In church a few weeks ago, Pastor Deryes Herrera Diaz from Cuba was filling in for our pastor, JR Coleman. The title of his sermon was, “Where is your there?” I have to say, though it appears a simple question, I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to answer it. And, in the midst of these mental musings, I think it is a question for every day . . . and perhaps everyone, as long as it is called today.
Isaiah 29:35 says, “…and the name of the city from that time on will be: The Lord is there.
Time and space do not allow a proper exegetical review of Isaiah leading us to that last verse, and I cannot do justice for the same reasons to Pastor Deryes’ excellent sermon. However, I will say this – the Lord has a place for us – physical, emotional, spiritual – an inheritance, and He wants us to go there. And the name of that place is the Lord is there. It is not as though the Lord is not here … for we know He is. But He has called us to a journey and the next stop is called, “The Lord is there”. It is not likely our final destination, simply our next destination, and He is calling us there. The real question is … where is your there? How will you get there? What is keeping you here?
For the Israelites, there was the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, a place where a bunch of grapes was so big, two people carried the bunch on a pole between them. It was the land of promise, God had given it to them, and all they needed to do was simply … go there. Ten spies went out to view the land, the Israelites “there”, and 8 of them returned saying, “We cannot go there.” The obstacles were too great, there were giants in the land, wild animals – better to go back than to go there. Two of the spies, however, simply stated, the Lord is there, and we must go. If the Lord is there, we will be okay; more than that, we will be victorious. Fix your gaze upon Him – not upon what you see, not upon your fears, but upon Him. The Lord is there and He is calling us unto Him, and though the journey from here to there may be filled with obstacles, potholes, giants – whatever – expect divine intervention, answered prayer, the miraculous, for the Lord is there and He is calling us there.
For every one of us, we are on a journey, and the Lord is calling us to grow, to go, to walk with Him to the next place, to go there. And, for every one of us, it is a journey of faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” “There” is around the bend, over the hill, just beyond where and what we can see, often beyond what we can imagine … but, we know this, the Lord is there. For some, as with the Israelites, it is a real journey, a call to go and move geographically. For others, it is a journey through trial and hardship, through brokenness, through pain, through repentance, forgiveness, and, seemingly, in this moment we find no relief … only the peace that passes understanding and a promise in our hearts that on the other side, the Lord is there.
For those around the world who do not have adequate medical care, who struggle daily with the knowledge that if something happens – disease, illness, accident – there is no hospital around the corner, no urgent care center. A health crisis without solution in view on a daily basis, and no way to get there. For MMI, the staff, board members, and volunteers – God has placed the burden on our hearts to be a solution, to try and meet what need we can where we can as we are able under His mighty hand. We want to get there, to be there, where we meet the Lord at the place of need, there, in their village, home, clinic or hospital. God has called us there, and to that end we labor.
How will we get there? Where is there?
As God unfolds that answer and opens doors over the next weeks and months, we at MMI prepare to go there. If you have not seen our Clovis warehouse recently, you will be amazed. Terri, Melanie, Jeremy, Chris and our team of volunteers have completely renovated our warehouse and sorting system to increase our sorting capacity and prepare for our new inventory control system being implemented in Fowler. In addition to our regular Thursday crew in Fowler, God has brought in laborers for the harvest. After 30 years in warehouse management and international shipping with Grundfos pumps, Larry Dixon has joined our team to implement our new inventory system. Individuals who share that burden for the nations have donated the funds for nearly $16,000 worth of pallet racking. We have been praying for a bio-med tech to come in and work on our donated equipment – Tod Harris joins us on Monday to implement systems and procedures for ensuring all equipment is tested and functioning when it arrives there. We were contacted by a local company, Multimedical Systems, who have opened the door for us to speak before 40 bio-med techs in April and share opportunities for volunteering and helping us get there. Matt Lopez joined our team as a warehouseman, forklifting pallets, organizing, sorting 4 afternoons a week in preparation for the forthcoming changes. An anonymous donor has committed to matching donations of $1,000 or more up to $100,000 in 2015 to help us get there. And all under the watchful eye of an amazing Board of Directors, who pray, encourage and co-labor with us.
God has called MMI there, and we are going. It may take months of preparation, but we know the Lord is there, and where He is, there is freedom and blessing for those in need. We are on a journey, praying about projects in Peru, Solomon Islands, India, Romania, Russia … and beyond. Where is your there? Will you join us in our journey – volunteer, travel, donate – be a part of the journey and let’s meet the Lord there.