I find that I usually put myself in a situation to make myself write. A situation that seems poetically right, like I’m a classic writer that does this all the time, sitting in a coffee shop at an airport with my MacBook out and headphones in. What I like to imagine though is that I’m sitting with my friends C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings at the Eagle and Child writing this measly update while they’re busy writing what will be legendary stories for the ages to come. I’m not in the midst of writing a novel but here I sit and here I write in Istanbul waiting to catch a flight to Beirut. There’s so much that I’ve missed out on sharing but luckily, they’re very well captured and told through the official tour video updates. All I can say is that I’m blown away by this opportunity. With 5 days left, its the perfect time to reflect on what my time on tour with No Longer Music has taught me.
God wants to be our friend.
Ive saved the best for first. If I’ve learned anything in these last few months, it’s that God doesn’t desire our job well done, our systematic theology, or our sacrifices. I’ve changed on this trip from wanting to do great things for Him to wanting to be his friend. That’s it. It’s not because what I do for Him doesn’t have value, but its because He’s the one that gives it value. My being able to do great things for him are purely a grace. When I realized that doing ministry is a gift is when I figured out that God above all desires our friendship. Because this amazing tour is a gift. It’s God’s ridiculously roundabout way to spend time with me. And while I spend time with him, I’m able to tell people all over the world about what He did for them because I’m overwhelmed by what he did for me. Missions is Gods version of “Take your son to work day.”
God wants us to have ice cream.
I fear that many people have shared the same mindset as me. That based on our choices, God will punish or reward us. He will surely discipline us, but He’s a father. It’s not Karma. God just wants our obedience. It’s not because he wants a bunch of slaves on Earth, but because he truly knows what is best for us. If he knows what is best for us, of course he wants us to be obedient. He knows what is best and he wants what is best. I choose to follow that God. He also wants to bless us with good gifts that we like to call ice cream. This tour is ice cream. One time I prayed a simple prayer for coffee when it wasn’t in the normal spot. After giving up and sitting in a couch waiting for our daily meeting to start, Caleb walked in with a fresh French Press and some extra cups. Ice cream.
God wants to answer our prayers.
On that note, God wants to answer our prayers. He wants us to pray for our daily bread (and ice cream for dessert) so that he can give it to us. John Wesley once said “God does nothing but in answer to prayer”. Do I think that if everyone on Earth stopped praying at once that God would stop working as if he derives power from our prayers? No. But this is a good and healthy reminder that God will act with our without our prayers but He would much rather act in answer to the prayers of his saints. He enjoys it and it sustains us. The first lesson I learned on this tour was on the first day of rehearsals in Minneapolis when we met for prayer before practice. No more token blessings and prayers! Really share your heart and needs. Honestly, I still find an hour or two of prayer to be exhausting sometimes! But I’ve seen it work. We have been provided for in so many ways when it would have been reasonable to give up on it. God wants to test us with little so He can trust us with more. No time for a thoughtful ending, I have a flight to catch!