Morning Devotion | 3-21-18

The other night I was reading in Genesis 26, There was a famine in the land that the Lord had given to Abraham and his family. Isaac was now in the land, and due to the famine, he wanted to go to Egypt. Instead, the Lord told him to go to Gerar, which would have exposed him (and his camp) to the danger of the Philistines. The Bible says that God was with Isaac, and in the year’s time that Isaac was in the land of the Philistines, he reaped a hundredfold in harvest. At one point, he was so wealthy that the Philistines (out of envy) asked him to leave. He left the land and went to the Valley of Gerar, and was still prosperous there. Even in the valley, God gave provision. 
As I was reading, I wondered what would have happened if Isaac had decided to go to Egypt, and the Holy Spirit said, “It doesn’t matter what would have happened.” 

Too often we get caught up in needing an explanation. Either we need one for what WILL happen before we make a decision, or we need an explanation for what HAS happened in the past. Either way, our “why” constantly holds us back from the heart of God. It builds up skepticism in our hearts, and makes us consider silly thoughts like “If I make this decision, what is God ‘purposely’ making me miss out on?” I believe that if Isaac would have asked or pondered on why he couldn’t go to Egypt, he would have hesitated on Gerar. But his heart was towards obedience. He didn’t backlash or fight for what seemed to be right. & in obedience, the Lord blessed him a hundredfold in the land of his enemies… even in the midst of a famine. We can be like Isaac. We must know that God’s heart is for us, even as we’re taking transitional steps. Let us be a people that relinquish our control & our “Why?

Japan Story

So, for those who want to know the full backstory behind this missions trip, here it is! 
In October 2016, I was traveling and the Lord laid Japan on my heart. For me, it was something that was completely random because Japan had never been on my radar up until that point, but I had a clear indication that the Lord was nudging my heart for a missions trip. The year before, I was actually set to go on a missions trip and didn’t get the chance to go. The trip I wanted to go on, I “felt” like I had a heart for the country, but in the end, it didn’t work out. Because my church’s heart is towards evangelism, we have dozens and dozens of mission trips each year so I knew where to start. I went home that night and checked our church’s website for any mission trips to Japan in 2016 and 2017, but there were none. So, I asked for confirmation of what I’d heard, and kind of laid it down. (Side note: This is the part of the story where I should warn you that you may be a taaaaad bit upset from my emotional decision. During that same Fall semester, I’d enrolled back into school at UA [which I THOUGHT was crazy because I HATED college]. During that Fall semester, somehow I received an email from the Foreign Language Department concerning a free passport. Now, at this point, I’d never been on a missions trip, nor did I have plans of studying abroad, but who was I to pass up a free passport? I went to every meeting, I filled out all of my paperwork, but the day that I was supposed to actually turn in my paperwork, have it notarized, and have the department pay for my passport, I didn’t go. I can’t remember why I was so upset or discouraged that day, but I just didn’t go. The department called and emailed me because it had to be done that day, and I just didn’t go! Lol! Silly, I know!)

Back to the story… 

The next Sunday (after the Lord laid Japan on my heart) I was sitting in church, and one of our pastors got up to announce that our lead pastor had been in Japan the week beforehand. Obviously, I was a little surprised because I’d never heard anyone speak of Japan in our church (Granted, I’d only been there a few months, though! Lol!). Anywho, the pastor speaking started sharing what God was doing and ended with telling the church to be on the lookout for mission trips to Japan in the future.

Fast forward a year later, I started Highlands College (currently, LOVING it!). I was sitting in class one night as a leader explained that one of the requirements for graduation is that we must go on a mission trip. I start praying about timing in which to go on, and I heard the Lord tell me to go in my third semester. I check the website, and low & behold, there was a trip to Japan in my third semester. At this time, (a year in advance) the trip was already full! The first deadline wasn’t until March, so although it was the end of August, I wouldn’t know until March whether or not someone had dropped out. Out of fear, I decided on another trip (which that didn’t last very long). After about two months, I decided to drop my trip, and to get on the waiting list for Japan. I didn’t know my position on the list, but I knew I was going. I’d already requested it off and scheduled part of the year around it.

After being on the waiting list for SIX MONTHS, I received an email a week before the deadline that stated that I had been approved for Japan! Literally, nobody but God. I was driving a few days after finding out that I’d been approved, and had this thought: It would have been one thing for me to pick a missions trip like I’d done for the trip in 2015 that didn’t work out, it’s another to be HANDPICKED for one. Can we pause & just fathom that? Literally, for whatever reason, the Lord saw it fit a year and a half beforehand to lay a missions trip on my heart that wasn’t even in the making yet.

Even now, I think about all of the things that He’s handpicked for each of us to accomplish through our lives. The things that start with, “If you only knew the story that led up to this….” or the CRAZY thing that you’re believing for right now that when it comes to pass, you wouldn’t even be able to find the words that describe His goodness. “Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” (Ephesians 2: 10b TPT) He KNOWS what He’s doing. I look back now and know that I wasn’t ready to go to on that first trip, and He knew it. It took a few years, but I’m so excited & expectant for what He wants to do!  
So, prayers are sooooooo appreciated!

All of the fundraising is coming (in addition to many other things that He’s laid on my heart!) 

If you want to donate at any point during this, you can donate here. Yes, it is going to ask you to set up a profile. That’s normal. 🙂 

Keep an eye out for future updates!