The gelid wind whips against me capriciously, and I yank at my jacket zipper and shove my hands further into my pockets in response. Snowflakes float sideways, choreographed wisps of dotted flecks of white. The damp wintry air stings my ears and nose, wishing to creep up my sleeves and down my scarf. I hunch my shoulders as if that would bay the frosty ether. I hear nothing but the crunch of newly fallen snow beneath my shoes. It is like a scene from a painting, void of color, yet vibrant, more than alive. And I feel more than alive, aware of the environment around me but also to the inner voice inside me. My ears are cold, but my heart is warm, aware, at peace.
There are a lot of snapshots in my head of my trip to Germany: Leading worship while watching a gentle snow fall outside the windows; The narrow streets of Heidelberg; Looking into the eyes of veteran missionaries and hearing their stories; The long grueling trip home to Sacramento. And I heard some great teaching and took good notes too. But I know that trips like this are often not so much about the trip, as they are about what God might be wanting to impress upon me. So I’ve had a little time to reflect, and this is what I’ve come up with so far:
• God is bigger than I thought. I know, at least cerebrally, that God is big, i.e., sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, transcendent, and a whole bunch of other theological words. But it really takes a trip outside your comfort zones to give you a sense of God’s practical sovereignty (seeing His Kingdom reflected half way around the globe), His unlimited creativity (as evidenced in the gazillion new things I saw and experienced), and His personal nature (hearing the amazing stories of so many faithful people around the world). It was spiritually inspiring and soul filling for me.
• Comfort Zones are over-rated. Speaking of comfort zones, I believe God has been slowly knocking me out of mine for awhile now. This was just another step. I was looking at my passport on the trip back. It’s starting to fill out a bit. So I feel that God is continuing to prepare me for other things. I just don’t know what they are yet. But I feel more open now to the opportunities.
• I am a very Blessed Man. Honestly, I don’t know of anyone who is more blessed than I am. My wife, my childen, my friends, my music, my calling, my life, my God. It is certainly much much more than I deserve. I feel so very grateful for it all. This trip, which took me away from my family during the Thanksgiving holidays, has done much to foster a sense of thanksgiving in my heart. I need to remember this feeling, and make it a part of me.
• Life is about Choices, but it is more so about who we are in them. We all make them, some good and some bad. To a large degree, they define the life we have led, and will lead. But I am becoming increasingly aware that it is not just the choices we make, but the way we are with God in them. After all, He gave us free will for a reason.
The hilly path I trudge is icy in spots; I avoid slipping by choosing to walk on the snow. I can see my breath before me, little fuzzy clouds that vent from the sting in my nostrils. I take short steps up the steep incline to keep from slipping. There is a fork in the path, one which fades upward onto a rural street, and another which leads into the woods. I stop for a moment to weigh my options. The woods seem a fine place to walk today. God will walk with me there.
And so I turn off the path, beyond the fences, and into the misty wood.