Choosing joy

Last week when my daughter’s flight from Kansas City was delayed due to stormy weather I was afforded a little more time in the airport to “people watch”. Fortunately, I was seated where I could easily observe passengers emerging onto the concourse without looking like a stalker. Minutes after the arrival board posted each plane’s landing, throngs of people would pour out through the hallway. Some passengers had loved ones gathered close by the entrance to greet them. Squeals of joy, bear hugs and pats on the back followed. Other travelers arrived with little or no fanfare. Smartly dressed in business suits with briefcases in hand, they strode toward the next meeting. Still others emerged from the hallway with the look of uncertainty that often accompanies travelers in a new city.

Interestingly, even though every arrival had its own story, each person’s eyes seemed the same in one distinct way. They were all searching for something. Some were undoubtedly looking for a familiar face in the crowd. Others routinely scanned phone messages on the way to the escalators. A few looked anxiously for the signs that would point them to the baggage claim area. As I watched them parade by it struck me at what a perfect a parallel this was for the way I can choose to approach my life. I can either expect business as usual, fearfully contemplate what to do next or anticipate joy.

I’ve been there. Falling into the routine that is “the business as usual” way of looking at life. Losing sleep in fearful anticipation of the unknown. But the good news is that no matter where I am in any situation I can always choose joy. And in choosing joy I receive the source of my strength. Nehemiah 8:10 tells me that “The joy of the LORD is my strength.” I choose to believe Psalms 27 that “The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life.”

Therefore, I must search through life with conscious intent. By choosing the numbness of busyness or being sidelined by paralyzing fear, I am allowing the enemy to rob me of the extraordinary. Instead, I must anticipate the best that God has to offer me. And in doing so, I will choose joy.

This is not My Home

I received a text from my younger daughter this morning telling me she had missed her flight out of Miami and would now be spending the day in the airport waiting for a flight home. I could sympathize with her frustration. A couple of years ago I had a similar experience when I missed a flight home out of La Guardia. I had been in NYC with my two sisters visiting family and enjoying the city. As we arrived at the airport to depart for Indianapolis we encountered a problem with airport security. The airport officials had closed down the check-in line we were in and when things were finally settled our plane was already in the air.

We spent the next several minutes haggling with an airport agent trying to book a flight home only to be told there were no seats available on any outgoing flights that day. Although my younger sister was able to secure a flight, I was told by the agent that I should “just go home and come back tomorrow.” All I wanted to say was, “This is not my home!”

I wonder how many times that thought has flashed across the minds of others. Is that what Abram thought when God called him into a new land? Genesis 12:1 records that, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” What was Abram thinking when he heard that call to leave his home and family? Did he think “This is not my home?”

Or what about Mary and Joseph when they fled to Egypt with Holy baby in arms? They went in the night to escape the wrath of an insane king, but I can’t help but think that they were wondering about the home they had left. What blind faith it took to follow after the voice of an angel in a dream to a strange, new land. A land that was not their home.

In truth, we too are wanderers in a place that is not our home. The struggles we face remind us that our temporary home on this beautiful blue marble is an imperfect place. A place where physical and spiritual hunger abound. Our need is great, but God’s grace is far greater. And as I reside in this land of earth and sod I pray that I can listen closely to God’s call on my life. I want to hear Him when calls me to a new land.

But not only that. Lord help me be willing to travel to the foreign spaces. The places where only You can lead me. Father, help me to go willingly to where the unknown opportunities of ministry await, because I know that is the only place where I will truly be at home.