I saw it happen over and over again. Years ago, when I worked for a large missions organization, I loved to watch our missionaries head out to their long-term field assignments filled with fire and passion—certain they would see God move in mighty ways. What I didn’t love so much was watching many of these same committed servants of the Lord return several years later weary, discouraged, and burned out. Some were disappointed that God didn’t do everything they expected to see Him do. A few were even angry and bitter.
Then there were others. To be honest, they were the minority. But they were the ones who stood out. The ones who didn’t just press in through incredibly difficult circumstances—they flourished. They joyfully and tenaciously plowed hard ground year after year. They celebrated every small victory, even as they honestly grieved the very real losses and delays.
In short, they embraced the journey.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to miss where you’re going on the way to it? By that I mean sometimes we are so anxious to “arrive” that we miss the beauty of the journey. It is good and necessary to believe for breakthrough, and to purposefully move toward the promises of God, but the promises themselves are not the reward. Jesus is the reward. So often I find I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, when all the Lord really wants me to do is take His hand and experience the daily joy of walking with Him.
He wants me to embrace the journey.
But how do we embrace the journey when confronted with areas of gross injustice such as human trafficking? In this context, it can seem incredibly difficult and counter-intuitive. When you feel the enormous weight of issues God Himself has seared upon your soul … when you know the urgency of the need … when your heart is broken by the things that break His … you are compelled to act. If you aren’t doing everything you can possibly do, it may feel as though you aren’t giving it your all.
But is working ourselves to exhaustion and trying to move mountains in our own strength really what it means to give all?
If we attempt to invest our “all” in a cause, or in anyone or anything other than the only One found worthy, we move outside of heaven’s best. We move outside of heaven’s timing. Apart from the ongoing outpouring of love and grace that flows from divine partnership, embracing the journey for the long haul is not only difficult—it is impossible.
When Jesus ministered on the earth within the limitations of a human body, He didn’t try to do everything. He was aware of every issue, every heartache, every injustice, and every need, but He stayed focused on His specific call and mission. He only did what He saw the Father doing and He glorified the Father by finishing the work He was given to do (see John 5:19 and John 17:4).
If the Son of God Himself only did what He saw the Father doing, how much more do we need to do the same? But to only do what we see Him doing, we need to actually be able to see the Father. That takes intimate relationship and sustained connection. Jesus called it abiding. It is the fruit of time in His presence and in His Word. It is the fruit of ongoing surrender and trust. It is taking His hand each and every day and moving to the rhythm of His heart, engaged in the sacred dance of divine partnership.
And that, my friends, is the journey.
“Therefore,since we are surroundedby such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”–Hebrew 12:1-2 NLT (emphasis mine)
I pray your hearts are refreshed today as you fix your eyes on Jesus, take His hand, and embrace your unique journey!
NOTE: I wrote this for another ministry blog I’m connected to through the magazine I publish/edit (Voices of Justice). Since I haven’t had a ton of time to blog here in recent months, I thought I would post it here as well. 🙂