February 21, 2016

Set Your Face


I was relieved yesterday to learn that I am not alone.  My friend texted me to ask why her husband and children make her feel like she is a "nazi wife and mom on travel days".  The backstory on this is that they were beginning their journey to their first trip to Disney World.  I know that particular journey well.  I know how many hours, days and weeks go into all of the "mom-prep" of that trip.  It ain't pretty, folks.  When a mom knows that this kind of journey is coming, she sets her face.  There's the list making, the packing, the meal planning, the packing, the tears, the packing...well, you get it, right?  I know what it's like to barely sleep the night before, and to wake up crazy early the morning of, shoving several pajama-clad children into a pre-packed, gassed up minivan, throwing individual baggies of dry cereal at everyone and feeling ready to hit the road for that 8 hour road trip.  (Well, 8 hours is actually a joke.  It's only 8 hours if you don't stop for bathroom breaks, meals, feeding the baby, stretching your legs, dropping by that really cool shop with the rainbow colored popcorn, etc.)  But let me tell you, when a mama sets her face, it is wise not to interfere.

It's one thing to set your face for a journey like this one, with a really fun destination in mind, and the certainty of a beautiful castle and that giant, grinning mouse at the end.  It's another thing altogether to know that your journey will be filled with unimaginable pain, and a decided death at it's completion.

Luke 9:51 in The Message Bible says "When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem."  The KJV says it this way: "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem."

This is a passage of scripture that gives us a peek into the humanity of Jesus.  He knew what was ahead, and that it would decidedly take courage, determination and steeling himself.  He had to set his face toward Jerusalem.  This was not going to be a joyful journey.  This was going to be the hardest he had ever worked, the most opposition he had ever faced, and the most rejected he had ever been.  And he knew it.  When you know what is coming, and that it will take a great deal of strength to get to the end, you set your face.  Please understand that I'm not talking about what it takes to get to the end of your life.  I'm talking about the here and now.  The current struggle.  The today trial.  The thing that has "impossible" written all over it.  There's an actual word for what "set your face" means.

Faith.

Faith is the thing that settles it all.  It's the surety that everything you're hoping for, dreaming of, believing in...is going to happen.  It's the KNOWING.  When you KNOW, everything else is sidelined.  You can adapt your vision.  Blur everything out that isn't your self-declared ending.  When you know, you SET YOUR FACE.

Wouldn't that have been a great ending to this blog?  Yeah.  Well, it's not.  Because the thing about Jesus setting his face is that he knew he was heading to an ending he didn't desire, yet he continued ministering, healing, teaching, sharing and loving all along the way.  He didn't just set his face on the destination; he also set his face FOR THE JOURNEY.  Jesus LOVED all the way to the cross.  If I had ever even gathered the courage to walk that journey to my own cross, you better believe I would have been blubbering and begging God to change His mind and walking crawling as slowly as I could possibly go.  I can't imagine that I would have been stopping to love on people and heal them and teach sermons and raise others up along my path.  But that's what He asks of us.  He asks that we trust Him enough to invite Him on our journeys.  The daily ones.  The big ones.  The small ones.  The really, really ugly ones.  The ones where only He can see the ending, but He still asks us to trust Him.  Those are the hardest.  

Friend, set your face.  The thing you're going through has an end.  If you're allowing Jesus to walk it with you, the end is a good one.  With Him, the ending of this particular journey you are on offers redemption and peace. 

Today's prayer:  Father God, King Jesus, Holy Spirit, I invite you on this journey.  Travel with me every moment and every step of the way.  Order my steps.  Help me as I set my face and progress toward your desired end for this situation I am journeying through.  Give me courage.  Keep my heart pure.  Keep my mind focused on you.  Keep my words true.  Cause me to honor you with my choices and to be a light WHILE I'm on this path.  May others know your truth by watching the way that I walk with you.  I love you, Lord.  Amen.

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