When God began to call our marriage and ministry off the beaten path several years ago, we started searching His Word. There, we realized how much God loves to show up in the least likely places.
- Moses in the wilderness on Mt. Sinai – experiences God’s manifest presence
- The Beloved with her Lover in the Song of Solomon – discovers true intimacy in the secret chamber
- Ezekiel exiled at the River Kebar – receives a vision
- Paul on the road to Damascus – experiences a dramatic conversion
- Philip beyond the borders of Jerusalem – ministers to an Ethiopian eunich
- John on Patmos – receives the Revelation
The list goes on and on. In addition, we know that Jesus Himself walked on the less-trodden ways as He often left crowds to go to lonely places to pray and meet with the Father.
It was through our studies and experiences, as we longed to discover God’s mission for our marriage, that we realized our marriage and ministry must extend to the least likely places as did Jesus’ ministry on the earth. And, we’ve been there, let me tell you! We’ve traveled at midnight through the cornfields of Ohio to meet with a man whose marriage was in crisis. We’ve pulled off freeways, trekked up mountain paths, served on islands, and in small town U.S.A. But honestly, we wrestled with this concept, at first.
Our pride and selfish ways were thinking about the crowds and the mega-church ministries. But, Jesus kept drawing us away…not to minister to the masses, but to love on the one. And now, we know of no other way…and no greater calling. Forgive us, Lord, for being slow to understand.
If you’re willing, you will find Jesus in some very, very faraway places…both in times of ministry and personally, in your individual walk with Him.
Personally, since God called us to move 3,000 miles away from family and friends, I’ve often felt like Ezekiel at the River Kebar, sitting among the exiles. But, being away from family, friends, and every familiar has caused me to press into Christ in a way I’ve never known. And, even though it is still very difficult, I know that had Jesus not drawn me away, there would never be the deep intimacy in my relationship with God and in our marriage. My exile has become God’s gateway to the Promised Land.
Oftentimes, God’s mission for your life will include periods of exile. Because truly discovering God’s mission is not about building a big ministry, reaching some lofty destination, or attaining some grand accomplishment. It’s about finding your Destiny (your wholeness) in Christ.
He is our Promised Land.
We were just talking about this last night in reference to our own marriage. The River Kebar is probably a better picture than the Mordor though, which is what it so feels like most days. I just have to keep remembering that God meets us where He takes us . . . always.
Yes! He absolutely meets us RIGHT THERE!