Two American sailors are stationed in London and decide to got out for a few drinks. They have a few too many and drunkenly stumble out into the foggy night in complete disarray. They spot a man passing by and ask him, where they are. The man happens to be the Master General of the British Royal Navy and is outraged at the two’s lack of respect for his prestige. He says to the two emphatically,
“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?”
One of the Americans quickly replies, “Uh-oh. We’re in trouble now. We don’t know where we ARE. And he doesn’t even know who he IS.”
This comical story is an amazing illustration of me a few years back. Take away the drunkenly stumbling into a high-ranking British official, pretty sure that hasn’t happened, and you have a young boy who was trying to teach and reach others, while simultaneously being unsure of anything himself. I saw time and time again the “truth” that was needed in others, while in the meantime I had no capacity to see the same truth needed in myself.
Skip to February of this year, I was at a job fair for teachers in Boston, Massachusetts. When offered the position to my current school, despite the location and distance, I was completely convicted in my heart and soul that part of God’s plan involved me coming to Abu Dhabi. I have sensed, even since I was a child, that I was being pulled towards something. I sensed that all the steps I took were in preparation, stepping stones towards continual meaning. My conviction was steadfast these past few months… until I arrived in the UAE.
Quite suddenly, it was as if the path I was meant to walk had blown away like the desert sand. It felt as though I was on my own to forge ahead, attempting to move in the right direction. Back in Philadelphia I had people to turn to, friends to lean on, mentors to guide me, but they are gone now. Not spiritually, but physically, they are no longer there to support and anchor my endeavors on a day-to-day basis. Not in a lonely voyager sense, but in most ways its just the Big Guy and I. Once again, I felt like that sailor. Groping in the dark for answers about myself, while attempting to clarify for those around me.
Was I ready to be on my own in my spiritual journey? I need more time, I thought. I’m not trained as best I could be to suit the current environment. I found myself saying, I need to find a mentor, or that I needed someone to give me guidance and direction. What I didn’t realize was that I had been given the course already. I had been given the path and the plan – maybe not the whole plan, but enough of it.
Recently I heard a podcast by Ravi Zacharias, a well-known apologist of Christianity. In the podcast, he spoke on how we continually look and strive to be moral but do not accept from where our laws of morality come1. We look around us in confusion because all the absolutes and definitives of our world have been taken away. There is no right or wrong, no wickedness or evil, no truth. And so, we are at a loss for answers and the atmospheres we live in are too foggy for direction.
While I am blessed to have lived this life of mine, I realize that I have spent much time groping in the haze of uncertainty. I have wandered aimlessly hoping for something to appear, and because of that I have missed out on many remarkable things that were mere moments from my fingertips. I may not be a 100% sure why I would be given such a trail to follow, I see more and more clearly each day that the mold of ‘The Mentor’ that God is shaping for me, fits perfectly. My physical environment may from time to time be clouded with sandstorms but in my heart it is clear as day.
There are times in our lives we must be led, and times that we are called to lead. But no matter the role, I thank God that when he prepares a burden for the back, he shapes the back for the burden1.
1 Ravi Zacharias, ‘Preparation and portrait of a prophet’