I have two friends I’ve known for a long time; one I met in grade 6, and the other in grade 10. I grew up in a small town so we definitely interacted in school and occasionally at social events but they didn’t become friends until after we graduated and I left the country. I attended Bible school in Austria; I loved it and enjoyed the experiences but at times I missed the feeling of being “familiar” to someone. I wrote to many people (and by ‘write’ I mean letters – with a pen and paper - this was before email). They were the only ones who replied. And so our friendship grew through distance; we’ve never lived in the same city since but they are among my closest friends – my BFFs.
For the past 20+ years, I see my two friends at least once a year. We’ve lived a lot of life in those 20 years – marriages, babies, job changes, relocations. We live in different parts of the world (Korea, Winnipeg, and me on the West Coast), so this year we gathered together in Kansas City, MO. International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC) is located in Kansas City, which is why we chose that city. For several weeks leading up to the 4-day visit, I was dealing with life circumstances I felt ill-equipped to handle so I was simply in survival mode and my one prayer was, “Lord, just let me make it to KC without falling apart.” I needed to clearly hear from God and I needed a little girlfriend time.
You may wonder why I felt I had to go somewhere to get help instead of grabbing hold of the “ever present help in my time of trouble”. It’s true Jesus is always with me and I’ve invested my life learning to recognize his presence and how to host his presence but sometimes I don’t want to fight the battle it takes to put myself in fully in his presence. Sometimes I want things to be easy. Sometimes I need to retreat and take a break. Am I speaking to anybody here?
There are certain places that are “easier” than others; some people call them portals or thin places. I don’t know what to call them but I know some geographical places are effortless to connect with God. My worship room is one of those places but when prayer and worship happens corporately, the “easy” place is fortified even more.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
In the game of Capture of the Flag, the objective is to reclaim your team’s flag which has been hidden in enemy territory. Each team has a territory which belongs to them, and as long as you are in your own territory you are safe. You can spend the entire game in the safe zone but it will never accomplish the goal. You have to get out of your safe zone to help your team bring home the victory but it can be tiring in the enemy territory and sometimes you need to take a break and regroup in your own safe zone.
Friends, I know you are fighting the good fight. You are struggling for breakthrough in many areas, areas that may currently be in the hands of the enemy. But you are not alone. Don’t hide, and wait for it to pass. Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to keep getting together not because it’s something to do on a Sunday morning but because together is how we stay encouraged.
I needed a time out, a break in the safe zone. It was marvellous; a reprieve for 4 days. But now I’m back, and I’m going back into the battle. Cover me; and I’ll cover your back too.