Have you ever wondered why life can’t just be SIMPLE?
Why can’t life be like connecting the dots?
I look back in my life and see what a crooked road it’s been. Yes, I’ve lived a great life and God has been soooo faithful, but I look at all of the turns my life has taken up to this point in my life. I definitely can’t say it’s been a straight path, but in the midst of the crooked turns, there has been portions of my life on a straight road.
So, why can’t life be one straight highway? Why does it always turn at the the most inopportune times in life?
Reading in Exodus, I believe I have stumbled upon that answer.
If I was Moses, stepping out after having gone through all of the plagues and the stress of convincing a hard-hearted Pharoah to let the Israelites go, I would have thought as I took the steps of freedom that, “ok, now life is going to get easier!”
Wouldn’t you have?
Well, that’s not exactly what happened.
“When Pharoah finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through the Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “if the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led them in a round-about way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17,18
Thank God for crooked roads!!!
God knows that we will have to trust in Him through all of the turns in life. If it was all one straight path we could easily put everything on cruise control and be in control and not depend on Jesus to be our sustainer, but I wanted to encourage you that through this journey maybe God is doing some refining by putting you on the crooked road to depend on Him and not yourself.
Do you think that maybe also God may lead us the long way around so that we don’t face the danger that may lurk if we took the shortcut? Could it be that this “long” journey you are on is to protect you?
Let me give you an example in my own life.
I have been a part of a ministry about two miles from our church at a manufactured housing community called Shannon Valley. About three years ago, our church had been doing ministry every once in a while. After going to Mission Arlington the summer of 2010, God used that opportunity to speak to hearts in regards to an ongoing ministry opportunity to build a ministry there on the campus.
We knew it was what God wanted. We had to decide do we continue to do “spotty” ministry every so often or do we bite the bullet and see if we could do a weekly ministry. We moved forward as a team asking the management at that time if they might have a home we could use to do an after school program and do ministry in the community.
At first, they were against us coming in. We were disappointed, but continued to pray and seek. In October of 2010, we began a weekly ministry on Tuesdays and Thursdays providing an after school program along with a clothing closet. Man, what a victory!
We were pumped and excited! We had great plans and thought in no time, we would have a significance presence on the campus at Shannon Valley being able to minister to the needs of the community.
That is not the way it happened. Through the course of these last two and half years, we have gone through five different managers and each time a new manager came on, we would have to build up trust again, so a cycle began. There would be times we would have no kids for our after school program. Most of our initial team took on other ministry opportunities at the church and so we began to wonder if we heard God right. There were many times, we had the conversation about just hanging it all up. We could get our Tuesdays and Thursdays back and we could back to a normal life.
The interesting thing was though every time we had that conversation about quitting, God would bring someone in the community center as a reminder of why we were there. God used a drunk guy one particular day. We were five minutes from closing and here comes a drunk guy. God used a drunk guy to say, “STAY!”
There have been countless opportunities to minister to the needs of one and many. Now, we have been at Shannon Valley for two and a half years and guess what? We are still there! Being faithful through the crooked, long road has allowed us to build trust to a once drug-ravaged community. Hope is being restored through the incredible managers at Shannon Valley: Donny and Deliliah–talk about a God story!!!!
We get to minister to kids after school through simple things like listening, praying, playing a lot of the game “Sorry”, Ninja and kickball. For a period of time every Tuesday and Thursday, it’s just a great opportunity to be in their world.
Plus, God has opened up a door for us to buy some homes to maybe offer some transitional housing. This could be a huge opportunity to help people in genuine need! Along with this, we are getting an opportunity to help provide furniture and other needs to the residents. Last week, I received an email from a sweet lady who asked for prayer for a family that was about to move into the community. One of the children in this family has cancer. Here’s the thing though, this lady who asked us to pray….we had never met! Isn’t God good! (Thank you Ms. Sherry!!!)
I could write a lot more about the simple stories that have happened as could Jennifer Grant and Pam Harris(feeding the community during Thanksgiving with the help of generous Foundation members), but I say all of this to say…..for the last two and a half years we have been on a wild and crazy road. What we thought would be simple has turned into heartache, laughter, but most of all God-sized stories that we could not have dreamed up, but it took so much time for us to realize that it’s all up to God. Through all of this, he has
- taught us how to be patient
- taught us how to wait on Him
- taught us how to pray and stand in faith
- taught us to look for God in the small things
- taught us to realized it’s not about us
- taught us to let God do what He does best: Change Lives.
So, you may be on a similar road that the Israelites were on. Please know that the road to the “Promised Land” will probably not follow the short cut. This journey you are on is one determined and planned by God himself and He wants to teach you through this.
Also know that you may be someone’s Moses! You may feel pretty unqualified but join the ranks of us who feel the same way. You are to lead them out of their Egypt.
It will be difficult, but He will be your Provision if you let Him.
- You will be tempted to “go back to Egypt”.
- You will wonder if you made the right decision.
- You will have bad days.
- You will laugh (at yourself) a lot.
- You will step in camel poo.
- You will encounter wonderful people.
- You will feel inadequate.
- You will experience God.
- You will be changed as you follow Him!
As you come to the next bend in the road, know that as a believer in Jesus He is not just with you on this journey, but He is in you on this journey–He really will “take the will” :)…..just remember He knows what He is doing even though it may be a long journey.
By the Way….Some big things are in the works for this ministry and we are hoping to take this ministry to other communities as well! We have a group of 5th/6th Graders coming from Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas coming our way to invade this area with the Gospel in July through the L.I.T. Ministry….check out http://www.preteenmin.org
*I am a die-hard Keith Green fan. Keith Green was a musical genius but was also a musical prophet. The words of his songs are powerful. This song, “So You Want to Go Back to Egypt”, is funny but also has truth in it as well. For more info., google Keith Green and check out his stuff. He died in a plane crash in the early 80’s. My brother introduced me to his music and am grateful.
Blessings! God has a plan!