In today’s message of Hope, Ana Bates shares that quarantine has given her a lot of time to think and process the disappointment that comes with leaving the Race two months early. Ana says that we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them. We can choose to continue to seek God and we can choose to continue to grow. Each day we can choose.

I am back in America! All of the World Racers were sent home early due to the traveling risks with the Corona Virus. This week has felt like a whirlwind. I just arrived home on March 19, so I am finally able to sit down and process a little. That is one good part about quarantine! I have a lot of time to just be still and reflect on what God has done and work through the emotions of returning to America. So, I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you as I process!

In the past 9 1/2 months I have been to 10 countries and 4 continents. As I have traveled around the world, I have seen deep depths of brokenness. I have seen people live through things that are unimaginable. I have seen sickness, extreme poverty, young girls who used to be human trafficked, children without parents, people without homes, people working so hard to be heard from different gods, people isolated in a leper’s colony, and Christians who have risked losing their physical freedom or families to follow Jesus. To be honest, I was overwhelmed at times and found myself wishing I had not seen these things. Once I saw it, it demanded a response. I could ignore it and still have it in the back of my mind for the rest of my life or I could choose to do something about it. After seeing these things, I don’t think my life can ever be the same, at least I hope I don’t let it ever be the same. I think as a human, I want to be safe and comfortable. When I first became a follower of Jesus, my main concern was to be comfortable. I just wanted to be saved and live a comfortable life and never have any problems. Well, I quickly found out life doesn’t really work that way. As I have grown in relationship with Jesus, I have found that He calls me out of my comfort and worldly safety. There is evil in the world and brokenness. But behold, JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD! As His children, we have His light in us and get to take His light, love, and truth to the darkest places of the world! I have found that as Jesus takes me out of my comfort and as He calls me to die to myself, I really find more joy and get to live such a fulfilling, exciting life! Yeah, it’s not comfortable and may not seem safe in worldly standards, but it’s so worth it! As Christians, whether we physically live or physically die, we get Jesus and He is everything! He is life! Nothing compares to His goodness. He is the only thing that will truly satisfy.

As I traveled, and saw the brokenness, Jesus helped me to see the good that He is doing. I saw just as much good in each country as I did brokenness. Where people are being human trafficked, there are people fighting hard to love and rescue them. Where there are countries that are considered more unreached to the Gospel, I saw believers rising up. I saw people taking in children who have been abandoned. I saw people reaching out to people who live in the slum areas. I saw close communities, strong families, beautiful creation, strong church bodies, beautiful culture, abundant joy, and people loving others well. I was reminded that Jesus is the light, and no darkness can overcome Him. I was reminded that He is working around the world!

As I sit here in my room in America, I am reminded that this is a country that has brokenness too. I see that my God Who is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore is also working in this country. I think I have a choice to make. I have the light of the world inside of me. I am a daughter of the One true King. My Father is doing a beautiful work of redemption everywhere in the world! Am I going to choose to join in wherever He has me? Am I going to choose to lose my life each day to in turn actually find it? Today, I choose to say, “Yes!” I ask Jesus for help to not run from the uncomfortable things or dark parts of the world. I think it is really just a daily surrender of my life and finding so much more in Him. I ask Him for help to have a softened heart and to daily choose to surrender. There’s no way I can do this in my own strength. I am so thankful I don’t have to!

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20