Oftentimes, those inviting us into the life of faith in Christ portray it as a great adventure, and it is, but it's an adventure as defined by Him, and not us, and His definition can contain a great deal of dreary sameness, where life seems to be one long time of monotony, with the landscape around looking just the same as yesterday, and gives every indication of being no different tomorrow.  This can be so in a marriage and family, a job, and most certainly a ministry.  This is not where we want to be, not what we "signed up" for.  Worse, despite all our pleas and prayers, the Father doesn't seem to hear, doesn't appear moved to change anything about our circumstances.  Like the Israelites in Deuteronomy 1, we are camped at the foot of a mountain, and the mountain is not moving, and neither are we.  I have been in this place so many times, and you likely have as well.  How do we respond to it?  Humanly, it's so easy to become frustrated, angry, especially at Him.  We have questions that He doesn't seem at all inclined to answer.  We want to move on, but He keeps us right where we are.  What are we to do when we feel trapped in a place, situation, relationship or ministry that hurts?  I don't mean dangerous to us physically, or exposes us to abuse in a relationship, but that being there, being faithful, hurts, and more, seems to make no sense.  I can't speak for you, but I share what He speaks to me in such a place, and how I can respond in that place.
     I am learning that when "trapped" at the mountain, and the feelings of anger, frustration, feelings of hopelessness, and a great sense of futility arise, I can respond by first, asking forgiveness for harboring all these things that might be growing in my heart, and directly contradict His promise of faithfulness to us in every situation.  As He forgives, His cleansing and healing come to me.  The bondage is broken, the chains fall off, and freedom arrives.  Next, I can ask Him to pour out upon me an abundance of His grace, mercy, and peace in that place.  The difficulty of where I am is real, as is the pain that comes with it.  Yet, as I'm filled with His grace, His mercy, and His peace, they cannot control me, enslave me, and make me a victim instead of a victor.  As He did with Paul, He makes me victorious even when confined in a 4x6 prison cell,and chained between two guards.  Last, I can give Him thanks in that place.  Thanks that He has not forsaken me, that He continues to provide for me there, and that where I am is not where I will end up.  His path may well lead us through the valley of the shadow of death, but it will not leave us there.  He will take us through.  To the Israelites in Deuteronomy 1, He said, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain.  It's time to break camp and move on."  I, we, have no idea when that time will come, but it will come.  In His way, in His time.  "
     There is a prayer I have written down in my journal that I have come to speak to Him, and it is that when those times of monotony and sameness come to my life, my ministry, I would remember, again and anew, that my unchanging, but ever surprising God, lives!  That is the great adventure.  Not that our lives will be filled with excitement, but that they will be filled with Him, who when we are stuck at a place we don't want to be, are unstuck in our spirit, free, alive, and listening for His voice, knowing that one day, we will receive the call to move out and move on, with Him, in Him, for Him.  

Pastor O 


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   May 2019   
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