Let's Go AWOL … that was the title of the retreat I did in Sicily.
Well, I returned home safely from my Italian excursion and was ready to get settled back in when Whammo! All this stuff just began to come at me. In the last week I have experienced more frustration, aggravation and stress than I care to remember! And guess what … I've found myself saying … I'm ready to go AWOL! I'm throwing in the towel! I'm DONE!!!!
It's actually not terribly surprising to me that my first week back has been such chaos, however. After all, the enemy would like nothing more than to distract and discourage me. He would like nothing more than to take the very words that I spoke in Sicily and test me with them. On the other hand, the Lord could also be testing my faithfulness, as well, in order to prove my faith genuine, grow me and stretch me. Either way … in His sovereignty, He's allowed it and let me just say, IT HAS BEEN A WEEK! I'm having to constantly remind myself what I taught at the retreat in Sicily and apply it like never before!
So … what did I teach about going AWOL? I taught that rather than running away and going the traditional AWOL (absent without leave), we are to run toward God and with God. Here's what AWOL means to the believer …
A = ABIDE in Christ – remain with Him (John 15), Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength … (Luke 12:31-33)
W = WORSHIP and WIN the battle – In the sunshine and in the storms, choose to worship God!
O = OBEY and OFFER – We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2)
L = LIVE it out – Radiate and shine for Him
So … when I feel like running away–going AWOL–what I really need to do is go AWOL!! I need to run to Jesus, not run away from my problems. Because nine times out of ten, my problems are not going to change (at least not right away!!).
Oh, but in the midst of all the chaos and problems that's hard isn't it!!?? The solution? The solution is for us to train ourselves to go AWOL every day as A Way Of Life! So that when the going gets tough, we're already in the habit of running toward Him. So that's what I've tried to do this week. I've tried to maintain a right perspective and run to Jesus. I've gone to His Word, stayed on my knees a lot, gotten help and support from my accountability partners, sought the wisdom of godly people I know, worshipped in the midst of the chaos, asked the Lord to show me the path of obedience in each matter and tried to radiate His light to others.
Now, have I been perfect in all of this? No, and I never will be. But at least rather than going AWOL without Him, I'm going AWOL with Him and deep down in my heart, I can experience joy in the midst of the storms!!
I hope this encourages you today … John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, that in me, you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."
So … are you ready to go AWOL?