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Stranded in Paradise

Here we are, a YWAM family who flew to Guam for three short days (it’s now been 66 days and counting) to get our Taiwan visas renewed. Little did we know…

Strange Idea: “Stuck in Paradise”

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Being stranded is sort of like being stuck. And some people use the word “paradise” to mean “heaven.” So, this brings to mind an absurd idea, that of being “stuck in heaven.” Those of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus are supposed to look forward, with eager anticipation, to being in heaven, and being there forever! But being “stuck” in heaven? Why do we have this innate aversion to being stuck, or stranded anywhere, even if it’s heaven?

Many of us are stuck somewhere these days. Stuck at home, stuck in quarantine, stuck in a foreign country, stuck in a hospital… you name it. And we don’t like it, we don’t like it at all. We have few choices. We can’t go far. We feel limited, imprisoned. It amazes me how strong this aversion to being stuck somewhere—anywhere—actually is.

Stuck in Paradise: A Dream Come True?

You don’t believe me? You might be thinking, “Well, you don’t know where I’m stuck, but it’s certainly not paradise. Being Stuck in Paradise would be a dream come true!” It should be, but there’s something lurking inside each of us that makes being stuck, even in paradise, abhorrent.

Think of the first couple that God created. They were stranded. Everything they should have ever wanted was available to them in the garden. But they felt stuck. Limited. Unable to “be all they were meant to be.” So, they did what they thought would get them unstuck and raise them to an equal footing with God.

Liberation or Increased “Stuck-i-mess?”

Problem is, instead of being liberated, they got more stuck. They got stranded, and it wasn’t in paradise anymore! They got stranded in the abyss of having to live with themselves, and having to live with others. It shifted from being a “place” problem to becoming an identity problem; an “inside of me” problem.

Thankfulness: The Key to Getting Unstuck

One of the keys to getting unstuck is thankfulness. No matter where you’re stuck, there are things you can be thankful for. Many things. Another person? Sunshine? Health? Purpose? A sound mind? Even God. Yes, thanksgiving can be difficult. In such times, it becomes an offering—a sacrifice to the Lord [Ps. 50:23].

Surely you can think of one thing to be thankful for, no matter where you are stuck. After all, for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured crucifixion. He was thankful to the bitter end, even while stuck on a cross. And then, as we ponder the things we should be thankful for, we discover that a way is made for paradise to take root inside of us. The “inside of me” problem becomes an “inside of me” opportunity. With God dwelling “inside of me,” a certain piece of paradise becomes stuck on me, and stuck within me.

With God dwelling “inside of me,” a certain piece of paradise becomes stuck on me, and stuck within me.

Unstuck Imaginations

So, what does a blog like this have to do with Create Taiwan? Plenty. We need our imaginations to be unstuck from clichés and mediocrity, unstuck from the predictable and the mundane, while becoming stuck on a creatively outrageous God. For me, this inspires my imagination to be true to the “Create” in Create Taiwan, and, well… Create!

So, while the four of us are stranded in this paradise called Guam, we choose to think on such things. And no, I don’t expect you to feel sorry for us being “Stranded in Paradise.”

- Hans W., Create Taiwan Staff

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