Big Trees State Park, Northern California 2011
So brothers and sisters, your faith has encouraged us in all our distress and trouble. Now we can go on living as long as you keep your relationship with the Lord firm. We can never thank God enough for all the joy you give us as we rejoice in God's presence. We pray very hard night and day that we may see you again so that we can supply whatever you still need for your faith. We pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus will guide us to you. We also pray that the Lord will greatly increase your love for each other and for everyone else, just as we love you. Then he will strengthen you to be holy. Then you will be blameless in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all God's holy people. (1 Thessalonians 3:7-13)
The greatest reward in full time ministry is seeing people believe God.
Before you think that’s simple, look at where we are – we live in the City of Gold, Johannesburg, where the Golden Rule is practiced every day. Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
In Jozi, more people worry about finances than anywhere else we’ve lived (which is saying a lot). We have friends who are wealthy; friends who are poor but they all are really cool people we enjoy hanging out with. The coolest thing is when we hear how God is making Himself real to them. It may be in the mercy and love He makes real and abundant during a trial, it may be a great blessing that was unexpected. Most of the time I am encouraged by my friends praising God despite their circumstances, not because of them.
God is real. He is very personal and cares about the details of our life. Still, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by our circumstances and wonder where He is. The things that are beautiful to me are when someone says that they shifted their eyes to Him and believed that He is who He says He is.
Today as I read this passage in 1 Thessalonians made me sit and remember the days in the USA after we had been exposed to our relationships with people here in Africa. It made me remember all of the times we have left for holiday and prayed that God would “watch over things” while we were gone. It’s okay if you laugh here...we can start to feel like we’re the answer to people’s needs rather than God ....
So when someone tells us of looking around, seeing desperation and then remembering they are really taken care of by a Father who loves them it is wonderful. When they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His Holy Spirit is directing their steps it feeds us, excites us, and rejuvenates us.
Today as I read this, I prayed for so many here... but I prayed for my family back in the States. How much we pray for them!! We pray very hard night and day that when we see them again we can have a conversation about the deep things of God – the greatest conversation we can have. If they need us to, we pray to God that He empowers us to supply whatever they need for their faith. We trust God that He will be the solid rock for them – just as He is ours.