I walked down the florescent walkway, entered the plane, and found something amazing. My seat number. First Class! Many people, myself included, would take one look at me and wonder why the in the world I’m here? I don’t belong in first class. Really? But here I sit.
I’ve been studying this girl sitting in 4E. It’s an isle seat. The sun has been setting for a while now. We are above the clouds and I may have seen a more beautiful sunset 3 times prior to this. She hasn’t looked outside once. Zero times in fact. She has been putting on makeup for a solid 20 minutes. I am interested in how long such an event could go on. Surely not too long, but how impressive!
My friend Brandon would call this a cheese fry moment. Have you ever had an experience that was so significant to you, but everyone around you was eating cheese fries and laughing obnoxiously? Sometimes these things happen.
I’m accross the isle, so I have to look past her to see the sunset. Mascara has never been such an intrusion in my life. Something so small would never bother me this much, but somehow I’m identifying with this girl. I’m realizing there are so many places in my life where God is hanging out right in front of me, doing things and being miraculous and such, and I forget to acknowledge him. I miss Him.
Brandon would say we constantly find ourselves in these thin places. God is always at work around us and we are too busy eating cheese fries to notice. I have been reading about Jacob’s dream at Bethel. He wakes up and says, “How awesome is this place!?” and ,”Surely The Lord was in this place, and I didn’t even know it!” I challenge my teams at the end of trips with this passage. I tell them to protect this week, and set up an alter in their minds to remind them that at this point in their journey… they saw God. Because surely God was moving in different ways here. We were caught off guard, and we noticed. God speaks to us on these mission trips. He shows up in unexpected places.
Would we have ever expected the creator of the universe to show up on a cross? Would we ever expect him to show up in a bucket of concrete?
But He does.
Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Martha is busy setting up and preparing for Jesus because He is a special guest, and Mary is in the living room with him. I imagine them having a fun conversation over a glass of wine when Martha comes in with sweat dripping down her cheaks. She asks Jesus to send Mary in to help her with all the preparations. And Jesus says Mary is right where she needs to be. She is in front of Jesus. She’s spending time with Him. She’s close. And that’s much more important than ANYTHING else.
We get so caught up in the details. The everyday, logistics of life.
And Jesus is right in front of us. We are caught in this thin place. God is drawing us in and we miss Him. Every day.
The sun has made it’s way past the horizon, and she’s finally finished with her makeup. Today, as I sit here in first class, I didn’t miss God. But tomorrow, I might spend half an hour powdering my nose. Every day is new. And choosing to see God in the unexpected is a choice I have to continually make.
I’m thinking back on all that our team accomplished this week, and I’m amazed. Moving concrete and blocks isn’t easy, and the heat was more than overpowering at times. And the way this team loved on kids is inspiring on so many levels. My favorite trips to lead are intergenerational. It was a privilege to serve alongside Roanoke Presbeterian. I’ll do it again anyday.