As we have done throughout previous Lenten and Advent seasons, we are again blogging through the Lectionary readings in this Lenten season. This year, however, due to our travels in Central Asia, we have asked a number of guests to blog for us. These guests are individuals who are influential in our lives and work. We're honored to share this space with them-and with you–in this season of reflection.
A reading from the Psalms.
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles. We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations—”God was wonderful to them!” God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again—bring rains to our drought-stricken lives. So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest. So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
— Psalm 126:1-6 (MSG)
God was good to us.
God is good to us.
God will be good to us.
As I write this, it is late evening. The last call to prayer of the day should ring out from the nearby Mosque by the time I'm finishing writing and editing this post. I sit in our team hotel surrounded by my family. Our fantastic teammates are in their rooms scattered throughout the hotel.
We are so honored to be here with these folks. They hail from three countries: the US, Canada, and Australia. They are diverse. They range in ages from fourteen months to seventy. Married couples, families, and singles.
As we worship each morning, I often will look around the room and just be amazed at what God has brought together in this team.
And, in those times of worship and prayer, we pray as the Psalmist did:
“God, do it again—bring rains to our drought-stricken lives. So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest. So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.”
We walk through the streets of this city and see the faces of countless people. People who have quite possibly never heard the name, İsa (Jesus). People who only know God as He is presented in the Qur'an–distant and moody.
Yet, this is the same port from which Paul and Barnabas set sail for Antioch in Acts 14:25. Once upon a time, this was a land that understood who İsa was. It was a land where God was relational.
And, so, we pray: “God, do it again.”
And around this hotel people who answered the call to head into the harvest prepare for bed on a Tuesday evening.
Yet, we are but a few here temporarily. Many others across this nation go to bed tonight in homes they rent or own. In major cities and small villages. They sleep.
That tomorrow the people of this rich and beautiful land “will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.”
They pray for breakthrough to come.
So, tonight (today for you reading this) we pray for their strength. We pray for their encouragement. We pray that they will not grow weary in well doing.
And, we pray–as İsa asked us–that “The Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into His harvest.”