We've been back from the Dominican Republic for six days—it's been a tough week. My fellow D.R. missionaries and I have been exchanging emails recalling precious memories and lamenting the jarring landing into our "real" lives. We all want to freeze time to hold captive our experiences. We want to stay on the mountaintop.
When Peter, James and John went onto the mountaintop with Jesus and witnessed the glory of God at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17), they, too, wanted to stay in that experience. But Jesus had other plans and the next morning He led them back down to the valley. The moment they returned, they faced chaos, conflict and crisis. So much for savoring the moment.
It seems that God gives us our mountaintop experiences not so we can remain in them forever, but so we can return to the valley and share God's glory with others. So we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to the hurting, broken, conflicted and lost.
It's been an especially emotional week. My heart if full of joy and sadness. Contentment and longing. Assurance and anticipation.
When my family and I returned home from the DR, the first message we received when we walked in the door was that our dear friend and sister in Christ who's battling cancer had taken a turn for the worse. The sad news dragged us down from the mountaintop, back to reality. OK, Lord, we've seen your glory in the DR. Help us to bring your power and hope to our friend and our church family. In our sadness let us pray with the same assurance of your goodness as we prayed in our joy.
Please pray for our dear friend Kirsten as we storm the gates of heaven with prayers for healing.
After a long time away, I had the chance to go to the prison this week. It felt good to re-connect with the inmates. Imagine my joy when I learned they'd been praying for our trip to the Dominican Republic! Graciously they allowed me to share a bit about our experiences there and I once again was overwhelmed by their enthusiastic support. It's always a question how worship will unfold and this week God blessed us with one of the most powerful services I've experienced.
It seems like divine timing that this week I'm also attending a writers' conference. Last year this conference confirmed my calling as a writer. This year my heart is soft and ready to receive. As a "veteran," I'm branching out in the classes I'm taking, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, but most of all I'm seeing the wonderfully important job we writers have for the Kingdom. (My friends from last year's conference who aren't there...I miss you!)
Right now I feel God's presence in a big way, but it's diffuse and undefined. I pray God clarifies my next steps... and that I have the wisdom (and courage) to follow.
Where is God leading you?
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:21)