Jason and I are not seasoned travelers. Sure, we enjoy a nice vacation now and then, but mostly, we’re homebodies. This is just one more way God has removed us from our comfort zones in the past six months as we’ve traveled back and forth. I admit we’re getting a little better at knowing how to pack and how much to pack, but we still haven’t really found our groove. By the end of a long trip, items have been moved around and shuffled so much that neither of us knows where anything is. And yes, a few things have been lost or forgotten in our travels. But, we’re still learning, and maybe soon, we’ll be as adept at traveling as the caravan Ezra led back to Jerusalem.
We find the account in Ezra 8 where the prophet and a large group of travelers from Babylon embark on a four-month journey. There are so many interesting points and valuable lessons in this chapter, but I want to focus on the fact that God’s hand was upon them in their journey. Despite traveling through hostile territory, the caravan arrived intact and unharmed. Not only that but when they counted up their treasures, every one was accounted for. Not one had been lost, misplaced, or stolen. Miraculous, huh?
If this group can travel across the desert for four months and keep track of every single possession, surely we can get from Point A to Point B and back again, right? After all, isn’t God’s hand on us as His children? It is, no doubt about that, but I want to point out what Ezra and this group did before embarking on their journey.
God’s hand wasn’t just on Israel because they were His people but also because they had sought His face. They had fasted and prayed before beginning their journey. They asked for guidance and protection. They pleaded with God to prove Himself not just to them but to all those who were watching. And God honored their requests.
Jason and I often say a prayer before starting on a trip, but I confess it’s not that kind of prayer. It’s generally a quick request for protection on the road and little more. But what if we prayed as these people prayed? What if we prayed for the power of God to be on us during our journey? What if we sought His direction each step of the way? And what if we prayed for days before the actual trip instead of waiting until we’re in the car and ready to go? I can’t help but think things would go more smoothly and we would feel less stressed. Yes, I believe God’s hand would be upon us either way, but how much more of His power and peace would we experience?
You may not be traveling the roads on deputation, but life is a journey. Every day takes us into the hostile territory of the world where we must learn to not only survive but also thrive. As God’s children, we can be assured that God is watching us. But if we want to truly experience His power and His peace, we need to ask for it. We need to seek His face. We must pour out our hearts before Him and let Him know we mean business. Then, we’ll see God move in miraculous ways. We have His word on it!