Tuesday, August 5, 2008

People, Get Ready

There's nothing like getting ready for a trip, especially when you know you're going to be gone for a long time. Nine months. A year. Two years.

There's the little details like packing your bags... (Which clothes should I take? How many cans of hair spray can I legally take on board a plane? Is my luggage tough enough to withstand a severe beating at the hands of an imprisoned ape?)

Then there's the aspect of saying good-bye to loved ones, which can be extremely difficult. We've all learned some lessons about this from the movies we've watched as children, and now, somehow, it just seems wrong unless we part with loved ones on a train station's platform.

Still, in the midst of packing toothpaste, peanut butter and socks and saying goodbye to loved ones it can be easy to forget the spiritual aspect of what we're in the middle of. This isn't the same as loading up your car for college, it's not the same as leaving home for a week for summer camp. The fact is, that God has called you to serve him for a year overseas, and this stepping out in faith is a spiritual action, and it's important for us to be prepared spiritually for what he is asking us to do.

When Joshua was about to take the Israelites across the Jordan River, it was an important moment in their history as a people. God had promised them the land across the river, and forty years earlier they had said, "This is too hard. We can't follow God into this place." So He sent them out into the wilderness for forty years. He took care of them there (fed them, gave them water, made sure their sandals didn't wear out), but He told them that only the children (plus Joshua and Caleb) would be allowed to enter the promised land.

Now they stood poised to enter... a place not unlike where you are today. God has called you to someplace you never expected. You've stepped up and said you will follow Him and already He has been stretching your faith as you've raised support, said good-bye, explained to your parents why you have to go, and now you're packing up for the plane ride.

At this turning point in Israel's history of following God, Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5, NIV)

I think this is wise advice for us as we prepare for our time together in Colorado, as well as our time on stint. The Lord consistently shows up on stint and does amazing things. The number of people who have heard the gospel in the last several years through the faithfulness of people like yourselves is truly astonishing. He is going to bring new brothers and sisters into the kingdom this year. He is going to show you dark places in your own heart you didn't know existed, and shine his bright light into them so that you can embrace his healing and transformation. He -- the God who made the entire universe, the ocean, the land, the stars and all of humanity -- is going to meet with you as an individual and show you His love.

It would be wise then, for us, as people who will be standing in the presence of the Most Holy One, to make sure that we are sanctified, set apart and pure for our Master.

Take some time before you get on that plane to make sure you are holy, useful and ready to do whatever good thing the Master may ask of you. Spend some time in prayer and reflection and commit your self and your year to Him.  Let's not make the mistake of preparing all our physical goods for the journey without preparing our hearts.


Jessica T said...

I love this blog!! This whole blogspot . . . thanks for your reminder Matt to get our focus straight. I have to confess my mind and heart have been all over the place!

And in regards to your e-mail, thanks for the reminder about water. It's TRUE! I remember throwing up last year in the middle of the night and feeling sicker than I ever have . . . possibly ever. But a lot of water and whatever medicine they had there helped.

Matt Mikalatos said...

Hey Jessica! I'm glad you're going to be in Copper. I look forward to seeing you.