Two days ago, I posted a very strong rant (which I seldom do) in my Facebook about how much I hated this country.
I will not lie. Two years in the UAE and I still ask God why in the world did he bring me here? I see the ring on my finger and I know the answer to that. Still I ask God, why do I have to stay longer?
When I was a kid, I dreamed of exploring the world but the Gulf was never in my list. I had no idea how living in the Emirates was and now that I do, I still won’t dream of putting it in my list.
My life here in the UAE has been a constant battle between the values I grew up with and the values (or the lack of it) of the people from this region. Everyday as I go out into the streets I am like one big harassment waiting to happen. No matter how decently dressed I am or how invisible I try to be, my gender and my nationality is a magnet to all sorts of lewdness.
My husband has many stories of me running home and bursting into tears because of encounters with lecherous men. With all the filthy moves and foul words thrown at me, never in my life (and in my home country) did I feel so dirty and vulnerable as I do now.
I have very bad memories here, especially during the months before I met my husband. I have hidden all this hatred inside me that every time something indecent happens to me or to others, I explode with great fury like the greenness of the Hulk.
But today, through church, God taught me a very important lesson: The people of the UAE are my THORNS IN THE FLESH.
God gives us thorns which can be a blessing to us but also a test. These thorns may change you but not always for the best. You can either be bitter or better. What matters is how you perceive and respond to these thorns.
Everything that is happening to me now is with God’s permission. He is busy in making me weak. Why? Because when I am weak, that’s when he becomes my strength. He placed me in this country to sharpen me and to humble my attitude.
My job is not to make others good. That is God’s job.
When the Apostle Paul asked God to take away his thorn in the flesh, God didn’t say yes. Instead, he answered him with a promise…
I had been busy fighting the thorns of my life when God put them there for a purpose. I need not fight, all I have to do is surrender.
Forgive me, Lord.
A year ago, I wrote something out of my experiences here in the UAE and my sister made it into a song. I remember it now because it shares the same message. Here’s an excerpt.
(Enter stage sister: That’s my younger sister singing!)