Following the Star
by Roy Jones
The longest solo road trip I have ever driven took place in the summer of 2019. I had just finished working on an inTouch camp at Restenas in Sweden and needed to go to Oradea, just inside Romania.
Although I was familiar with Swedish roads, I knew little about the four countries which followed. So, a lot of planning was necessary – something which I enjoy doing. Thankfully Google makes it easy and I also put out an appeal on my home church’s network to borrow a satnav that covered Central Europe.
The trip, which involved a ferry from Sweden to Gdynia and a drive via Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, went well. I especially enjoyed going through the beautiful High Tatra mountains as I had never been there before. But I know that I would never have had the confidence to do it alone without the aid of maps, a satnav, or most importantly, prayer. And of course, I wasn’t completely on my own because God’s presence was very real throughout the hundreds of kilometres on the road.
Just recently we have been thinking about the three wise men who had a star to guide them. Yet do we ever consider the faith which that journey would have involved – even when they had to take a diversion after visiting the baby Jesus? Our current Christmas traditions have somewhat blurred the real details of the how, where and why they made their journey, but we do know that it was done in obedience.
An even more outstanding journey took place centuries before Jesus came but was still part of God’s redemptive plan for all His people from then until the present day.
When Abram (as he was at the time) left Ur, did he have full knowledge of where he was being called to relocate to? However, he listened to God and had the faith to obey. It’s hard for us in the 21st century to imagine what that entailed; Abraham had to wait until much later to understand the reason for his westward move.
Much more recently in the last century, a thirteen-year-old heard God’s call to “go into all the world.” It probably seemed impossible before the jet-age, yet he chose to obey. Within fifty years he had visited and prayed in every nation on earth. In the meantime, he founded a certain missions movement which last year celebrated its sixtieth birthday. Back in 1960, the concept of YWAM seemed completely off the wall, but as Loren himself says “We do the possible while letting God do the impossible.” As a result of Loren’s obedience, over five million people have served in our mission.
As a father and grandfather, I have been impressed by the trust given to me by my daughters and grandsons when they have not been sure what I’ve been leading them into. It has been enough for them to see that they could rely on me to know what was up ahead even though they could not envision it at the time. Surely too, we can be completely reassured that God our Father knows His plans and purposes for our lives and service for Him, even if in ourselves we cannot see around the next corner.
Could it be possible that we sometimes want to have understanding before we are willing to step out in faith into the next step? We often describe our lifestyle as one of “living by faith.” This implies trusting God and His people for finance because we serve without having a fixed income. I strongly believe that faith is about much more than money. I am challenged by the realisation that spiritual maturity is not simply about knowledge, or if we are able to successfully fundraise – it is the fear of the Lord, walking in trust and obedience in His ways.
Covid has necessitated the way we are living right now – but the good news is that our God has not changed! May we be aware of the hope that is available to each of us, putting our confidence in His leading as we journey in faith during this new year.