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December 28, 2007

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Lovin Jesus, Proclaiming Hope for a lost and dying world, Music, Learning how to better follow my Lord and Savior, Playing my "guitfiddle", writing about random things making them sound country, mexican food, just food in general, live music, traveling, random fun, fireworks, big fires, anything adventerous,


Anything I can worship with, Nickel Creek, Brad Paisley, The King - George Strait, Keith Urban, John Rich, Josh Turner, Matt Wertz, Andy Davis, Dave Barnes, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Chris Rice, Tim Hughes, Joss Stone, Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Dierks Bentley, Hillsong United, John Mayer, Mute Math, Rascal Flatts, Shawn McDonald, I love Piano, Grits, All American Rejects, Johnny Cash


Armageddon, A Beautiful Mind, Orange County, Batman, The Notebook, StarWars, LOTR, Anchor Man, Mean Girls, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, ... many more


The Barbarian Way, Uprising (McManus), Searching for God Knows What, Blue Like Jazz, Through Painted Deserts (Miller), Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life (Piper), I Am Not But I Know I AM (Giglio), Wild at Heart (Eldridge) Best Question Ever (Stanley)

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Hawaii Revisited

It's 4:31am and I'm honestly a bit perturbed to be awake. I throw on a shirt, keep my shorts and grab my hat on the way out the door. It's a silent ride to the airport this morning which encourages my thought to drift, something I haven't allowed much lately. I'm on my way to see Aaron Shew and Tyler Haynes off. The long awaited time has come and they are currently in the air on their way to Thailand for NINE months. Their step of faith is inspiring.  

We turned off the airport exit from I24 and I immediately got that sick feeling in my stomach. It's that nervous, anxiousness one gets when they know something big is coming. It's because I've been there myself… about 9 months ago. As I lay in the back seat staring at the ceiling my thoughts started to turn.

I remember leaving everything with no idea of what to expect. I remember leaving my family standing in the darkened driveway; I didn't let them come to the airport because I thought I would be easier just saying goodbye at home. Then came the long drive to the airport with my friend Tracie while the sun rose. I remember praying "Ok God, here I am…" as I watched the sun rise trying to comfort myself and understand that He was completely in control.

I remember how my heart felt when those closest too me got up early to come see me off. I remember how it felt to pray and walk away from them. I remember turning for a last glance and some of them not being "so strong" any more.

That's where the "sick feeling" comes from every time I walk into that terminal. This morning it was dark and early not promoting much conversation which allowed me to think. I've held my thoughts on that season of life tightly captive since it ended, so today has been a new thing for me.

To put what God had for me in one word would be impossible, but the best I can come up with is "desert" The dictionary here in my lovely Microsoft Word defines it as: "a place or situation that is devoid of some desirable thing, or overwhelmed by an undesirable thing." That particular definition may be a bit strong for my situation, but it expresses the idea.

Every single one of us will hit times in life we would consider to be a desert. It's more than just a "dry spell", it's a freaking life-changing, "God where are you?" season where it's all we can do to keep our heads above water. The situation will often be painful and rarely desirable. And hear this… at this very moment we are all at one of three places in life: Headed into the desert, presently in the desert, or coming out of the desert. If you've never experienced the "desert" in life, it is coming.

But why?

That's the non-productive, but human thing to do. We question absolutely everything… so why?  

Check out Hosea 2:14 – 16. In my Bible this passage is labeled "the desert."

14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
       I will lead her into the desert
       and speak tenderly to her.

 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

 16 "In that day," declares the LORD,
       "you will call me 'my husband';
       you will no longer call me 'my master.

Now, a few points to help us understand this "desert" concept.

Notice how the word "allure" is used. Most of the time when we find ourselves in the undesirable places of life we think God has banished us here in some sort of punishment. But that isn't even close to what the word "allure" means. "Allure" means "take my hand… I'm going to lead you somewhere. I'm going WITH you!"

Verse 15 refers to the PURPOSE of the desert. There He is going to give something "back" to her and when it's over she will "sing as in the days of her youth"

Verse 16 is where we can get a peace-giving perspective though. It's in this "desert" that our Father "allures" us to where we learn to love him. Here we learn to call him "husband" (as we are the "bride" of Christ). It's where we learn the meaning of true relationship. In this time of undesirable situations is where we learn what it really means to love Him. It's where we grow close to our maker.

Honestly, in the back of my mind, I think I had idea of what Hawaii was going to hold. It's kind of that larger perspective on life we get from time to time where we can view things in a different light. I knew, though I wouldn't have admitted it because that would have scared me, that Hawaii for me was going to be a season of growth and change. I knew things in life would be different when I came back.

I wrote in my journal almost every day I was there. I wrote an entry entitled "I sure hope hindsight is prettier" because what was currently in front of me wasn't exactly a "walk in the park."

What I'm trying to get at is the fact that hindsight IS beautiful. God is intentional and that's where we stand when we find ourselves in the harder situations of life.

Romans 8:28

Jeremiah 29:11

Romans 8:38-39

1 Kings 8:57

Isaiah 40:11  

I walked back into life and nothing was the same. I am not the same. I have experience behind me, a relationship with me, and a peace about the future I didn't know before. Hindsight is beautiful.

May we embrace, in faith, the things that make us stronger.

January 9th, 2006 - airport

January 11th, 2006 - standing on lava

August 21, 2006

i happen to think "Desert" is perfect...and i definitely know which of the 3 i'm sitting in right now and it helps to know someone else understands and it also helps to have someone even at least attempt to explain it...thanks for it :o)
August 21, 2006

i love the verse from just makes me realize how our perception of life experiences and God's plan for us are SO different. In the past, I have definitely had that idea of God banishing me...but you ARE so right. God didn't just abandon us in the desert!! He is there holding our hand!! thank you so much for continually sharing what God has been revealing to you because it really does encourage people like me. Amen brother!!! Mahalo Nui Loa, Catelin
August 22, 2006
Robin Morrison said

amazing. thank you...for this, for everything...
August 22, 2006
r said

Dude, Charles and I were just talking about this... minus the Hosea reference. I love it!
August 22, 2006
Ryan Conley said

Wise words, very well said. And now to something completely different...hows it going?
August 24, 2006
Kelly said

wow justin vance. Your outlook is incredible. I know the phrase “God is sovereign” has become a cliché at times this summer. But wow, how true is that!? I cant imagine going through life without that truth… its like being assured that we don’t have to worry about ANYTHING in life all because He is completely sovereign …and that is so huge!! Everything really is 20/20 in hindsight. Great illustration…kind of reminds me of what clint said last night about how “people look at suffering like it’s a bad thing” when in reality that is often times what keeps us from becoming stagnant and lukewarm in our walks. (And I know this isn’t about you, but I really do just have to say thank you for being someone who the glory of God is constantly reflected in , you have no idea how much of a blessing you are ….you rock poopie pants :) )

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