Thankful for Jet Lag

Wiki’s description of jet lag: “Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis and rarely as circadian dysrhythmia, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long distance trans-meridian (east–west or west–east) travel on high-speed aircraft.”


I jet lag a lot. In fact, this year it has seemed like I’ve somehow maintained a strange, daily form of jet lag. If you are a consistent “jet lagger” like me than you can relate to the unusual symptoms: waking up in the middle of the night craving food and coffee and the strange desire to write or talk or work, falling asleep in the middle of mid-afternoon conversations, or trying to remember where you are after a short nap on a bus or train or cab or plane. It truly is a terrible modern day missions affliction. (Somewhere in Heaven, Hudson Taylor is laughing hysterically)

Jet lag is a beast. Just this month, my boys and Jess made the transcontinental trek with me to Malaysia to join in worship with dear global friends at the SEAPC Friends Around the Table conference. It was wild to witness the boys navigating jet lag together. Just imagine the six-year-old snoring through church and the three-year-old waking you up in the night for spaghetti and meatballs. What a trip!

In the trippy moments of one jet-lag driven early morning or maybe midnight mingle, an incredible conversation took place; one that I will never forget and one that I believe God ordained just for me to give thanks for God’s faithfulness. Our six-year-old Josh woke me and asked me to tell him a story. He crawled into bed next to me and — a bit dazed — I shared with him the story of the two spies who believed and the ten others who did not. I told him about the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, and the giants who threatened their future, and how the two spies lived in faith, held true to promise, and understood inheritance. When I was finished, he said, “Are you talking about Joshua and Caleb.” “Yes!” I proudly cheered, “You got it, bud.”

“You, Josh, are named after that man. Joshua is your middle name. It was the name that God gave me for you. Your first name is Avery after your grandfather — Mark Avery Geppert.” I shared.

“Yes, I know that, Dad.”

I went on, “Well did you know that your cousin Jack Myers who is the same age as you is really named John Caleb Myers, and that Jack is a nickname after his grandfather?”

“Really, no I didn’t know that!”

“And that John was grandpa’s dad’s name. So you and Jack are both named after men in our family who lived their lives to provide an inheritance for their grandkids. You are also both named after the two spies who believed God for the Promised Land and who were strong and courageous in battle. God chose these two men to fulfill his promise to His people.” Josh jumped up from bed, “That is awesome, Dad! The Bible is the most awesome book ever.”

In that jet-lag-driven moment, with half of my mind thinking on the hundreds of present friends from more than 35 nations who’d come to Malaysia to hear God’s direct Word for the next season in their lives, and the other half of my thoughts bouncing alongside of Joshua in the revelation of God’s heritage and inheritances, I became thankful. Thanksgiving is the response we give in acknowledging the heritage that we have freely received and in the appreciation of the inheritance we cannot earn. This is why we call the big prayer before the meal, “grace.”

Our family’s Joshua and Caleb will face the same decisions as Joshua and Caleb did in the Bible. Of course, they won’t be living in tents in the wilderness and facing man-eating giants, but they will have to make a choice with their lives to embrace who God has called them to be and, through faith, obtain all that He has promised them or otherwise defer that inheritance to the next generation. How thankful I am for the opportunity to teach them God’s Word.

This year as you have given to SEAPC, you have put the promises of heritage and inheritance into the hands of new believers in Tibet, Nepal, India, China, Cambodia, Laos, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cuba, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Oman, UAE, Afghanistan, North Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Tasmania, Canada, the U.K., and the United States through the South East Asia Prayer Center. I envision six-year-olds all over the world learning from their parents about the promises of God for their lives. This is the most meaningful gift you can give to anyone and it is the one I am most grateful for.

Thank you for trusting and choosing this ministry to share the Word of God with the nations this year.

About the Author
Matthew Geppert image

Matthew Geppert

Matt serves as the President of SEAPC. He first joined SEAPC as a regional representative in 2003 after graduating from the University of Montana’s Environmental Studies program. Matt became the President of SEAPC in 2014 after his father, SEAPC founder Mark Geppert, retired. His years at SEAPC have provided him with the opportunity to serve and participate in nation-changing Christ-centered projects. He also serves as an advisor to a number of ministry boards in the U.S. and abroad.