I have been having a very stressful week. Trying to get everything ready for my Study Abroad trip brings out the worst in everyone--especially me. If you didn't know, let me fill you in on my trip to far, and maybe you will see why I am so stressed.
For the entire month of June and part of July, I will be Studying Abroad in the Middle East. (Do you see where some of the stress is beginning?) We will be departing from St. Louis and flying into Cairo (making a few stops along the way). We spend about a week in Egypt, then head over to Jordan for another week. After that, we pop over to Israel where we will be working on a Biblical dig site for two weeks, learning all the in's and out's of Biblical Archeology. The last week we spend in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, seeing all the famous Jesus-sites.
Some of the famous sites we will see include the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Karnak Temples, The Valley of the Kings and Queens, Mt. Sinai, St. Catherine's Monastery, Petra, Masada, Amman, Bethsaida, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Gethsemane, the Wailing Wall, Caesarea Maritima, Bethlehem, and many more.
Sounds exciting, right? That's what I first thought. I was THRILLED out the whazoo! I was ready to go and experience so much! As it turns out, other people didn't share my excitement.
Some of the people that were closest to me started to doubt the trip. First, it was a money issue. After I told them I was paying for it, then it became a safety/moral issue. Some people that I am very close to think the Middle East is a festering pot of evil: the whole area is condemned by God and that is why there is so much bloodshed and warfare in the region. (Mind you, I didn't know many of these people held these views until I told them I was going over there. I want you to imagine my sinking face as I ran up to them and told them, "I'm going to the Middle East on a school trip!" only to watch their face cringe and brows furl as they unleash on me the reasons why I should not go.) Some people were legitimately concerned for my safety because of the recent political unrest. While these kind people feared for me, they were still excited with me as I was preparing for the trip.
*SIGH* This has been the cause of my stress the past week, preparing for a 5 week long trip while trying to fend off the Right-Thinkers. Can you see why I have been a bit testy and jumpy, and overall in a very weird mood?
This is also why it was so refreshing today to wake up to find a voicemail on my phone. The message was left by a young man I rarely ever speak to, so I naturally assumed it was a pocket-dial (considering my name is the top, if not very close to the top, of everyone's address book). This young man has left many pocket-dials before, and most of them are pretty boring: just background noise and a lot of scratching.
I actually do enjoy listening to pocket-dials. It is like a game to me; I try to figure out who dialed me based off of the voice and background noise before I look at the caller ID. (This time, I cheated and looked first.) Some of the dials are very entertaining. I got to listen to someone talk to the cashier at Walfart for a few minutes about their hair. I listened to some other boys playing Xbox one time. Other times I get to catch up on juicy gossip that I quickly forget once I hang up (because I really hate gossip).
This time was different. As I pressed the phone to my ear, I hear the faint sound of someone's voice. For the first five or six seconds, I strained to hear what they were saying, but then all of the sudden, their voice became very clear as I could hear the phone being dug out of the pocket and set on the table (or chair, or whatever was present). In an instant, I could hear the conversation very clearly.
The person was praying. Not just, "God is good, God is great, let us thank Him for this plate. Let's eat!" These people were in true spiritual warfare prayer. I had no idea who or what they were praying about, but the person praying was praying with deep conviction, quoting the Word of God and praying over this other person with the authority of Christ.
I sat there in that moment, suddenly totally awake as I "eave's dropped" on a prayer from across the country. The reality became so real to me: people around this world are praying right now, and not just simple prayers, but the prayers of warriors. Not only that, but there were a few of them out there that were praying like this for me. The thought sent shivers down my spine as I sat there.
As the last, "Amen!" rang out on the phone, the voices became more distant as the people left the table (or chair or whatever the phone was on) and headed towards more voices in the background. I listened for another 30 seconds to see if I could hear any more, but the phone was silent with the slight murmurs of voices in the background, indistinguishable to my ears.
I lowered the phone slowly from my ear as I hear Lola (my pet name for the affectionate AT&T lady who asks me if I want to save or delete my voicemails) asking me to press seven or nine. Of course I wanted to save it! I was so rushed (and still slightly asleep) that I quickly pressed seven and hung up. (EPIC FAIL!) It took me a few moments after I hung up to realize that I just deleted the message. Dang....
Yet the point still remains. People are praying for you out there who you may never even know. Someone cares about you enough to take time out of their day and pray for you. Even if it seems like the whole world is against you, you always have someone on your side who has your back. Never forget that. God reminded me of this fact today. I hope He blesses you with it as well.
Following His Call,