I love learning about new cultures. But one thing that this trip to Southeast Asia is showing me yet again, is that although the world contains its cultural differences, the people in the world are really not that different. Everywhere I go, there is love and laughing; there is pain and despair and things we don’t understand and will probably never understand. My time in Cambodia was heartbreaking at times with its level of poverty, especially in rural areas. Some of Thailand’s kids, like my little friend Dtang-Mo, need more than just English lessons every day — and they are so adorable that it hurts. To the southeast, our neighbors the Philippines have been slammed by “super typhoon” Haiyan, which has killed and displaced thousands.
The struggles extend beyond Southeast Asia to the rest of the world, to America, to North Dakota, the oil boom, friends and family, my home, your home, everywhere.
That’s why I like this poem I’m going to share with you. I stole part of it from a decorative sign at a Minnesota lake resort last summer. I liked it so much that I recently did some research about its origins and in doing so, stumbled across the rest of the verses. I’ve learned that it is actually a hymn based on poetry written in 1919 by a young woman named Annie Flint Johnson.
Some stolen inspiration for you:
What God Has Promised
God has not promised skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through
God has not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain
God has not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe
He has not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God has not promised roads smooth and wide
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide
Never a mountain rocky and steep
Never a river turbid and deep
But God has promised strength for the day
Rest for the labor, light for the way
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love…