There is a good old Texas Country song by Texas’ own Willie Nelson humming in my head these days, “…on the road again, going places that I’ve never been….” I’ve been living this song, literally, over the two and a half years, running across our four district states, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, 444, 000 square miles in all. There have been moments of risk, like the time when we were midway in a 40 mile empty stretch from Refugio and Victoria Texas, and Eddie, our District Multiplication Director, who was driving and intensely focused on our conversation, when he suddenly looked at the gas gauge and realized we needed gas immediately. We found a gas station on an off road about 15 miles away. It was a risk, but we took it, and we found a tiny Texas town whose name sounds more like a pasta dish, Tivoli, with one gas station and, of course, a Dairy Queen. Yes, a Dairy Queen! We had a sense of, both, relief and joy at the end of that risky detour. We were relieved to get some gas and joyful to grab some ice cream. This tiny 1.1 square mile town is “a needle in a haystack” in our more mammoth district region. A town with a population of less than 500, but, if it needs a gas station and a Dairy Queen.
There have also been moments of unexpected beauty. On one of our many road trips to West Texas, expecting the usual landscape of dry and drier deadness, I found that there is more beauty there to behold if only one pays attention. On our way to Lubbock from El Paso, along US 180, through the Guadalupe Mountain range there I found a scene of unexpected beauty. At one point, we saw, on the left, wild horses running in packs, while on the right was the 8750 foot rock fortress peak of the Guadalupe Mountains, called The Signal. It was majestically covered by the clouds. Its peak seemed full of mystery and awe. In the moment, it was breath taking and it reminded me much of our life on mission for Jesus. Many times, the mission seems nothing like dry and drier deadness, humanity running like wild horses oblivious to the presence and beauty of Jesus. But, just as I believe God placed me there in that precise moment to see these two scenes of immense natural beauty, one on each side, I believe, as the Apostle Paul wrote, that God has determined the time and places of our precise existence so that, we and everyone around us, as wild as we might be, might seek and find him, the majestic fortress who is our God, because he is certainly not far away from each one (Acts 17:26-27). This is why the Apostle Paul, earlier in this letter(17:16), says he was not turned off by the Athenians spiritual deadness, but rather provoked toward them in their need for Jesus.
God has you where you are. Live the risk, enjoy the mission, don’t miss the beauty!
Where are you finding this risk, joy and beauty in your life for Christ today?