The excitingly scary thing about an unexpected journey is the fact that unexpected things happen. The last two posts have been a departure from the actual journey itself, although as I stated earlier, this discovery has been at the heart of the journey. In what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus encourages us to invoke the Father’s will over our lives. The interesting thing about this is the discovery—or maybe I should say the question—in understanding what the will of the Lord is. Many times I have asked the Father how this could be possibly be His will! Seldom—if ever—have I received an answer. What this has shown me is that I have a particular idea in mind when I pray for a certain thing. When it does not go according to my idea I quickly think that God was not listening to me; or that he didn’t care enough to answer me—at least not in the way I thought he should have. I have come to understand how this can and probably has caused many to fall away from a relationship with the godhead. After all if he doesn’t care enough to answer this one simple prayer, why do I need to bother pursuing him? The logic makes sense from a natural point of view. However the bible is there to point out that his ways and thoughts are higher than mine. The apostle Paul tells us that it is by much tribulation—trials, testing’s and challenges—that we will enter into the kingdom of God. He instructs the young Timothy that he is to endure hardship like a good solider. These things war against my mind that constantly screams, “But I don’t understand!” I have embraced the Word of God as true, so I quiet my mind by repeatedly reciting these verses—along with many others—until it calms down into quiet submission. This week the unexpected hit again. It came with such force that it all but took my will with it. We have run out of money. I have struggled to book appointments that potentially result in sales–which mean a paycheck—and the ones I have managed to set have fallen through. I have even had to borrow from my children’s savings account to meet necessary expenses. Once again I am not telling you this to pull on emotional heart stings to feel sorry; Quite the contrary. I am telling you this because this family has made a commitment to walk with the Lord. It is the apostle Paul who also tells Timothy that if you have food and clothing that you should be content. The apostle tells the church at Philippi that he has learned to be content no matter the circumstances. The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews states that Abba Father will never leave or forsake us—so be content. I intend to shout it to all who will hear once He shows himself faithful—which he will. But how do you handle it while you are going through it? I have battled depression and hopelessness all week long. At times I have been able to do nothing more than recite scripture after scripture over and over again. The first step in the process is to believe. This isn’t the time to throw up the fist and angrily shout, “I thought you cared God!” No, this is the time to throw open the pages of the Bible and find as many verses as you can to speak out loud as often as you need to until you find the ability to cope. You first must believe that the God you have trusted to take care of you, will indeed take care of you. After that you must believe in yourself. Was it the right choice to follow God the day before the crisis hit? If the answer is yes, then it is certainly the right choice now that you are in the crisis. The reason this is so important is the fact that you will kill yourself trying to second-guess the decisions that have already been made. The second step in the process comes from the late Walt Disney. His statement Keep Moving Forward—made famous in the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons—will assist you in looking forward instead of backward. There is certainly a time to reflect before going forward, but this isn’t that time. Once again the apostle Paul shows up this time talking to the church at Ephesus telling them to stand—to fix to or establish it. They are to do this (stand) once they have done all; that is everything necessary—like believe in Jehovah and your decision to follow him. It is at this point that the apostle turns military commander by telling them to “suit-up” in God’s armor. Although it is important to understand the purpose of the various parts of this armor, this isn’t the place to list that. What is important is the third step in this process, which is to prepare you for battle. This isn’t a walk in park, a happy dance two-step. It is a battle. I like what young David told towering Goliath on the battlefield, “The battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands.” Please do not be mistaken, this is reality—It hurts. It is a struggle; but it is also winnable because of whose you are. This is why I write it. This is why this blog was started in the first place. It was—and remains—an invitation to join us in an unexpected journey—one in which we cannot loose for winning; cannot go under for going over; cannot be defeated for being victorious! The part that you and I are to play in this battle is to suit up and to speak up using the Word of God as our sharp two-edged sword. The challenges that we face are indeed very much real just like the giant that stood before young David or the lions that surrounded Daniel or the fire that engulfed the three Hebrew men. The beauty of the Bible is the fact that we are privileged to see the outcome that took place then—which will be the same outcome today, if we follow these three steps. The journey maybe unexpected, yet the outcome is quite predictable—we win!