Sometimes I wish the faith journey was like magic – trust and love God, and “abracadabra!” – all is well, without troubles, tests, trials, or tribulations.
But the journeys of Abraham, Moses, David, all the saints (see Hebrews 11:36-40), and Jesus Himself warn against such magical “perfect life” thinking. Jesus, in John 16:33, assures us that “in this world you will have trouble” – so we shouldn’t expect a smooth journey as we seek to follow God wherever He calls us.
Neither should we be dismayed or disheartened when the road gets rough, but rather fully trust Him to be there with us.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
When Darren and Ashley came to Fayetteville they were seeking a new start for themselves and their 3 kids, but ended up homeless when their housing situation became unsafe. With a new baby set to arrive any minute and Darren starting a new job – they were helped with prayer, housing, clothing, food, and fuel to get settled.
Darren was a man of faith, realizing that God was answering his prayers for safety and housing. Like all of us he had a past, a past that meant his journey led back home to Central Arkansas to start over again.
I was praying for an immediate happy ending, that they could have stayed here and we could have paid for them to get a safe place. But that was not God’s plan. As we put Ashley and the kids on the bus back to whatever they may face with God, I wished that we could have welcomed them into our church community, shared with them the joy of their newborn baby, and walked the journey of faith with them.
It’s not an unhappy ending, but a temporary reality they will conquer with God’s help.
Setbacks and adversity challenge us to put our full trust in the presence and provision of a God who can use difficulties and u-turns to get us to where He wants us to be.
Magic thrills only for the moment, but love and relationship are there forever in whatever we face.
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.” -Psalm 40:11
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Jesus
Lord, we don’t always understand why things happen the way they do – why bad things happen to those that love you – but we know you are a God of miracles and mercy, faithfulness and love, and are forever with us. Help us on this winding road of faith, lead us not into temptation, but deliver this family (and us) from evil and despair. In the name of the One who carries us each step and gives us strength each moment, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Local Mission Coordinator