I realize I should be posting something about the Women of Joy conference right now, but considering the events the past few days, I feel I should elaborate. We, as a church are headed to Pine Ridge Reservation located in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. If you're curious then you're only a few clicks away from weather.com and seeing what kind of weather has been happening to Rapid City, not to mention, the rest of the country. This phenomenon has left some of us in Iowa, some of us in Denver, some of us in Minneapolis and as I write this, we're currently in Salt Lake City. The bravest of us are actually at Pine Ridge braving out some of the roughest conditions I've ever seen anyone trying to endure whilst in tents. So this brought up a question, we were all headed out to do the work of the Lord. Work we felt like He called us to do, and so we obeyed. So why all this "sidetracking"? Doesn't He want us there? We had all these plans, and now we can't do anything He told us to. Times like this can be frustrating. If you've ever set out to what you believed to be the Lord's will, and immediately had to take a detour, then you know this frustration, and you've given it a name, and most likely he's become you're best friend in your dashed and broken fantasies of ministry. He might be called "righteous indignation" or "justifiably confused".
You might be right in being mad or embarrassed or feeling like everything was for nothing. You might be right if ministry itself were what was most important. God is very concerned about people, especially you. Which is why ministry is important, but not the end. Ministry changes us when we do it, first of all to think of others, to become less selfish. It changes us when we begin to see that it is not us doing the work, but God, and we are allowed to see it. Think of how many miracles you might have missed before you got involved and began living for other people? (or if you don't now, imagine what might be passing you by, and you not know it). It changes us when we begin to trust God more, and no matter what the circumstances, we can see Him working His magic in everything. It changes others when they see those things that God has worked in us, like patience, humility, selflessness, and happiness that is unmoved by dark times. The end of God's work is what we become, what we are becoming, and who we touch with Christ's love along the way. What title you may carry, what importance you may have, what city you're in, what color your house is, are all exterior things on a work that is happening on the interior.
My encouragement, then, is when you set out on a mission from God, or if you're just headed to your car, and you are faced with a situation that changes your plans, and it seems to be most inconvenient, try training yourself to stop, and look for God's hand. God is not the author of confusion, but he works in calamity like an master painter effortlessly waves a brush over canvas. If you can see God's hand, and are brave enough to follow it, then you will be in full step with our Lord Jesus.
If you think about it, pray for the Eagle's Landing First Baptist South Dakota Mission Team (most likely the longest name ever for a Mission Trip Team). The people already there serve as a challenge and inspiration to me here in 60 degree Salt Lake City, wondering what God's plan in all this is.