Glimpses of the Life God Intends
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” - Isaiah 55:12, NIV
My Missio Community group read Isaiah 55 this week. We were encouraged to notice which verse or phrase in the chapter we were drawn to, and consider why that particular excerpt might hold special meaning to us. I chose verse 12 quickly. What initially struck me was Isaiah’s beautiful personification of mountains and trees. And, of course, who isn’t striving for more peace as a general rule? But then I realized - I kind of “get” this. Not completely, and not all the time, but at a heart-level I have truly experienced moments of this peace and joy in the forward movement towards what God intended for my life. It’s something I have experienced through my journey with Missio Church.
Prior to joining Missio I was part of a wonderful church in North Seattle. It’s a church that boldly lives out Jesus’s commandments to love Him and love our neighbors. I gathered many practical tools for sharing my faith in the context of community development. I also gathered something we all desperately long for - friends. My husband and I were part of a community. It’s an essential part of church life; building networks of people for the purpose of fellowship and spiritual development. Creating a place where people truly belong. However, I’ve observed that “community” is also something we often put on the throne in place of our God. We mistake it for the end game, rather than an important component of a much richer and more abundant relationship with Christ. And maybe I had done that, just a little bit.
When Jared (Missio Church Planter) invited us to become part of Missio Church, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I didn’t want to. I wasn’t surprised by his invitation, I knew his “ask” was on the way as soon as we learned that Jared and his family were our neighbors. (Word to the wise: If your neighbors are church planters, don’t get too comfortable.) As my figurative grip became tighter and tighter around my comfy church-life, I knew God was speaking clearly. It was time to listen and follow.
The mountains weren’t bursting into song before me, but I did begin to feel the pull of peace. God was affirming my movement towards Him. My talents were needed at Missio Church. I began to develop deep friendships. My sense of security in my church family along with the knowledge and tools I have gained throughout my church-going life have led to moments where I am able to speak boldly about my faith. I have experienced brief moments of understanding Isaiah’s proclamation that in allowing God to make me what I was meant to be, I will experience true joy and peace.
I don’t know what singing hills and mountains sound like, or trees clapping their hands. But somehow, I do know. I pray it is a sound that becomes more and more familiar to all of us at Missio Church.