This is Our Final Destination: Do You Have the Right Map?

By John Busuego

How important is it to have the right map? I recall the days traveling across the country with my family, on these epic road trips to visit relatives in Illinois, driving hundreds of miles from the warm coast of California, through the mountain ranges of Colorado and across the undulating terrain of the Mid-west.

Long before the days of smart phones and GPS dashboard attachments – you know the ones where the robotic-like lady voice told you to make a U-turn one too many times, yes those…we had a map, a hard copy printed map. A Rand McNally map that you could buy at the gas station. This one was crispy and tattered: one my father had someone hand him, and it was a grand old piece of equipment we never traveled without. It listed all the highways, backroads, towns and major cities. And when we hit a city that we were not familiar with, we also had a map of the area. It seemed simple enough that by having the right map, we could travel hundreds of miles, and without the slightest deviation could make it to our final destination.

 

How often do we turn to others, self-help books, or do-it-yourself videos on YouTube for direction and guidance in this life? Or do we use the Bible as our guiding map or moral compass? I find that I treat it as another “app,” conveniently tucked away in a folder. I am convicted. Why have I been using it merely to seek out answers to find places I have not ventured to. I may have it all wrong. How do I even know what the right direction is in life, and how am I using God’s Word to provide the poignant direction towards salvation?

 

It seems that our lives are directed by the things we feel are “right” to do. We use these as proverbial landmarks to inform us that we are on our way to reaching where we need to go. It may have been imposed by our parents, the church we grew up in, or even what society tells us. How often do we feel that getting a college degree, marrying our spouses and raising our children in the church still doesn’t feel enough or sufficient? That our road map of life hits some sort of speed bump, and we scratch our heads and ask ourselves, “am I even going the right way?”

 

I recall the conversation Thomas had with Jesus and the other disciples about the Father’s house. Thomas did not understand and asked Jesus, “we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus replied, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:4-6). In this word, we can begin to understand why we have the Word. Not only does God describe the direction, he explicitly describes the final destination!

 

So be encouraged; we are going the right way! We have the right map, and we know what our final destination is. We want to see Jesus. We want our family to see Jesus. We want others to see Jesus and know what everlasting life is. We have the right tools, and we have the know-how to get there.

Just Pray

By John Busuego

 

As most of you know, I have been gone on a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan and each day that passes is one less day being away from my loved ones.

In this time of separation, my family has gone through so many trials that it baffles me how much Kristin has managed to keep it together in my absence. I believe her resolve and strength has come through prayer.

There isn’t much I can do physically, not being there to help her, so I’ve resorted to the only thing I can do to support my family, and that is to pray.

I’ve prayed so hard during this deployment that I sometimes feel there isn’t anything else to do but that.

I sometimes pray to God to forgive me because I feel like all I do is ask him to do things because I have no control over it. Here are some the short prayers I’ve repeatedly gone through lately:

“Please Lord, please don’t let this helicopter crash while I’m in it…”

“Dear God, the children are sick (again), please heal them…”

“Lord, I am going into a briefing with a few senior officers in the audience, please help me not sound like a bumbling idiot…”

“Dear God, please protect my wife as she drives the children to school and their activities…”

In times of stress and anxiety, I am reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, in which under great duress he prayed to God so hard that it was as if “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Jesus prayed so earnestly, being in such anguish because he knew the world he physically lived in was going to come crashing down on him.

I’m in that garden now. My wife is in it too, and so are my children. My friends and family back home – all of us are living in a world where we feel it may come crashing down on us too. What are we doing about it? We follow Jesus. We pray about it.

Prepare for Battle

By John Busuego

 

“Don’t bring a sword to a prayer fight….” – Pastor Kevin Miller, Sr. Pastor at Awaken Church

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. It’s been wrapped up with a laundry list of tasks to fulfill requirements in order for me to deploy to Afghanistan this spring with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division.

Aside from ensuring all our forces are protected from various threats, I will be responsible for conducting assessments of the effectiveness of U.S. forces to transition various responsibilities to the Afghanistan National Security Forces.

From rifle and pistol shoots at the firing range, lab blood draws, an inordinate amount of immunizations and endless briefings – all have been meticulously planned and cultivated to prepare my mind and body for what is to come.

The 101st Airborne physical standards that all soldiers and officers need to complete every quarter include a 12-mile foot march with full pack and being able to run four miles at 36 minutes – all calculated to set a physical precedence in the division and prepare for the rigors of combat. I am physically and mentally prepared for what is to come. But am I spiritually prepared to guard my heart against loneliness and separation from my wife and family?

A few weeks ago, Kristin and I took a much-needed vacation (without kids) to Germany. The Sunday before we flew out, I was convicted at our home church. Our pastor, Kevin Miller, asked the congregation why we continue to fight spiritual battles with physical means.

Sick? Take more medicine. Over-piling bills? Need to work overtime and make more money. Wandering eyes and lustful thoughts? How can I even address this without feeling shame or guilt?

It seems no matter what we do, we continue to fight these spiritual battles in our lives without the proper tools. Jesus showed us. He prayed at Gethsemane to God: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42.

Here is Jesus, pitted against the evil spirits in this night. Forces forming around him to soon physically take his life away. His spiritual battle physically manifested itself the night Judas betrayed him. No sword, no battle drill or training could stop what was about to happen.

Jesus knew. God your will, not mine. He prayed. And he was victorious.

What is the battle in your life? Where are we in the direst of hours, and what have we done to prepare for what is to come?

Stop fighting the spiritual battle with physical means. We can only win with God.