I have been selfish.
I have made mad plans for my life from the time that I was a little girl. Plans to be a singer, an artist, a teacher and architect followed me. Plans to travel, walk where the Patriarchs treaded and queens prayed to Jesus, and to stand under the shadows of the grandeur of cathedrals and castles stamped their hopes across my soul. I was called and I would go. I never did any of these things… until recently.
I woke the other morning in awe of a recent trip to a 1,300 year old cathedral. I saw myself standing in the doorway of another in a lucid dream as the birds called to me. The air of the people who went before me felt heavy and the breathtaking vaulted ceilings held me still. I smelt the ancient relics and heard the echoes of choir boys. I was there, in reality in one, and in a dream in another.
And then it burned. A fire overtook that very place I was dreaming about just a few hours later. I wonder if God was telling me something that I couldn’t understand. I shed a few tears in selfish defeat and blamed the world for holding me in place and telling me to stay instead of to go.
Something then followed those few tears and bitter fisted hands. I thought of my grandmother and her idols. She loved Jesus so much, yet she venerated to the cloth of a baby, a statue of a man, and a candle in front of a painting. Idols followed her, and idols were gifted from her. I sometimes want to think that her love for our Lord was so great that she needed the world to recognize it through her Mary medals, and baby Jesus dolls. Rare times I think she was just a traditional Catholic idol worshipper who no one ever corrected.
With all that on the forefront and as I mourned what I perceived loss on my travel bucket-list, the Spirit reminded me of something far greater. When I was in that 1,300 year old cathedral in Belgium just a few weeks ago, it was breathtaking and surreal. As sad and heartbreaking as it was to see the perceived loss of another, I know that the Lord lives in us, not in buildings, idols, or things. We are the church, we are His loved ones, and we need to walk away in celebration of His resurrection and our hope. All is truly dust, and the big picture takes us home to Him. Praying for the heartache, for safety, and the hearts of His people, but thinking of home.Praying for the heartache, for safety, and the hearts of His people, but thinking of home. Click To Tweet
And truly, not all is lost. God saved things for His glory and for His purpose despite our questions and speculation.
So now in my selfishness and perceived needs, I ask what is next? Maybe not what is next for grand cathedrals, the dying church in need of revival, or the lost people, but what is next for me, and for you?
Where are we being called to? Whom are we to disciple? What projects need our help, what opportunities need to be grabbed, and what prayers are needed to be said? Lord, what is next?
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
There is hope in those words. We can plan all day long, or 40 years, but God really defines our next step. In ministry, in work, in travel and in family, He defines us when we stop trying to define ourselves.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Grab on to the hope that He will fulfill His promises while knowing our hearts desires. He does not dismiss us, despite His timing. We can still hope to stand among those elderly churches and massive beams, and the Lord may take us right there, but hope goes beyond walls. It lives within us.