Monday Night, June 13, 8:00PM
“The calm before the storm” is an interesting concept. The only time that this calm is recognized is when a storm is imminent and the beholder is aware of something that is about to happen. In a race there is a similar moment before the gun goes off. Each of the runners knows that after the gun sounds there is going to be a great effort required to finish what lies ahead. In war there is also a calm before the battle is waged. As the charging side prepares to attack, they know in their own silence that something very difficult awaits them and that the battle will be very difficult and the outcome uncertain.
Today for me has felt like “The calm before the storm”. As I embarked on my morning bike ride with my Maker, I could feel the calm. I knew in a matter of hours that a great battle awaited me and the team from Hillcrest, but as the sun peeked over the quiet lakes in Millennium Park I could only feel the “calm”. I could only see the beauty around me that seemed so unaware of the battle that is about to be waged in a place very far from the comfortable setting of West Michigan.
It has been many months that this precious team of 30 individuals has been preparing for this moment. Preparing to meet the enemy head on with the Love of Christ. We have been meeting, and planning, and praying, and packing and mentally and spiritually preparing to tip the scales of eternity yet once again in the far away mountains of Guatemala.
When planning a trip, many people look for the most comfortable place to visit and try to plan activities and accommodations that will make life seem as enjoyable as possible. Not this team. As this team answered the call to make a kingdom difference in the villages of Guatemala, each one of them knew in their hearts that this was not going to be a vacation. Though it promises to be rewarding, the work and risk ahead of each of us is great and very imminent.
As we packed our 30 team bags last night at Hillcrest church full of medicines, food, toys, and items we will use to show love and build relationships, I could not help but think that we were arming ourselves to face the enemy head on. As we prayed earnestly for travel, and weather, and for receptive hearts and souls both for the people we meet in Guatemala and those we will encounter during our travels there, I could not help but recognize again that “Calm before the Storm”. Because I have experienced this battle for eternity many times in Guatemala, I think that this “Calm” stands out even more. Even as I write this opening for our blog, I am feeling the “calm” on my back porch in Grandville. The soft breeze and sounds of birds singing all around completely masks the sounds of souls crying out to be saved. Yet I know they are there and in just 24 hours we will be facing them head on.
Only a crazy person would decide to take a boat out on a big lake or ocean when they knew a storm was brewing. Only a crazy person driven by something powerful would dare to set sail when the wind and waves are about to invade the waters they are about to travel. I guess that in some ways as followers of Christ we are called to be both Crazy and driven when it comes to facing the Wind and the waves of the enemy. Only we know that the wind and the waves are no match for the one who created them and allows them to exist under His control.
As the disciples were out in their fishing boat in Matthew 15, they were safe in their vessel protected from the wind and the waves when they saw something astonishing. A man walking on the water toward them. We know this man was Jesus, but the disciples were not so aware. They became terrified as Jesus did what no man should be able to do. He walked through the storm on the water. As he drew near to the terrified disciples, Jesus said “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”. Then He answered Peter’s request to join him on the waters with a simple call: “Come.” We all know how the story goes, Peter began to walk on water. But as he was walking on the water, He took his eyes off of Christ and began to notice the wind and the waves around him and he began to sink and cried for Jesus to save him. Verse 31 says that “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him” and then when they climbed into the boat the wind died down and the waves settled.
This week in Guatemala we are being called by Jesus to journey into the storm. We are being called to a difficult task, one that is impossible except for the one who controls all things, even the wind and waves obey Him. We are being called to keep our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith and follow where ever He leads. The moment we take our eyes off of Him and focus on the things around us, we risk sinking in the storm. We also know that if that does happen He is right there to catch us.
As we prepare to wage war this week in Guatemala. As we begin our journey into the storm that is certain. In this “calm before the storm” that we feel right now, we ask you to pray that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus when the wind and waves hit. That we place our complete trust in Him to do a good work in us and through us.
It is through your prayers and the prayers of hundreds of others lifting us up over the next week that we can go with confidence. Confidence that as we travel many miles over challenging roads, as we build homes both in Guatemala and in people’s hearts, as we care for people’s physical needs and spread Christ’s love and the message of salvation that we are in the center of God’s will and part of His amazing plan. What a great confidence we can have in the one who can walk on water and also the one who can calm the storms and the battles that are ahead of us. We trust that He will be our “Calmer of the storm” this week as we answer His call to “Come!”
Tomorrow morning as we leave we invite you to come with us. No, not on the plane or in a suitcase, rather through this Blog. Come and be a part of the journey and experience the Joy of Lost ones being saved through your prayers. We will be updating this Blog with many posts, pictures and stories of our journey. Feel free to write to members of the team on their wall. Feel free to look through the pictures that we will post. Feel free to lift us up as often as you can in prayer. We are excited to see what God has in store and though the “Calm before the storm” is about over, we also know the outcome of the battle before it even begins. We may not know what the future holds, but we know the one who holds the future.
Thank you for taking this journey with us. May God bless you as He uses you to sustain us this week in Guatemala. We look forward to sharing this trip with you!
In His Grip,
Kevin Van Wyhe