is to strain forward to what lies ahead and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
By Tay Yong Thai (YCKC Bulletin 19 January 2020)