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As I sit down to start this newsletter, I am in the Omaha airport waiting for my first flight of my journey back to Cameroon after about a month in the US and Canada. My current itinerary is the third version of the day. I could probably write a whole newsletter about this morning, but I will save you all from that craziness. Let’s just say it has been an ‘interesting’ day already, and I haven’t even boarded for my first flight! (check out my Facebook page for more of the details if you want . . . little would I have guessed when I started this newsletter, but the saga continued well beyond the three itineraries and my final piece of luggage took nearly a week to catch up with me in Cameroon!)
Traveling internationally is one of the inevitable parts of my life as a missionary, but not something I ever thought about much beforehand. Before heading to Cameroon for the first time in 2010, I hadn’t even been out of North America. Truthfully, that was pretty normal for the majority of people I knew. Most of us didn’t even have passports, and international travel was something reserved for ‘rich’ people in my mind. I am often amazed by how almost ‘normal’ it has become. I find myself talking about exotic places like Italy and France with an unsettling degree of familiarity, reassuring nervous first-time passengers that the horrible noise of landing gear being lowered is ‘normal’ and ‘ok,’ helping non-English speakers figure out where to go in US airports (whose signs are amazingly monolingual for international airports!), and discussing the merits of various international airports and preferences for different airlines with some degree of knowledge. Crazy!
Some friends of mine recently flew with their kids for the first time, and it was so much fun listening to how their kids reacted to the experience. At least one of them was so excited because several aspects of the trip were “just like in the movies!” I was struck by the contrast. Quite honestly, I have allowed that which is extraordinary to become ordinary, normal, maybe even mundane. Which leads me to ask myself: what other extraordinary aspects of my life have I allowed to fall victim to normalcy? I can come up with a whole list ranging from phone and other computing advancements that have occurred in my lifetime to the fact that this giant metal cylinder I am sitting in with probably a couple hundred people is FLYING, to the marvels of modern medicine. However, none of those hold a candle to what God has done!
Take a moment to consider the Bible stories that have become so routine to us that we don’t even consider how extraordinary they are anymore. How many soldiers did God allow Gideon to lead to victory against the Midianites? (go back to Judges and check it out!)What about the parting of the Red Sea or the stopping of the Jordan River? And you gotta love Elijah calling down fire from heaven on his water-soaked alter as a testimony that our God is SOOO much more than Baal. There are more of these ‘little’ miracles than I can count throughout the Bible. And then there are
the “big ones” like bringing Lazarus back from the dead – seriously people, think about that! He was dead long enough that he STANK! We aren’t talking about ‘hey, grab the defibrillator and see if a shock or two can restart his heart’ like we see in the movies. We are talking about giving life and health back to smelly decomposing flesh! The list could go on and on, for the Bible is filled with the extraordinary. But, how often do we step back from the familiarity of it all to really be astonished at what God has done and can do?
I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to pay more attention to the extraordinary – be it in the world around me or in the Bible. I want to re-discover the amazement and be astonished at what God has done and is doing! I would love to hear from you – what has God amazed or astonished you with lately? What is He reminding you about that is quite ‘extraordinary’? Drop me an email at email@example.com and let me know!
Blessings! Kristi TenClay