This week a friend’s granddaughter headed out on a mission journey with other young people, then plans changed. Their overseas flight was delayed due to stormy weather – then news arrived from their original destination that cancelled their arrival. At the same time, another mission field opened up. Here’s part of the notification sent to family and friends following their journey:
“Often, when involved in ministry in the midst of this crazy world, we encounter situations that at first seem frustrating. Sometimes they force us to be flexible and change plans. Thankfully, in the end we can usually look back and see how God had his hand on the situation the whole time and was working it for his glory.”
“While this is an obvious shift in plans, we are celebrating the fact that God’s plan is bigger than ours and that we’re already seeing evidence of his hand at work. Now they will be able to engage in ministry sooner than we expected.”
On trips of my own, I’ve encountered ‘challenges’ that placed me where I met people I would not have under any other circumstances.
Once, headed to Cyprus on business, I left on a flight earlier than necessary just to make certain I had plenty of time to make the Olympic Air out of La Guardia. We were delayed at DFW, due to weather in New York, then circled for a long time over New York City before we could land. I’ll never forget the glowing clouds over the city, then the sweep to darkness as we flew out over the Atlantic. Over and over again. Landed, deboarded and reached the shuttle to the Olympic terminal – only to get stuck in a tunnel behind a car whose owner abandoned it while unloading. Didn’t make that Olympic flight and had to stay over night.
Had I made that flight, I would not have been in the airport the next afternoon to have a couple of hours to talk with a man from Macedonia.
Not the Macedonia of biblical Greece in Paul’s time, but the Republic of Macedonia of 1991. I heard of Kosovo and Serbia; of changes in the Balkans; all first hand. I heard of faith and trials; peace and violence; newness out of old. We shared our witness, not just of history, but of faith.
As Peter explain his trip to Cornelius’ home, the Spirit will lead:
And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. (Acts 11:12a KJV)
And at times lead elsewhere, as Timothy and Paul discovered:
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. (Acts 16:7 KJV)
Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Esther, Jonah, Peter, Paul – the list goes on and on – chosen to do God’s will in ways they never envisioned, in ways they never would have chosen. Yet each will be remembered for making their lives examples under the most difficult situations, in the strangest of places.
Are we prepared for change? Better be.