Following yesterday’s edition of “Beach Stroll in the Pouring Rain,” I awoke to this view today. More heavy precipitation. Perfect weather to curl up with a warm beverage and a blanket in the recliner, and enjoy a good book. But, of course, that wasn’t what was on the menu for today’s challenge. And I wasn’t about to let this weather put a damper on my plans. (*Sorry, folks. If you’re just getting to know me through this blog, you’ll soon discover a pattern here. I do love puns.)
I didn’t fall asleep till quite late last night, one of the dogs woke me up too early this morning, I’m feeling achy from the wet weather… you see, there’s always a multitude of reasons why NOT to step outside of my routine, beyond what’s comfortable. Thus, the 30-day Challenge. And here we are at Day 2.
If there’s one thing that living in Southern Europe for thirty plus years has developed in me, it’s a fighting spirit. You see, despite its wonderful people, natural beauty, rich history, cultural patrimony and outstanding food and drink, Southern Europe is generally quite disorganized. Getting the simplest of things accomplished can often be painfully slow and disturbingly frustrating. The possible solutions are two: slip into resignation and apathy or become a warrior.
I found this charming fellow during my walk on the beach yesterday.
He was mixed in among all the litter and debris
that had been washed in with the tide
following the storms.
I couldn’t help but chuckle
at God’s sense of humor.
I mean, of all things to find
just as I was meditating on the importance
of being willing to stay in the fight,
and of allowing myself to be transformed.
During the three decades that we’ve lived in Italy and Portugal, we have constantly felt the struggle, perpetually been in battle to see God’s will done here. We want to see a breakthrough! We long to see young people in relationship with Jesus, living vibrant and passionate lives, despite the hopelessness and apathy that so often pervades.
For six months now, Denny has been working hard on organizing No Longer Music’s 2016 tour in Italy, France and Portugal. Every single potential concert – each location – has been a struggle. With the Portugal dates just two weeks away, all three cities that we’ve been waiting for permits from have continued to drag their feet.
So since we need to have a definite answer from the city government in Faro TODAY in order to make the concert happen here, I decided to make praying for them to approve it and issue the permit my challenge for Day 2. But to step outside of my routine (because Denny and I have been praying for this at home EVERY day), I got in the car and drove down to City Hall.
Faro’s City Hall building is so beautiful and walking it’s perimeter while praying was a powerful experience. I also arrived there right at lunch time, so I stood out front praying as workers from various offices walked in and out. I prayed that each one who might have a role in approving the concert and issuing the permit would swiftly get their job done and that the paperwork would continue to resurface on their desk until it was processed!
Then I went inside and interceded in the gorgeous, domed lobby, asking God for breakthrough in this city and through this concert. I asked the receptionist if I could go upstairs to see the rest of the building, but she told me it wasn’t permitted.
I declared God’s promises over Faro, over its government and its people and prayed that all its businesses would prosper.
Finally, I drove to the park where we’ve requested to have the concert and I asked God to draw so many young people there the night of the show… to fill their hearts with a hunger for Truth, and to draw them to Himself. Though the park was empty today because (you guessed it), we’d just had a downpour, it’s such a great location for the concert, right next to the Mall at the entrance to the city!
So please stand with me today in this challenge… and be a warrior! Join your hearts with mine to pray for our beautiful city and for God’s will to be done here, in Jesus’ name.
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city
to which I have carried you into exile.
Pray to the LORD for it,
because if it prospers,
you too will prosper.