“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14v
“Eventful” might be too lenient a word. This mission trip was downright complicated.
That’s not what we are supposed to report, right? Aren’t mission trips supposed to be smooth sailing because you are serving God? You would think that might be the case … until you go. Mission trips are challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This one checked each of those boxes.
Before you get the wrong idea, let me make clear that this was one of the best trips of my life. Although complications continually arose, God worked in incredible ways. If you’re not clear about the complications, let me share a few.
I was diagnosed with diverticulitis the day before departure. This caused me to delay my departure for three days. I had to travel straight to my destination with no rest for 29 hours. While traveling, I was struck with carsickness just hours from my final destination. My translator was delayed with illness. We left our eyeglass refractors at Peachy Park in Atlanta. My luggage was lost, etc. Need I say more!
But God … I love those words. But God! He continually made His presence known by filling in the blanks and supplying as only He can. It’s not just that way on a mission trip.
Life is like that. Life is tough. Things don’t go as planned. Obstacles press in on every side. We get weary and frustrated. But God! If we trust in Him and follow faithfully, He always steps up and does what we cannot do.
As I was standing next to a roadside tree in the middle of the Ukrainian night, hurling my guts out (it is necessary for you to get the picture), I was crying and asking God, Why! Why is it so hard? Why do I have to go through all of this? He reminded me of the words to a song I hadn’t really heard in years and I began to hum them to myself. Suddenly, life, joy, and peace began to fill my soul. I had what I needed to continue, and God’s blessings quickly followed.
When you feel the same. When the trials of life seem to overwhelm you. Maybe these lyrics will encourage you. Give it a try.
When the Valley is deep/When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary/When we stumble and fall
When the choices are hare/When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources/When we’ve given our all.
In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize/Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on.
Those words fueled my soul. They provided the strength I needed to get moving. God did the rest. When you find yourself in a similar situation, press on my friend. Trust me, the prize is just before your eyes. He’ll provide the strength. Press on!