By Tina Teng-Henson
I have just spent the past two days in the company of saints. And the Lord apprehended me, showed me I was on holy ground, when I listened to their reflections.
I ran into an amazing individual I had the honor of first meeting 11 years ago, in a small group she led for those of us who were going through orientation for new staff. Years had passed, and we’d both long since transitioned from that organization, but here we were, a decade later.
As I sat in her office, and she reflected on her journey, how do I say this… it was holy ground. God had done something so beautiful in and through her life, and her words, her face, radiated wonder and joy. There was such wisdom in her reflections, so much refining and maturing that God had brought about through these years. I never expected to run into her on campus, but a chance pause by the side of the road, brought about by the fortuitous cancelling of late afternoon activities, brought it to pass.
The next day, at the end of the gathering, when we left in separate vehicles, I got to listen in on the journeying of a great man. He wouldn’t say he is a great man, but I do, because I know the kind of pain he’s walked through, emerged from. The details of our circumstances were different, but the feelings were the same, and my heart said, “I understand!” I marvelled at how the wounds we bear because of the ministry God has given us helps us become holy. No one wants those wounds, but I wonder if there’s any other way to become like the Son of God than to pick up the cross he gives us to bear. I don’t know that I conveyed to him the impact his story had on me as I departed the vehicle, but I sit here now, in the quiet of this airport, still feeling the glow of having been in the Lord’s presence.
I am learning, after a recent time of struggle, that I have misunderstood what this life is about. It is not about avoiding pain or hurt. That is inevitable. It is not about avoiding transition and change. These things are constants. Show me an easier way, Lord, I have often said in my heart without knowing. But that is not the hope he has for us. Instead he says, no, come, come away with me. It won’t be easy, but it will be good. And on the other side, you will be more like me.
Tina Teng-Henson has been blessed to learn + grow alongside so many different people, in so many places: Long Island, NY — Harvard College + the South End of Boston — Nairobi, Kenya and Lanzhou, China. Tina, her husband, and two children live in Santa Clara, California.