We were somewhere in the bowels of southwestern Virginia, hurtling down I-81 at 75 mph, 13 of us destined -- we hoped -- to reach Brentwood, Tenn., sometime that day. It was Sept. 13, the first leg of our Oregon Trail journey to Corvallis where I would begin the Cornerstone School of Ministry eight days later. We were about halfway through the day's trip of 700 miles when Ezra had an epiphany. Our resident 2-year-old had figured out this wasn't a shopping trip to Wal-Mart. We weren't heading to church in Williamsburg either. This seemed much bigger than that. He just didn't know what it was we were up to.
"Where are we going?" Ezra said. Claire told him in an excited voice that we were going to Aunt Jami's and Uncle John's house. We would spend two nights there before continuing on to Oregon. She was doing her job to take Ezra's mind off of the monotony at hand and get him thinking about the prize at the end of the day's trip. It worked. Apparently Claire's excitement was contagious because Ezra exclaimed: "Can I go too?"
That brought a good laugh in the van. A few days later, perhaps in the cornfields of Nebraska, or maybe the chlorophyll-free high plains of Wyoming (I confess I can't be sure exactly where my epiphany occurred; I just know it happened), I just thought, `Wow, what a great heart.' Ezra was right on the money. He didn't exactly know what the journey held. He didn't know how long of a ride he was in for, or what he would have to endure. He knew the destination though, and that was enough for him. And what struck me was how accurately that portrays what this life is like for me and my family at the moment. I know the Lord led us to Oregon for me to be better equipped to handle God's word. I don't know what travails lie ahead. Or what we'll have to endure, other than it's a year of sacrifice. But I can cling to the words the Lord spoke to me about heading back to Oregon in August, when He spoke to me in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 15: "If you return, then I will bring you back." That said to me the Lord was with us in our endeavor. Jeremiah continues to describe how people will fight against him but they will not prevail. "For I am with you to save you and deliver you," says the Lord. Whatever comes our way, I can rest in that.