On Saturday, Ryan and I embarked on a 10 day road trip across the country, all the way to Philadelphia. One last adventure before Ryan starts grad school and I start working full-time at Logos. It has been a long and arduous journey but we’ve had a bunch of fun so far. You can follow our progress with my daily logs. When I’ve talked to others about our trip, they’re usually excited and they tell me they’ll pray for protection and a safe journey. Though safety and protection might be nice and comfortable, I’d rather have a trip full of significance, a trip that makes for a good story.
A few years ago, Ryan and I went on a mission trip to Haiti on a team of twenty-two people. It was one of the most significant experiences of my life. As I look back on that trip, on the eve of this newest adventure, I am comforted by the stories I’m able to tell about Jesus in the midst of chaos.
The amount of planning and logistics needed for a trip of this nature was immense. As we prepared for our trip, our mission supporters were asked to pray for safety and protection for us, especially since we were traveling to one of the most dangerous countries in the world. As luck would have it, just three hours into our trip, our plans began to fall apart. When we landed in San Francisco, our first layover on our way to Haiti, we found out that our connecting flight to New York was cancelled. It wasn’t due to inclement weather, the plane had suffered a mechanical failure. Our flight was the only flight cancelled that night.
After a few hours of waiting, our team leader informed us that the team would be splitting up into four separate groups with four separate destinations. Some of us would be continuing on to New York as planned, the rest would be scattered across the US, to Boston, Chicago, and Miami. I was in the group that was headed to New York. As we boarded our plane the next morning, I felt scared and lost. I had expected an easy trip without any complications. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be separated from the majority of our team without our leader, hoping that everything would fall into place so that we would be reunited eventually.
In the midst of that chaos, Jesus reminded us that all of the plans that we had made were nothing compared to His plans. We learned so much more about our ability to cope with stress and chaos in those first few hours of our adventure. We were forced to lean on Jesus for everything, not even knowing if the rest of the team would arrive in Haiti at all. After arriving in Haiti, the theme of the trip became, “It’s adventure time, anything goes.” That’s the way things went, no one could predict what might happen next, so let’s have an open mind see what comes our way.
Ryan and I planned the details of our road trip more than a month in advance. We’ve had every stop planned out along the way. We have tickets to three baseball games along the way, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Ideally, everything will go as expected and we’ll arrive at our destination safe and sound. But if things don’t go the way they’re we expect, I’d like to be okay with whatever comes our way.
If we dig a little deeper than a road trip across America and think about our lives as a journey, our ability to be flexible when Jesus overthrows our plans for the sake of His Kingdom is essential for survival. After all, praying for our protection is just another way to pray for comfort. The work of the Kingdom isn’t guaranteed to be easy or comfortable—it’s usually rough and full of chaos. That’s the beauty of Jesus though, he brings order to chaos. I don’t want to use God further my own plans, I want God to use me to further His. So, as Ryan and I continue on our adventure across America, pray that, whatever may come our way, we would have feet for the path and hearts ready for the unknown.