“Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.”
Our family just got back from spending a beautiful week at Wind River Ranch in Colorado, thanks to the umbrella organization to which Mercy Street belongs that takes the executive directors of its partner ministries and their families for a week every summer of encouragement, fellowship, and rest.
We've become a ragamuffin family of sorts. Even our kids look forward all year to being around one another this one short week. We climb mountains, play games, and scale climbing walls. We laugh and cry together—even at the same time on occasion.
For instance, there might have been laughter brought on by the fact that someone was crying on the climbing wall because she's petrified of heights, but her children made her go anyway and she was pleading with the Lord to get her down before she actually died.
And there's a sincere love we have for one another that can only be the work of the Holy Spirit. Each family there has been called into a ministry that is a holy mess, so getting to lock arms once a year in solidarity is a beautiful gift to our souls.
So many things about our week encouraged me this year, but one common thread stood out more than anything else. Last summer, it seemed most of the families arrived literally limping through the gates. It had been a hard fought, exhausting year, and trials abounded. Hearts had been broken, marriages were hurting, and all were weary with the pain in our neighborhoods and burdened with the call to minister in hard places.
So we got to work.
We wept together. We prayed together. We sat silent together, letting the quiet of that place wash away the noise of the past year. We listened to the still small voice of the Father.
We asked hard questions, prayed more, spoke God's truths over one another again and again, and finally said goodbye, having been on our knees before our God together.
And honestly, a lot was left unfixed. Life wasn't neatly tied with a beautiful bow in those short six days. The road ahead for some was long and rocky and would require the blind faith we seldom like to exercise.
But we serve a faithful, persistent God who doesn't shrink away at long roads or stubborn wills. He, in His ever-present-ness, helps, heals, restores the years the locusts have eaten, and turns ashes into beauty.
And so another year went by until we were all together again. When we found each other in the lobby this June, we could literally see the transformative work of the Father in one another's faces. It's amazing to see the difference a year can make—better said, the difference the Lord can make in a year. The wounded were mending, marriages were being slowly, thoroughly restored, and the Lord of Creation's fingerprints were all over each of us.
It was like the friends who seldom see your kids and then remark how much they've grown. When we see people every day, we don't notice the changes, the inches, the squaring of the jaw. We don't get the perspective of time.
But with this group, we do.
I struggle with faith. My bent toward common sense, toward the obvious, logical explanation or solution often rubs against being certain of Hope and sure of what I cannot see. But perspective of time is a fortifier of faith, isn't it? It is an on-the-other-side glance back toward what seemed impossible, irreconcilable, gone too far awry.
So when the trials of today seem impassable, remember, beloved, you are a child of the Most High King. You are His workmanship, and He is in the business of restoration. For our sake and for His glory, He is deeply enmeshed with the heart poured out on the mountaintops and your days that feel mundane in-between.
The gift of our time with these families each year goes far beyond the six days we spend. The ways I've seen the Lord work over the years have become Ebenezer stones reminding me that His timing is not always swift, or logical to our limited minds, but our God is alive and His Word is living and active, and there is hope for the limping soul.