I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop. Nothing unusual there except that I am a long way from home. Almost 5000 miles according to the inter-webs.
I have returned to a home away from home, Redding in California. I have been attending a leaders conference at Bethel church. God is doing amazing things here.
Many would ask the question though why travel so far to meet with a God who is the same everywhere? Why leave my beautiful family, sit on aeroplanes for over 12 hours each way, suffer the jet lag both ways and only for 2 and half day conference?
Can’t God meet me at home? I honestly think that is a great question.
Of course the correct theological answer is yes. God is the same everywhere, we have the same access to God wherever we are. God can work the same miracles in Edinburgh, Scotland as in a little known town in the mountains of California. Something I passionately believe.
Except the truth is, whenever we survey what God is doing across the globe, whilst he can do the same anywhere we find he isn’t. OK so that is maybe a little black and white. The point however is very true. When the son of God came to earth he came to the middle east, born into a little town called Nazareth. Could God have shown up anywhere else, yes. Did he? No. Even during Jesus’s ministry on earth we discover that certain places welcomed him with open arms and he performed breath-taking miracles. Other places, less so. Every place had the same possibility and potential but not every place has recognised that potential.
I want to suggest that that is as true today as it ever was. Not that God is only accessible in certain places but that he shows up in certain significant ways in certain places. He lands on people who are willing to host him, people who are willing to pay a price to pursue God with all that they have. Places that are open to what God wants to do on the planet.
The wise men in the Christmas story heard about what God was doing and travelled huge distance to honour God and worship him. I believe wise men (and women) still travel.
There is something about the inconvenience of travel that reveals a hunger. For the last 6 years I have travelled to this place to meet with God and receive from him. I believe it to be a place that God loves to show up. Not just in the miracles and signs and wonders that this place has become known for, but also in the encouragement of one another, the God honouring worship and the passion for the gospel and Kingdom of God.
If the opportunity shows up to visit a place like this, go. Take a step outside your comfort, a step outside your normal, a step beyond your routine. If you seek God you will find him. Seeking always requires effort. God is waiting to pour out the more to those who are willing to pursue him. It is never about earning from God but it is about revealing the condition of our hearts through our action.
Humility welcomes inconvenience that has God on the other side of it. It may be travelling to a city near you to hear someone who carries an anointing or it may be going to a church service you don’t normally make it to. It may even mean travelling to the other side of the world. Whatever it looks like for you in the season you are in my encouragement is to find God beyond your convenience. Seek him through the ministry of men and women who have already won some victory in an area you want victory.
Often before my now regular pilgrimage to this place I begin to wonder whether it is worth it. I have never regretted the decision. Our hunger paints a target on us that God loves to hit!
This trip, in some ways, has been more significant that any of the others and yet I very nearly didn’t bother. Sure God can meet you where you are, he has met me so many times in my home situation. Sometimes though our desire to meet God in our current location is simply a pride or resistance that prevents us pressing through inconvenience. We need to realise we don’t know everything we need and we don’t have everything we could.
It looks different for each of us but my encouragement is: Take a risk, get uncomfortable, pay a price and watch God meet you in ways you never thought possible.