Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. – Revelation 1:17
This weekend at church, we heard from several missionaries. The stories they shared reminded me that hidden suffering is all around us. Newborns are left to die, children are neglected, entire communities are tormented by spiritual deception, secret saints fear for their lives. Clearly, this world is no party!
I tend to feel overwhelmingly sad and frustrated by these situations. As a mom, I wanted to drop everything and rush to the cold, dark mountains of Asia, scoop up the precious, discarded babies we heard about, and bring them safely home. But I can’t. I’m a single mom with limited means and a very full schedule.
If only I were God. I would do such a great job!
Yes, that’s where my self-reliant, self-enthroned thoughts take me! But I felt God’s reassurance as I listened to the victories he had won in each situation. It was easy to trace his loving hand in each tragic story we heard. Working through humble, yielded people, God “upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14) You can listen to the missionaries’ beautiful stories here. (Please check back if it’s not available – it takes a couple days to post the sermons.)
The triumphant stories brought a two-fold message: They elicited my trust, assuring me that God is far better able to handle his world than I ever could. And they inspired me to do the most effective thing I can, staying close to Jesus and letting him use my life however he will.
The stories revealed what God is always doing, even when we don’t see it. He is at work in every situation, calling people to himself through unexpected solutions that we could never devise. Because he is omnipotent and omnipresent, he responds to any prayer, anywhere. He sees the big, eternal picture, and he is good.
Jesus told us, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Our part is to rest in Jesus, staying in tune with him each day and yielding our lives to him. He can use the yielded, unpretentious life in ways we can’t imagine.
Has God used your life in a special way?