I used to think that prayers for travel mercies were the devil. Like they belonged in the toilet right next to the prosperity Gospel and copies of Your Best Life Now . Didn't Jesus say that he who seeks to save his life will lose it?
Where are the dangerous prayers? The ones with real moxie, the ones with gut-twisting gumption that tenaciously insist, "Whatever you need to do to take me deeper, Lord... do that." Past every semi-truck as we grip the steering wheel just a little tighter, around every precarious curve, and through every yellow light - to pray in simplest benediction: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done." More than life, limb, health or heart-break to contend that His will be done; nothing more and nothing less. Instead so often we mechanically let loose from our lips a shallow and faithless "Lord, keep me safe" for little other reason than that we hold our lives so very dear.
I'm writing as I stare down the barrel of a 42 hour 2,900 mile drive. In fact, by the time this blog is posted we'll be well on our way to Chicago. Maybe it's coincidence that my Bible-reading took me past Ezra yesterday.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before God, to seek from Him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
Now... I'm not taking a 5 month journey by foot. I don't have 1,500 people to look after. I'm not on a mission from the King of Persia. And I don't have the weight of revitalizing an entire nation's faith. No, I'm making a 4-day road-trip home. I'll eat junk-food. I'll listen to good music. And I'll enjoy the company of my girlfriend.
But how do I reconcile my faith with my very real travel itinerary? I don't want to "be safe" but God knows that for His glory I want to be safe. I want to take every risk and compromise every luxury (even my health) for the advancement of the Gospel, and I'll do it as long and as doggedly as He lets me. I'll take it from Ezra. Who considered the task before Him to be so sacred that he declared a fast, humbled himself, and sought the face of God. He experienced God's goodness very tangibly, every step of the journey. From Babylonia to Jerusalem.