Thursday, August 25, 2016

Living with Opened Eyes

This post is being written in advance of a mission trip which will be ending about the time this post is published to the web. Of course, I am certain that I will have much to say and write about upon my return, but I want to take just a moment to provide a couple of thoughts which have already served as an encouragement to me as I prepare to travel.

First, in last week’s post, I mentioned the prayer meeting that was called by our church in order to pray over Susan and me before I left. As I was leaving one our friends pulled me aside and provided a message for me that was a great reminder as I set off on this adventure. The passage she mentioned was 2 Kings 6.8-23, but particularly Elisha’s words in verses 16 and 17. I have had some concern with this trip, but she reminded me that what God is doing is always greater than we can see, if we don’t have our eyes properly attuned to what He is doing.

On the day before my departure, I was preparing to grade a few last papers and when I logged into the system, I was greeted with Paul’s words to the Colossians to seek the things which are above and set our minds above as well. Now, the idea of seeking is not so much with our eyes here, but with our hearts, yet the passage does have a relationship to what we see or desire on the earth (see Colossians 3.1-4). Any concerns I have about this trip are because I am human and my focus is on the world. If I truly remember my identity is in Christ and focus on my calling and my placement (above), then the worldly cares will fade. Again, I need to have my eyes open – and focused on Him.

Finally, as I was making a visit with my mother before I left, she told me her verse for me regarding this trip. The verse Deuteronomy 31.8 which promises the Lord will go before the Israelites and will not leave nor forsake them. Thus they have no reason to have fear or be dismayed.

And neither do I. Like Moses old the Israelites collectively and then Joshua individually, I too must “be strong and courageous.” God would later say these same words to Joshua, and they are echoing in my mind loudly as I prepare to depart. Frankly, my fears may be overstated, but I am one who typically tries to be prepared by working through scenarios. In a few days, I suspect all of my concerns (and even fears) will be behind me. Regardless of what may happen, I do pray for fruitfulness for God’s Kingdom and faithfulness on my part. Upon my return, I will share of my experience through a different lens because my eyes have truly been opened as they have not been before. And my prayer then is that others will be inspired, encouraged, and even emboldened to join me with open eyes as well.

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