by Megan Elmendorf—
For the past six weeks or so, I have been in a near-constant “go” state—between conducting mission trips to Maui, serving as sponsor on a senior class trip, and participating in another mission trip to Kauai. There have been many ups and blessings from these trips and the preparation time preceding them, but there have also been nearly as many lows, times when my soul felt so thin that I feared it would snap. (And feared even more that it would happen in the middle of a class with students who were acting like, well, high school students.)
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the conflicts and truths found in the life of Job. These recent lows drove me back into this story. As I read Job 5:7, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward,” and Job 8:21, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (NIV), I took note of the connecting word yet. According to the dictionary, yetmeans “though the case be such, nevertheless.” Observing such a contrast between these two yets, I decided to go down the rabbit hole (a common habit) and researched how many times the word yetappears in the Bible. It shows itself approximately 395 times; 28 of those appearances are found within the story of Job alone.
As I read through the lengthy list (I’m still making my way through it, and I encourage you to do the same should your soul also feel thin and fragile from work or life stressors), I felt my spirit lift. Verse after verse poured the salve of truth into my heart. Verses such as Judges 8:4, “Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it,” remind me that Gideon and his three hundred men were just as humanly fallible as I am, yetthey kept moving forward. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yetpraise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5, NIV) reminds me that there will bevalleys of shadows (guaranteed on this sinful earth) yetthe Lord will make a way where there seems to be no way.
Lamentations 3:19-26 and Habakkuk 3:17-19 reflect each other as the authors begin the verses with their afflictions then turn their focus heavenward with a timely yetand end the verses with praises to the faithful love of our Savior. Jesus also used the perspective-changing application of yetheavily. John 16:32 finds Jesus speaking of the times of persecution coming not only for Himself but also for His followers—but He ends with, “YetI am not alone, for my Father is with me.” Again, in Luke 22:42, as He is praying out drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane on His last night of freedom, He concludes His prayer with the words “yetnot my will, but yours be done.”
Life is hard. We are afflicted in so many ways. Our days are filled with routines that have their ups and downs, and it is easy to grow numb to a timely yet. However, we must readily reflect on the reality of who we are in Christ: “He [Jesus] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:11-13, NIV).
This world is not our home. We are called to use our talents and our time to be as salt, living truthful and authentic lives in such a way that our neighbors are drawn closer to our Almighty Father. Though it be difficult, clinging to the yetpromised to us by God will lighten our load as we are reminded in Jeremiah 50:33-34: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land.’”
Megan Elmendorf works as an educator and mission coordinator at Hawaiian Mission Academy on the island of Oahu. Originally from Tennessee and her home church of McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church, she has resided in Hawaii for two years after serving seven years in East Asia as a missionary.