My heart lurched as I hung Micah’s clean, but wet, shirts, shorts, socks, and underwear up on the washing line today. My eyes welled up, too.
I almost wanted to apologize to this apparel, and say, “Sorry, Guys. You’ll be sitting this trip out.”
You see, this set of clothing didn’t make the cut to return with Micah to Australia today. Instead, these shirts, shorts, socks, and underwear will dry under the South African sun, will be taken down from the line, will be folded up, will be placed in one of Micah’s dresser drawers, and will remain there in wait for Micah’s return.
It will be awhile.
For the next six months, Micah will be participating in his second term of service with Pais Australia. I won’t be writing about his experiences – as they are Micah’s stories to tell – but what I will do is express one of our hopes for Micah and his teammates as they embark upon their next set of Pais adventures.
As Micah begins his second half of his gap year, John and I are praying that the people, places, and events of this Pais year will be used by God to hone Micah’s identity in Jesus Christ even more. As a young person – with boundless opportunities ahead of him that could literally take him anywhere in the world – we want Micah to understand from the tips of his toes, to the top of his head, to the depths of his soul that his purpose, identity, and meaning in life are found in Christ alone.
It’s one thing to grow up hearing this exhortation from your parents in your family home. It’s a whole other thing to embrace this position in Christ for yourself – living into it resolutely and completely – being spiritually alive in Christ. Micah has chosen Jesus Christ. We have no doubt. However, John and I are acutely aware that the world in which Micah will be launching in the very near future – will question, test, threaten, and even deny and attack his faith and identity in any number of ways.
Remember Micah’s left-behind shirts? For the next six months, they will show no wear and no power. They will be life-less – because it is Micah who gives the apparel their welcome, their purpose and their identity. They are known as Micah’s shirts.
In the same way, it is Christ who offers life to everyone – like our son, Micah. He gives Micah the power and strength to live for Him and to be known as His follower. In name and in nature, we desire for Micah to claim and to know that he is a child of God – wherever he goes in this wide, wide world.
God’s Word says:
But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten….
The Message John 1:12 – 13a
To live into the privilege of being a child of God – living into our child-of-God selves – we experience the blessings of adoption and regeneration. Our adoption in Christ is a free, open-handed, generous gift of grace that is offered to all who choose to believe. There is power and liberty in this faith choice. Because once we receive the gift of life-giving mercy and grace in Christ, we have a strong, secure, and welcome belief. We know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah through whom we receive eternal salvation. We are sure.
Secondly, we experience rebirth – a spiritual rebirth. Our attitude, desires, and motives are regenerated. In fact, they are produced anew, healed, revived, improved, and reawakened through the Divine breath of life. Jesus gives us the power, authority, and ability to claim His renewing strength and become all that He desires us to be – in Him.
How exciting for Micah, for you, and for me – for everyone who chooses to receive the gift of grace and mercy offered through faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s a promise.
This covenant of grace is made known, experienced, enjoyed, and embraced by the empowering, regenerating faith we have in Christ as children of God.
And this is exactly the kind of faith we want most for our son, Micah to experience in the next six months in Australia and beyond. We want him to know that he is God’s kid – not just ours. The plan and purpose that God has for Micah goes way beyond our prayers, hopes, dreams, and imaginings. Micah is held dear in the comforting, guiding, instructive, and wise hands of God.
Because Micah is a child of God, he need not doubt his position, purpose and future in Christ.
Micah is loved.
Micah is known.
Micah is secure.
We have the same heart-desire for all of Micah’s Pais Australia teammates this year. We want them each to know how loved, how secure, and how known they are in Jesus Christ. As they claim and take hold of their faith, we pray that their lives are regenerated and produced anew – reborn, nourished, and strengthened in Christ. We pray that none of them hang like wet clothes on a washing line – without use. Instead, we pray that they live into the truth that they are true Believers, born of God, living out His purpose in Australia for the praise and glory of God Most High! We pray that their spiritual life will be dynamic, powerful, and fully-dependent upon Jesus Christ too. For as they love Him, love each other, and love those in their sphere of influence, their lives will show that they are living into and out of their child-of-God selves.
If they do this, the next half of their Pais year is going to be amazing!!! Simply amazing!!!
We couldn’t be more excited for them all!
Yes, my heart is lurching, and my eyes are welling up as Micah flies back to Australia. I will miss him. However, I couldn’t be more delighted for Micah and his teammates as they experience life as the begotten children of God.
Go for it, Micah!
Go for it, Pais Australia!
Go and make disciples!
We’re praying you onward in confidence and in hope!