We are in the final hours before we hit the road and the air to get to Belize. This is our bi-annual trip and always brings with it a level of anxiety and nervousness. A healthy amount of it, because it makes me sharper and forces me to decide between what is needed and what is unneeded. It’s crunch time and it is in that crunch time that much can take place.
In the midst of preparing for a trip or a camp, there are a number of things that we can forget. We can get so focused on the rush of logistics and details that we can miss some of the biggies that are still present in the midst of crunch time. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to remember the toothpaste, the extra deoderant for that one kid, enough underwear and the passports (those are usually pretty handy for getting into countries legally).
But the level of things that are at stake can sometimes be lost in the midst of crunch time. I’ve put my list of things that I keep on the forefront of my mind as I enter the crunch time of preparing to leave on a mission trip:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
The tension is always greatest right before the battle. When you get ready to head out for something like a missions trip, you are gearing up to take the battlefield. If you don’t think the enemy would like nothing better than to get under your skin, annoy you, cause you to doubt what you’re supposed to be doing, and try to find the tiny exhaust port in your massive, space station-sized mission.
The first step in combating spiritual warfare is to be aware that it is coming. You have to stay alert in crunch time. Stress is high, emotions are ticked up a bit, and everything begins to roll. If we aren’t aware of the battle we are in, we will lose before we even get on the battlefield.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. – Ephesians 6:18
Right after Paul pushes us to be alert, he describes all the tools we have to combat the onslaughts of the enemy. But, he ends this by calling us to press into prayer. Its in the quiet moments of prayer that we are reminded, that we are affirmed, we release the arrows that come from the enemy.
I know that I can get irritable in crunch time. I can find myself getting bothered by the smallest of things. But when I pause and enter a space that recognizes his peace and providence over all things, I am able to see that peace calm my heart and my mind. It’s in crunch time that prayer must dominate so that doubt folds to peace.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. – Ephesians 6:19-20
I have found that it is in crunch time that the crazy thoughts start to come in. The dreams, thoughts, and most urgent wishes come. The things that given their timing are seemingly impossible if only by the power of God. I have often wondered if that’s on purpose.
So that crazy thought that comes into your head during crunch time, pray for it. Ask God to make it happen. Ask the big crazy thing. Pray for God to move in a way that you perhaps didn’t prepare for, but God is ready for. So many incredible things have happened throughout Scripture when God’s people have boldly asked God to make himself known.
What do you do during crunch time?