Today we all arrived on schedule in San Diego, all 28 of us, and packed the cars and headed for In-n-Out Burger, Target, and then the boarder. The greetings at the airport were filled with greetings of old friends and making new ones.
Once we were all gathered, fed, had last minute purchases, and made it across the boarder we were instantly transported into another world. The impact even after having made the crossing 5 other times still shocks me. This was echoed by others in the group. It is so easy to forget how much living in another country is different than in the United States.
But even without all of that, the work of God began in earnest tonight as we were challenged to look at emptiness. The text was from I Kings 19 where after Elijah challenged the Baal prophets to a God sized duel and God demonstrated his power and presence in a mighty way. Shortly after we see Elijah running for his life, ready to just give up thinking that he made no difference.
It’s sad that Elijah looked at success as people responding to his message when he should have gauged his success on having done what God had instructed him to do. So often we try to out think God and work towards what part of the plan we see. But more often than not, our part is a very small part of the bigger picture.
Again, God refreshes Elijah and sends him on his way. It was at this point Elijah was empty, looking for a source of strength.
I was reminded that sometimes we ourselves push the agenda that God has given us beyond where we are capable of going, but God always supplies what we need to get there.
I thought about how God prepared me for this mission, but having done this sort of thing before, I remember working really hard and falling short, until God provided that extra push to finish. But am I really ready for what he has in store next, or will I have to push to the breaking point and let God finish the rest. When we give up, do we go to God with that or do we abandon God?
Elijah set up the battle of the gods, but God was the one who won the battle. Elijah ran in his own strength, but it was God that helped him finish strong.
So, tomorrow we gather with our Mexican brothers and sisters, fellowship, and worship God in a language most of us don’t speak or even understand much. But God knows our hearts.
We all come to God from a different place. I was taught this by a child on Friday. I had put out a request for some baby / toddler clothes and one of the families in my home group responded. When I went to pickup the clothes, one of the children was standing there with his arm out stretched and a little stuffed bunny. It was a little worn and I could tell it was well loved by that child, but I wasn’t about to take it from him without his mother considering all the issues. As I was about to leave, she came back out carrying the little bunny and said that her child wanted this to go to another child that needed it. Oh such love I sensed in that moment. Here is a child showing a gift of love to someone he didn’t know, giving up his own joy in the hopes that another would feel love.
If we can accomplish even a small part of that sort of love on this trip it will be worthwhile, but in the end it is God who changes live and changes hearts so, pray for us and we will pray together that God will bless all that we come in contact with the love of Jesus.