The beauty of growing up is that our world gets bigger. We see things we couldn’t see before, and we see old things in new ways. I am interrupting the series on thinking like a child, because today….this is how I am thinking.
In the last five weeks, my wife and I have covered a lot of geography. More than covering geography, our world has gotten bigger.
In the last five weeks, we have gone from Texas, to California to Michigan, to Colorado, and will soon head back to Texas.
In California we were a part of a conference with an international ministry reaching out to hurting people around the globe. The vision and the people were captivating, and very God-like. The Coastal highway was also captivating, and also very God-like. It stretched on seemingly endlessly, and the beauty, though constant was never the same from one mile to the next.
Back to Michigan, we spent time at a big church in a small town. I could quote numbers to you, but when I say big, I mean their hearts and vision, much more than seats filled on any given day. Riverside Church in Three Rivers, Mich. is changing the world they inhabit, and in many ways, they are doing so, simply by inhabiting. They allow God to inhabit them, and then they just leak everywhere they go. Lives and neighborhoods are being transformed. Because they are people about filling hearts, they fill seats.
God gave us a fun surprise connecting us for the Fourth of July with a friend from Texas, who also happened to be visiting family very near to where we were. It was a meaningful time of connecting more deeply hearts that were already connected. His family property consisted of acres of well tended nature. A river ran through it.
Moving north we spent time with my family in Kalamazoo. These are the people who have known me the longest, and I suppose then, they are people that I have known longer than anyone else. It was a sweet time of relaxation and laughter. Oh, and hamburgers!!! The farm was beautiful.
From there, Jackee and I went north and spent two peaceful days on Mackinac Island. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island, so bicycles, horse drawn carriages and feet were our method of travel It was a bit like going back in time…somewhere, if you know what I mean. We were surrounded by the Great Lakes, and a culture that was deeply familiar to my soul.
From there it was “cousins dinner” with my sister and her daughter, and my cousin and his family. Again, these are people who have been in my life a long time. Two days with my mother and her man, Mark followed, and the time was relaxing and enjoyable.
And then, my thirty year High School Reunion. This was an event I had looked forward to, and dreaded at the same time. Who I was in High School and who I am today, seem to have so little in common, other than the fact that we inhabit the same body. (of course even that looks a little different than it did thirty years ago.) I wanted to go not so much to see specific people but to see this new version of me in an old context and discover just how new I am. I ended up enjoying lots of people and not thinking very much about me. I guess this is proof that I am different, because the old me was exceptionally self-conscious. I had tons of fun, re-met lots of people and was reminded of lots of memories.
From there we jumped time zones again, passing through Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on to Colorado, where we are are staying with an amazing family in Lake City Colorado. (This, and Ouray, should be on your “I-should-see-this-before-I die” list. And make sure you plan enough time to really “see”. Here it is possible to look for an hour and still not see.) The beauty is truly beyond description. The family we are with and the connections we make through them are uniquely God-guided. The places we have gone with them, stretch your visual perceptions beyond your ability to take it all in.
Yesterday I spent the day with a local pastor helping out at a nearby christian camp.
I know this sounds a bit more like a travel journal than a blog. But, now for the blog part. Here is what I have learned.
God is winning. He is WAY further ahead than we might think. If we only see our immediate circumstances, it is easy to think with David, “why are the unrighteous winning?” Well, they aren’t.
First of all, the presence of God, in the geography we crossed was over-whelming. You know how superlatives can begin to leak? I really mean OVER-WHELMING. It reminded me of my smallness, in a good way. What I saw over-took me. It helped me to know that the task at hand, (changing the world) is in very capable hands, and they are not mine. The God who can craft with a breath, the California Coast, and the Rocky mountains is certainly capable of overcoming human damage, and restoring His Kingdom on this earth. I like Him being so big.
More than all this amazing geography, the biggest thing I saw was that God has His people positioned exactly where He wants them. From the President of an International ministry, to the local EMT, who doesn’t really know, yet, that she is really a pastor, God is up to something. In every one of the above locations, I encountered God’s people. Placed, positioned and prepared to be Him in the place and moments He intended. These are people who are changing the geography they inhabit. Loving and acting in the very real arenas of human existence and suffering, God moves through them, without them trying to sound like Christians.
God has leavened the world, and if I only see my little corner of it, I may think He is behind on His job. I would be wrong. I am encouraged.