The unfamiliar

Months ago my youngest daughter, who has quite a sense of humor, pulled me into the kitchen to watch a YouTube video. We laughed hysterically. Maybe you’ve seen it. It is of a 13-year-old girl giving a tutorial on how to use a curling iron. The lesson takes a certain twist, no pun intended. The poor girl’s hair burns right off and her expression is priceless.

Take a look here.

It is a funny video. And trust me, funnier to watch than to experience. I know.

Three weeks ago, in another country, using a curling iron that apparently didn’t have the correct voltage conversion, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the metal heated up. My expression soon paralleled the girl in the video as I looked at my hair neatly wrapped around the rod, now separated from my head, and turning black.

My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. I was completely flabbergasted and broke out in some nervous laughter as I thought about my months-earlier viewing with my daughter. I wish I could share my video with the 13-year-old. She would laugh hysterically.

Traveling often brings with it the unfamiliar, like different voltage requirements. This wasn’t the first time I was shaken by new surroundings in a new place. It can throw you off to see signs in languages you cannot read, foods that you cannot identify (I think I once ate dinosaur eggs), and body language that you cannot always interpret because the cultural signals are different.

It can make you long for what is familiar. And I am so grateful that when I am feeling uncertain, I know God is certain and familiar with me.

The following first four verses from Psalm 139 beautifully reveal God’s knowledge of us.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.”

What a comfort that is when we are uncomfortable.

His Word is also a comfort in the midst of uncertain places and situations. There is so much peace that comes from taking a deep breath and proclaiming those familiar words we know to be true.

On this particular trip it was Philippians 4:5.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Everywhere I went that week, I was reminded He was with me. I love the familiar.

Shelli Muldoon


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