"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14)
|Following our guide across one of many bridges. Metaphor anyone?|
I usually smile in reply, but think to myself, Yeah you probably could.
I’m not a remarkable person. I didn’t bring any special skills or extraordinary fitness with me into the Canyon. As I see it only three things separate the naysayers from me—a desire to try, some training and a belief that I could do it. (Of course, financial resources and basic health/fitness are also necessary.)
|At the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Ready to start our third day.|
- Why do we erect fences defining what we can and cannot do?
- Why are we so quick to doubt our potential?
- How can we be so sure if we’ve never tried?
I have a distinguished history of doing just that—not with physical challenges, but from spiritual ones. Deep down (and not so deep down) I’m a spiritual scaredy-cat.
|How'd we get from there (top of picture)|
to here (bottom of picture)?
One step at a time.
… lead a Bible study.
… pray out loud.
… teach a class.
… go on a hospital sick visit in a ministerial capacity.
… go into a prison
… speak at a podium
… go on a mission trip
… have a story published
… sit with a dying friend
… visit with someone I don’t know, whose language I don’t speak and pray with them.
Each one of these doors I kept firmly closed, but Jesus patiently stood outside knocking, “Will you come out and follow me?” “No!” I replied. But He didn’t go away.
For some reason in each of the above instances I cracked open the door of possibility—and eventually said “yes." But why?
I’m pretty sure it’s not because I’m eager to make a fool of myself (and I'm quite sure I have). It’s not that I felt qualified (usually the opposite is true). And it’s not even that I believed I would succeed. The only thing I know is that in my heart I desire to be a follower— not a sitter-on-the-sidelines—of Jesus. I want to run the race and I want to run it well.
To do this often means training in new and sometimes painful ways. In ways that work neglected muscles, build strength and increase endurance—slowly, one step, one “yes” at a time. As I've traveled, I believe Jesus speaks these words to me, and to all who doubt or hesitate, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Where we are weak, He is strong.
What doors do you have firmly shut with a resolute, "Who me? Never!" Where do you need a new vision to see what's possible? What physical or spiritual muscles need a workout? Jesus is waiting. Will you open the door and follow Him?
In a little over 24 hours, I’m off on another adventure…another leg of the race. This time I’m headed back to the Dominican Republic for my second mission trip there.
On Wednesday at 3:15 a.m. my kids and I will join 36 others in the parking lot of our church and board a bus bound for Newark airport and ultimately Santo Domingo. Some are “first-timers” who are probably filled with the same anxieties, questions and concerns as I was last year. Others are veteran DR missionaries who are on their sixth, seventh or eighth trips. But all of us are fellow runners who’ve bravely said “yes” to God.
For ten days we’ll continue the work we began last year (building a church in Haina). We’ll conduct medical clinics, home visits and VBS. We’ll reconnect with old friends and make new ones. We’ll sing, worship, pray and play together. And we’ll live in community with one another as we work side by side, mano a mano—living, breathing stones in the body of Christ.
I’m so excited to get there. I’m excited for my kids who are thrilled to be going back. I’m excited to see how God works in us and through us all. Will you pray for us?
I hope to post periodic updates from the house where we’ll be staying. Last I heard the internet was down. Check back throughout our time away.