June 16, 2010
“God’s At Work!”
I just had prayer with our mission team who left for Meru, Kenya today. Rolly Correa is the team leader of our mission team of Jordan Holmes, Grady Newton, Joe and Scharlet Mikeska. As they departed I was reminded of a meeting at 4:30 am in the morning of a similar group who met in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church of Grapevine at this same time last year preparing for our departure to the same place. As I reflect back on that trip it was such a powerful experience of the mystery of God and life. Two months earlier Vicky Sartor, our program coordinator, had died. Her fight with cancer and death had really taken its toll on me. I was weary and very sad. I probably would have backed out of the trip because of that if I wasn’t already so committed to our partnership in Meru with Bishop Muriuki. So I went on the trip. Words fall woefully short to put a description to what happened to me in that mystical and moving place. I experienced through the trip a different perspective of God, life, the church, mission work, community, and just about everything else in my life and ministry. In that sacred space God healed me, loved me, renewed me, held me, spoke to me, empowered me, re-charged me, graced me, and led me in a way that I still have difficulty even describing. In a sense I was re-born into a life that now a year later is just hard to believe. I thank God everyday for a mission trip to Africa!
Isn’t that the way God is and certainly the way God works in our lives. What we so oftentimes fail to realize is that God is at work in each moment of our lives. Paul tries to remind us of such truth in Romans 8:28 when he writes, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Paul’s life and ministry offered such evidence of the truth of that bold and declarative statement. For two weeks in the summer of 2009 I experienced the power and truth of that scripture in ways I never had experienced it before. I was forever changed on that trip. My life has not been the same since.
God is in this here and now moment for you and me. Part of the reason I can say that with conviction is because I saw and experienced it first-hand in the people of Meru. They had nothing related to material possessions. They lived meagerly and simply. Now one would reason that they had every reason to be angry at God and curse God for their plight in life. I have seen that happen often in my ministry here in America. Something bad unexpectedly happens to someone in life and they turn against God and blame God and curse God. The people I experienced in Meru chose just the opposite response to their condition. They sought God out, trusted God more than ever, expressed their profound praise and thanksgiving for what they did have instead of cursing God for what they didn’t, they just sensed and believed what Paul wrote, God is at work in the world and that is all that really matters. I watched it in the way they worshipped, in the way they opened their hearts to we as strangers, to how they gave willingly and freely, to the humble acceptance of who they were and of what they had.
They humbled me there. They taught me that regardless of what happens in life God is still present working for good! I needed desperately to experience that truth and learn once again how to trust my own life and ministry to its presence. In Meru, Kenya I was reminded life is all about God and has very little to do with me.
I am somewhat envious of the mission team as they travel there to that special place with those special people. As they leave I am reminded once again that God is here and at work in my life and in yours. Related to our life and ministry here together that is all that really matters, isn’t it? I pray that I might never forget the reality of such truth as it seeks expression in and through who I am and how I live my life and ministry. God is at work! Praise be to God!
I will see you on the road,