Journey just ended. I can’t decide if I’m ready for round two or if I’ve been hit by a megabus - either way man oh man is God good and faithful and the giver of the best gifts
Standing on the other side of a summer filled with depth, richness, abundant freedom, and holiness exchanged, I can confidently declare that God was and is faithful. It would be easy to take that phrase, and then pack up this summer in a brown box, and place it high on the top of my shelves in my closet in Birmingham with a label that says, J2015: rest & peace. Wow, that would just be the easiest thing to do. But God never calls us to easy, does He?
He’s drawing me back to old journals and prayers that were written this time last year. Desperate cries out to God for peace in chaos, for sweetness in transition, for depth, for immeasurably more. Verses and songs praising God for making a way in the wilderness.
Pages soaked in tears over confirmation, and smeared inklings of celebration that are covered in coffee that likely spilled from an over-flowing mug.
Through all the misguided and fumbling words there’s a ringing theme: confident expectation.
I was confident that the Lord would provide the right team of interns, even if I didn’t yet know of their depth, peace, and wisdom.
I was expectant that He would transform lives, but I never could have guessed the way He would use rain or butterflies to lavish grace upon grace.
Before Journey 2015 began, I stood with confident expectation, knowing that even if I wasn’t yet the right leader, He would equip me and provide me with the people I would need to spur me on to lead well. In that I could have never imagined the servant hood displayed through Jared and Anna, a teacher of the Word in Jordan, the advocate in Sarah Beth, the kind shepherd found in William, or the immeasurably more provided through Hannah. Standing on this side- I see prayers answered and God’s provision looking at me in the face, but in the midst of expectation, I had no idea what was coming.
Much like Moses before God parted the red sea- I was standing, trembling with fear, holding a stick in the air, praying that something, anything, would happen. Not fully sure what the result was going to be, but knowing that freedom would come and that people would fear God because of my obedience and my willingness to be misunderstood.
I read Moses’ story in Exodus, already knowing that the Red Sea is going to part, and despite Moses’ doubt and the Israelite’s fear, they will all be freed from Pharoah’s army. I know the ending, so understanding the faith it took to get to there, is easily over-sighted. I quickly forget all that God brought Moses through before He parted a massive body of water. I forget that he led a group of people out of a palace and into a desert- all without actually knowing how God was going to deliver them. I forget that in the midst of Moses’ uncertainty in leadership they were followed by over six hundred chosen chariots of Egyptians- fiercest of the fierce warriors.
Before the red sea parted and freedom was obtained, his faith wasn’t only tested and tried, but also drug through a desert and questioned by hundreds of hungry and afraid people- the very same individuals that he was called to fight for and on behalf of.
It’s easy for me to declare God faithful now, after I’ve seen all that He’s done. But, He’s calling me to look back on the season I walked through before I saw fruit of prayers prayed over and over again.
He’s convicting me of my doubt while in the wilderness. He’s asking me to step, in light of my doubt, into confident expectation, fully trusting and believing that He is my provider, validator, equipper, meter of my needs. He sweetly reminds me that I don’t have to fear the wilderness, but rather I can celebrate it because He is providing in ways that I don’t even see a need for provision.
So, I look back on this summer, in light of all that I walked through before May 23rd even arrived. I see God’s faithfulness to answer prayers that were spoken flippantly.
I celebrate because God knew what I needed this summer more than I did. I think this goes for all of us- we ask Gpd to use us to do mighty things, but when He calls us into the wilderness, we question His faithfulness. We cry out to him wondering if He’s going to provide a way through the drought. Meanwhile, He’s going before us, and sealing us in from behind. So today, I fall face down before him humbly, because even in my doubt and messiness- He provides transformation and grace and freedom. All I have to do is lift the stick in the air, and fix my eyes on Him.
As a staff we are headed into a week of rest and reflection- something that we have made a habit of doing yearly. This time often provides celebration for what God has already done, and anticipation for what is to come. So, as we take an active movement towards simplicity and rest in the coming weeks, we ask that you join us in prayer as we listen to God’s voice.