“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
January 2, 2017: I am sitting outside, in the dark, not 50 feet from a babbling brook, racing across barely visible rocks and boulders. The rapidly moving stream speaks to something deep within my soul.
God, the Creator, knows me so so well and for this, I am most thankful…
Prayerfully, I sit, eager for morning so I can get a clear look at what lies before me, yet thoroughly enjoying the sounds heard in the quiet of the night. The prayers begin with my gratitude for a safe arrival to this destination, despite a crazy start to the day. They then focus on family and situations I am desperate to see resolved. Abba Father knows my heart and reminds me as such by gently moving me past the burdens on my heart. Again, I hop from wave to wave of gratitude for He who knows and cares for my needs.
You see, I took this short trip into the mountains on what I believed to solely be a mission for God – and it surely is! However, God decided to provide me an opportunity to spend much needed time alone with Him, away from things pulling me to and fro, daily, through this mission trip.
Though it be a very brief respite, it is one that will help make things well with my soul. In the dark of the night, brook side, I thanked Him whole heartedly for the finances to not only provide for others in a minimal but heartfelt way (I spent an entire day baking), but going before me to find the perfect recipients. Not only missional provision, also money for fuel to drive the 300+ miles to Gatlinburg, Tennessee from Cincinnati. But He did not stop there! He pointed me toward a wonderful, affordable hotel room when I was prepared to car camp. An added blessing for me specifically, God set aside a day of hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and provided for new gear!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1-3,6)
Deep in my mind’s eye, that place where I believe our spirit man and God commune, lives a sense God prepared the way for this trip specifically so I could explore new territory. As the prayer flowed like a stream that night by the brook, God’s thoughts simultaneously pour into my mind. I recalled the Prayer of Jabez and how this trip was part of a past message received before relocating. God has “indeed blessed me, enlarged my coast (territory for ministry); His hand is always with me, and He has kept me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” (Paraphrased from 1 Chronicles 4:10) It was God’s hand that sent me to Tennessee; he set my foot upon this place once again in life, putting it on my heart for ministry.
A Father’s Love
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” (1 Peter 2:9)
What the Father reminded this daughter of, as she sat humbly in awe of how He cares for her, is the fact I am “royalty.” I am the daughter of The Most High God. I am set apart and part of a royal priesthood…and that I am not second or fifth in His eyes. I am the apple of His eye! Knowing fully I am not truly worthy of such abundance, however, I am obedient and that comes before sacrificing in God’s eyes.
In this case, I was obedient to the call he put upon my heart for this mission, before the wildfires in Gatlinburg were no longer ablaze. He instructed me to set aside upcoming time off from work around the holidays, to go. I honestly wasn’t certain what he expected so sent up prayer for His divine guidance, and boy, did it rain back down! He set the date, stamped my heart with the blueprint and I did what was necessary (work) to make it happen.
In the process, God fulfilled a heart’s desire of mine by taking me back to The Great Smoky Mountains. These glorious mountains were a vacation destination with my great grandparents across several summers of my childhood. I longed to revisit and get to know this favored childhood place; to create new memories. Now, I feel privileged to serve the Lord and his children at once in this beloved place. What an amazing way to begin 2017…with fresh memories and experiences to move ahead with. Happy New Year!
Prayer: Oh most amazing Abba Father, how could your children every repay you for the beautiful way in which you love us when we need it most. I find no other way honors you more than giving you my everything. You sacrificed so much for us…how can we not obey your every whim set upon our hearts? You are a most glorious power and I bow down before you, trembling with adoration and reverence for how perfect your touch is. You give the most beautiful gift by showing us how to love others as you do, Lord. By teaching us to minister to those in need of just a touch of your robe Christ Jesus! Thank you…I am so not worthy but am grateful you see me through your love colored glasses. I praise and honor you with my life. Amen!