“There is no way I am going to get on that plane with work to do!”
Well, that was my plan . . .
I have traveled to Brazil twelve times. I have experienced enough overnight flights, hotel stops, car hops, bus rides, additional meetings, and changing itineraries to know that I want to be fully prepared before I leave. Trying to add message prep to my usual schedule is like attempting to mix all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies while running a 5K. You can do it, but it’s going to be challenging.
This trip was going to be full. By my count, I was expecting to speak eleven times (it turned out to be thirteen between preaching, teaching, and small group meetings). So you can understand my angst as the days drew near.
Here is part of my journal entry from Sunday morning, August 19, five days before we left:
Not many days from Brazil & still no messages or talks prepared and I still owe class prep for MIN840 (the doctoral seminar I teach). Ahh!
My lack of production was not from sitting on my hands. Typical of all of us — there was just a lot of other work to do.
My personal worship time that Sunday morning was from Psalm 125,
Those who trust in God are like Mount Zion.
Mountains encircle Jerusalem,
And God encircles his people —
Always has and always will.
God does encircle his people. Here are a few pictures of the events of Brazil, but I want you to notice the last one — it is Shannan and I on the plane as we prepared to leave:
We were both a little weary, but delightfully happy. Together we had been a part of multiple churches services, two conferences, many workshop sessions, elder meetings, staff meetings, multiple side conversations, friendships made and friendships renewed. We had experienced long days and short nights. We had enjoyed the power of partnership and the sweet satisfaction of friendship.
In that moment, as we prepared to head home, we could say with the Psalmist,
God’s circling is always a hovering to help. Time and again the words that make their way to the pages of my journal are these: “God came through.”
Yes indeed. Always has and always will.
This powerful presence of God is not reserved for those who make long flights to foreign lands. It is for all of us, everyday folks with everyday challenges. And it is ours — no matter where we find ourselves today — because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Today, rest in (and operate out of) your ever-present, all-encompassing God.
God comes through!