As we move forward in the Christian season of Lent (called “Focus 40” in the Church of God), I find myself captivated by the theme of journeying. Several of my friends in ministry, who are scattered around the country and the world, are going through different kinds of “wandering” in their own lives. Some are anticipating a move to a new ministry location, some are expecting a baby for the first time, and some are embarking on new and intimidating adventures in their current locations.
When I think about the people of Mt. Haley Church of God in this context, I realize that we too are in transition; we too are on a journey. This church is settling down into a rhythm with our current pastoral staff. We have experienced a tremendous mission trip to Guatemala and are continuing to reflect on the impact of that journey. We are learning the importance of active growth in our own personal faith, and we are seeing the joys of ministering with our youth and children – even though that too is a call to active involvement in ministry.
Everywhere we look, we see signs that the life of faith is a journey. This is especially on our minds in this season of Lent, in which Christians of all nationalities are journeying toward the cross. In a deliberate, careful manner, faithful believers just like us are considering their need for a Savior, for redemption, for hope, for Christ in their lives.
In this we are not alone. Our biblical ancestors in the faith were wanderers, most notably when the Israelites wandered through the wilderness for forty years on their way to the Promised Land. Later in their history, Israel and Judah each were taken away into exile because of their sinfulness and betrayal of their relationship with God. Even in the beginning, when God called Abram to leave his home and follow him, we see a clear example of wandering in faithfulness to God. As the Israelites repeated for generations afterward, “my father [Abraham] was a wandering Aramean” (see Deuteronomy 26) – and that defines us and gives meaning to our own periods of wandering.
Wherever you find yourself on the journey of faith, remember that you are not alone. Take full advantage of the remainder of Lent (which this year lasts all the way through March) to focus on how God is calling you to draw closer to him and to his church. Know that I am praying for you and that I am always available to walk with you, wherever you are!