I wrote this in my journal in late January. We’d been quietly praying about direction for months, and this verse came up as the verse of the day on Bible Gateway. I wrote it in my journal and then took a pic of it so I would have it on my phone as well.
With our upcoming move into the city of Chicago, we’re facing lots of questions.
Where will the kids go to school? Don’t know.
Where will we go to church? Ditto.
What ministries will we be able to plug into as a family? Another unknown.
Where will we live? Still in process on that one, too!
But the biggest one of all for me is not one of the “W” questions, but the “H” one. How? How, in all these different, new places and contexts, do we learn how to live out our faith? How do we approach others with sensitivity and get to know them well? How do we make authentic friendships in which Jesus is evident? How do we become good neighbors and trusted members of a neighborhood?
Each time I’ve opened my daily prayer app this spring, I get the answer.
The picture above was taken in spring 2008 in Uganda. See the little guy on the right side? That’s our Patrick. He was being cared for by all the other people in this picture while we, in the States, were in the process of adopting him. That was also a time filled with questions! In the picture below, taken just outside our house in West Chicago, Patrick is front and center, and his brother Jake is kneeling on his right. Four of the other people in the picture above are also in this pic–joined by two of Jody and Aaron’s children.
It is the season of Pentecost in the church calendar, and the opening sentence for this time is Acts 1:8. “You shall receive power when the Holy Ghost has come upon you; and you shall be my witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I am reminded: the disciples in “real” Pentecost time experienced some of the same feelings we are experiencing. After three years of following Jesus around, of always knowing who their leader was, of seeing his example of love and faith and care, they lost him to the skies.
They returned to their upper room and huddled together, unsure of where to go, what to do, and how to do any of it.
Yep, same questions.
But the beginning of Acts, written later in retrospect, begins with some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples. “You’ll get the Holy Spirit,” he told them, “And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses…”
And where will they be able—enabled—to be his witnesses?
Downtown Chicago, therefore, is covered by this promise. It may be new to us, but it’s not new to him.
The “when,” the “what,” the exact “where”–he’ll answer all of these.
And he’s got the “how” covered, too.