“It is good for you that I go away,” said Jesus to his closest followers on the night of the Passover. I suppose we commonly think of how they must have felt then.
Now, okay much less of a big deal, but leaving my family behind for two weeks made me think just now, somewhere between a sleep and a wake on Ethiopian airlines in the middle of the night: realise that the things I said to my family before going were really important. Whereas what I normally say is just ‘Daddy’ talking, or just another thing I say, with only a few hours before I’m not seen for a while, my statements set the tone for my absence.
So looking forward to visiting friends out on a YWAM mission base in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa. Our flight was at 9pm, and Colin and I already hit some challenges. Challenge number one: had we packed our cabin bag prepared in case our luggage doesn’t keep pace with us on our transfers – Addis Ababa, Lilongwe, then Chileka Blantyre. (Check, Colin buying spare toothbrush)
Challenge number two: can we cope with the automated check-in, selecting seats for all three journey legs, and sticking our luggage bar codes on the right way round. (Well, sort of).Challenge number three: having virtually had no sleep (I think Colin might have nabbed an hour or two) can we handle the next two transfers and get ourselves safely to Blantyre? (Will update you on that one).
Coming back to Jesus going away, he made the most incredible promises to his closest friends. I have been thinking even just now how much I love my wife and children, and need them in ways I don’t realise unless I am away – let’s face it only for a few hours so far.
But it is often good to be going away, with a firm promise to hang onto and a great God to trust in. I am the Lord, I do not change.There is a hope that is so sure that the reality is much clearer than our every day. More certain than the sunrise, or than the pull of the tides, and far more certain than your next breath, He will finish what he started. This is why Jesus could say, facing a terrible death, it is good for you that I go away.
Again in a much smaller sense, it is good for Colin and me to be going away. Not just because we will appreciate our own beds more when we return (although I have no doubt YWAM hospitality will be very fine!). Why else? Come along with us for the journey and find out!