I dream of one day getting on a plane with Rebekah and flying to a foreign country. Perhaps Guatemala…I sure do love Guatemala.
After we land, we eventually make our way through the airport – through baggage claim and customs – and outdoors, into the open sky. Immediately we are caught up in the uniqueness of this faraway place. We breathe in every smell, see every sight, hear every sound, and become keenly aware of God’s presence already there.
In my dream we drive to a place of ministry – a school or an orphanage – where tender love and care are being provided to vulnerable children. Once we arrive, we walk toward a person who is giving and caring, loving and serving, teaching and feeding, and we simply give them an encouraging smile and a great big hug.
I’ve seen this dream. It’s been a recurring vision for me. It’s part of a “grander vision” I’ve been praying about for Restore Soul Care.
My desire is to come alongside those who sacrifice everything in the care and development of our world’s powerless and helpless children, so that they can keep going in the strength and joy of the Lord. I long to bless these selfless caregivers with words of love and encouragement, as well as a listening and compassionate presence attuned to how God desires to minister to them through some much needed soul care.
I long to provide resources for an under-resourced population of caregivers that will help them recognize God’s ongoing activity in their own lives…so that they can help children do the same. I hope to help them slow down, pay attention, and receive the kind of pastoral care the Good Shepherd longs to give.
I want to participate in Holy Spirit’s restorative work in their souls, even if all I do is pull up a chair and bear witness to the abundant and overwhelming love of God first-hand. Oh, how I long to do all this in partnership with God’s Spirit, listening to God as I listen to their deeper yearnings, questions, victories, failings, struggles, hopes and fears.
I want to leave them better than I found them. Recharged. Reconnected. Restored.
Without a doubt, I see all this happening right alongside my wife, Rebekah. There’s no one else on earth I’d rather serve alongside. In fact, I know God has gone to great lengths to restore our marriage so that we would be able to minister together to others who feel like they are ready to give up – on ministry, on marriage, on family, on life, and ultimately, on God.
I know Rebekah and I long for the day when these dreams will come to pass, when everything we hope to see will one day begin to happen. It will be God’s timing. In God’s way. In a form we least expect. For instance, some day we would like a ministry retreat center. Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful! But what if that’s not what God has in mind for us? What if God’s calling us to change the whole paradigm? What if we are supposed to be the ones who are going?
What if Restore ends up looking nothing like what we thought it was supposed to be when all this stuff started bubbling up in our hearts? Perhaps we are way off course. What if it takes something of a “Damascus Road Experience” to get us back on the correct trajectory? I’m willing to suffer any and every blow to my pride if it means that I am being redirected by God toward His grander vision for my life. I say “bring it on,” and as I gradually decrease, may Christ increase all the more in my life and in this ministry.
Yes, there are many internal places of my soul that still need healing and restoration. Even Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14 that he had not yet reached perfection, but he pressed on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. If St. Paul still had work to do, then I definitely need to be okay with the fact that there’s a lot of work yet to be done in me. I have a long way to go!
My goal is to be able to do ministry – however it may look and wherever we may go – from a deep, soulful place of peace, joy and freedom. I long for the deep work of God to slowly change me so that I can be fully present to the love of God in me and in the world. I long for Jesus to truly be the center of my life. Nothing pushing him aside.
I pray that my desires will never over-shoot God. What I truly desire is more of God, the fullness of Christ in me. Now, by the power of God’s Spirit, I walk into the truth of this grander vision with faith, hope and love.
May God’s Kingdom be fully revealed on earth even as it has already been established in heaven. Truly, nothing is impossible with God, so let’s look and see where God is moving, then follow Jesus there. Let’s pray for God’s grander vision to take root in all our hearts so that we are all living from a place of freedom and joy.
Let’s not settle for half-hearted surrender, not for one more minute. May the loudest cry of our hearts be “FREEDOM!” Once we taste what it truly means to live in God’s freedom, we will be free indeed. We’ll never want to go back. We will do anything and everything we can to help everyone else experience it, too.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Now that’s a grander vision for you and for me.