By Linda Bond – General of The Salvation Army

Dear friends:

The 2012 Olympics came to a close with last evening’s celebration. The whole world was engaged for 16 days. No doubt its impact was felt all around the world with national pride at its best when the gold medallists stood on the podium, the relevant country’s flag raised and its anthem played.

In an effort to capitalise on the enthusiastic momentum within the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron has already launched a ‘go-forward scheme’ for young athletes. How far this nation came since London won the bid to stage the Olympics seven years ago! The vision was outlined in the bid but reality was a long way off. Naysayers struck a note of fear because of transportation nightmares, impact on the tourist industry and potential terrorist attacks. But today, only rejoicing and compliments are heard.

There are many stories in the Scriptures that recount similar negative reactions. It was not uncommon for people to see the giants and not the fruit (Numbers 13), the enemy forces and not God’s chariots of fire (2 Kings 6), the dry bones and not an army on the move (Ezekiel 37). It is not wrong to look at the ‘what if’s’ when mapping the future. Some of us are wired that way. We want to count the cost, plan for unsettling eventualities. However, when God paints the picture of the future with his ambitious promises and clear purposes, he asks us to step out in faith and take hold of the future with courage and confidence.

My travels in May to July involved five congresses (Denmark, The Netherlands and Czech Republic, United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland, USA Western, Mexico), the international Conference of Leaders in Canada and a weekend at Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings in USA Eastern. Participating in these events introduced me to visionaries and strategists. Each gathering took months, even years of planning after the initial concept was conceived. No doubt there were unique challenges. Yet the leaders pressed on believing that these series of meetings would be instrumental in bringing the territory together in worship, fellowship and mission. Even more significant was their belief that the Lord would come with blessing beyond what could be anticipated. Prayer undergirded every facet, every dream. And God did not disappoint! Mercy seat responses were unforgettable and new direction was established. Only the future will tell how significant these events were in the life of the Army. Please continue to pray in thanksgiving and in faith for a Spirit-filled Army.

As I write to you, I am aware that what I have shared is on the macro (large scale) level: Olympics, Old Testament accounts of the nation of Israel and Salvation Army territorial or international events. Yes, our God is the big picture God who plans in love for nations and churches. But he also has you in mind when he casts a vision of hope. There can appear to be many hurdles for you to overcome as you face the future, but be assured your God is gracious and mighty. Move forward today with courage and confidence.

God bless you richly and rest in the knowledge that he is with you.

Linda Bond

Source: The Salvation Army