Monday, July 22, 2013

At the Edge of Berakah

"When the worst thing happens- whether war or flood or disease or famine - and we take our place before this Temple (we know You are personally in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that You will listen and give victory.

And now it's happened..." 2 Chronicles 20:9-10 The Message

I've heard often in ministry, "You preach the sermon YOU need," and I'm feeling that old pastoral adage deeply. Let me explain: a few days ago, I took my friend and frequent mission traveling companion to the airport. As we made our way to that familiar territory she related a variety of things about the trip had unexpectedly changed, including one of the team leaders had to cancel at the last minute for emergency health reasons, (which meant his wife would also not be going). Her first report after the team's arrival in the field included additional interruptive happenstances.

I encouraged her with truths found in the Word; the Lord took Gideon's army of 32,000 down to 300 (Judges 7), as well as one of my favorite passages of Scripture telling of a battle faced by King Jehoshaphat:

"We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

She took note of the passages, and I also shared news the team leader of another organization (on a medical trip to Central America) had to undergo emergency surgery while still in the mission field. Their leader had been alerted to a potentially dangerous health crisis just days before he was to board a plane.

When we are out of our comfort zone, lacking resources and at the edge of ruinous circumstances, God shows up for His people. I assured her, "He did it for Gideon, He did it for Jehoshaphat, and He'll do it for you! Go forth with singing, the worshipers went before the warriors!"

"After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes they were to march AHEAD OF THE TROOPS, SINGING, Give thanks to God, His love never quits." 2 Chronicles 20:21 The Message

What began as fortification for a friend, became the sermon I needed. The first email I opened this morning related the team leader who had surgery in the mission field last week, passed away! "WHAT?!" I couldn't imagine what my friend (who has now assumed some of the responsibilities for the team) would face in the coming hours and days! I started praying.

The second email I read was from my counterpart in Tanzania, adjusting the schedule for our upcoming return in just over three weeks! What?! Anxiety gripped me. The ministry has NO FUNDING! We don't have airline tickets or visas or curriculum prepared. I don't know what to do, but...

"...they found more loot than they could carry off - equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away! On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Berakah) and blessed God (that's how it got the name, Valley of Blessing)." 2 Chronicles 20:25-26 The Message

It's day one - I know our God goes before us in battle. I know in times of disappointing details, disastrous death, and desperation He is faithful, and HE will get all the glory!

YOU are a part of the choir known as Sunshine After Rain, here are a few of the lyrics for our songs of praise (and prayers):

For the family of team leader, as well as the medical mission team still in Central America, now faced with grief and logistics

For the team in Greece, working the fields to make in-roads with the growing refugee Muslim community

For the leadership in Tanzania, working to make the arrangements for our ministry

For the hundreds of women, Sunday School teachers, lay-leadership, and Maasai villagers who are anxiously awaiting our arrival

AND

"Don't forget to pray for ME! Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, The Message that I ...am responsible for getting out." Ephesians 6:19-20 The Message

Up early, ready to march and getting the Choir together
Smiling too!


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