During the past few months of stay-at-home orders, Iâ€™ve taken to walking the perimeter of our backyard to spend my â€œalone timeâ€ with God. Given the fact that we had rented out our home over the past 9 years, I was not surprised to discover shards of glass, perhaps from a broken bottle or plate, left from a previous tenant. Day after day, though, the sunâ€™s light would shift to reveal new pieces, even though I had removed the previously discovered ones. Itâ€™s also been a bit rainy lately, maybe some of the pieces were just under the surface.Â But, you would think after a while, the path would be cleared of debris – itâ€™s fairly well-worn, after all.
This made me think of the spiritual path we walk.Â As we carve out a trail, walking with God, we notice some glass shards in our life: a sin or a habit or a stronghold that threatens us with harm.Â We remove them from our path and dispose of them, content to know we wonâ€™t get cut on our next â€œgo-round.”Â But now that weâ€™ve removed some shards, the light shifts and we notice a few more the next day or the next week. Will this process never end?
But the understanding that we are all at varying points of this process produces just the humility Dave and I needed to take part in facilitating online â€œround tableâ€ conversations during the 3-week missionary training session for new candidates. The topics that we reviewed last month: spiritual formation, culture, and theology of missions, among others, became open doors into our hearts through which the Lord could do His work, reminding us of the journey still ahead. But they also served as signposts, signaling to Dave and me of how far we have come, through both grace and perseverance, helping us to encourage these who now begin their missionary journey. Our prayer is that, through our interactions, these new missionaries will have less â€œshardsâ€ in their experience on account of this preparation time we spent together in community.
Lord, help us not to just stare and wonder at the glass shards on our path of life.Â We want to pause, bend down, and carefully collect them in order to dispose of them. Â Teach us to treat each item with care, removing it from The Way as we continue to walk with You. And, may we look forward to the day when all the shards have been forever removed.