Well, it’s been 4 weeks. What has seemed to be a long visit seems to have flown by quickly. From quiet morning breakfasts to busy afternoon visits to the churches or Sunday worship, evening home worship, even death of a Pastors mother in law. Then death hit closer home, with the passing of Mercy’s sister’s father in law. Pastor visits for healing prayer, money for medication – we have started to see the daily activities of life here in Kerala, India for Pastor Babu Samuel.
God’s providence. We know that God is sovereign and has a plan for all things. We know he is all-knowing, ever-present, and all-powerful. All too often (at least for me) I can lose sight of the fact that his providence is also personal to each one of us. It is not just an over arching big thing (even though it is that too!). It applies to each of us individually.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean.
I don’t exactly blend in with the people here.
Babu says often that Freddie could pass as Indian – when I ask about me, he laughs… really hard. I stand a full head taller than the women here and most of the men as well. I am gray haired and very – very – white skinned. There is no hiding me. I haven’t seen another white skinned person in almost a month.
We are nearing the close of our 11th day here in India. Both Freddie and I had intentions of posting a lot more than we have, but we are kept pretty busy most days and when we are able to get time to write – we usually end up spending it reading or having conversations with Babu and learning as much as we can about his ministry and how things work here.
To say this has been a learning experience would be putting it mildly. Not only have we been blessed to learn more about GCM as a whole, we have learned about culture, language, and have gotten to know Babu and his family more. It doesn’t seem like we have been here for almost two weeks, yet it also seems like we have been here longer.
I have an internal countdown clock ticking away in my brain. Every day when I wake up it tells me how many days remain until we depart for our trip to India. As I slowly come to consciousness after I shut off the alarm, my brain frantically calculates the days. Along with the number comes a skip of my heart and catching of my breath – and then a sense of joy.
Have you ever read scripture or listened to a sermon and thought to yourself “Boy, could so and so use this”? Or “Wow I could totally use this to point out what so and so isn’t doing (or needs to do)!” If we are honest with each other – we would admit to doing it. I have.
And in the spirit of transparency, I did it recently. I started reading 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, and listening to sermons on it to use it against you. Yes – you. Even if we don’t know each other, that was my plan. I was going to use it for anyone I could reach to show you how you are lacking in giving. Nice, huh? But by God’s amazing grace and his loving discipline, he knows better what we need than we do. And this case was no different. So, I am not here to throw scripture at you to show you where you are lacking – because God showed me through his word where I still have a lot of weakness. So instead, I am going to share with you what I have learned about my own heart in this area. My prayer is that you find it edifying, yet convicting if you need it.
When I say “40 days” to you what comes to mind? Some of you might say it’s one month and ten days; others might of the Book of Genesis and how it rained for 40 days. “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” (Genesis 7:4) Or Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:2) Jesus also appeared 40 days after the resurrection. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) This is just a few scriptures that reference the time frame of 40 days. In the Bible it can be literal and symbolic. Bottom line it is represented as a period of trial and testing.
What does the Bible say about the poor and powerless and how we should help them?
There are many references to this topic in both the Old and New Testaments. To list just a few:
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4
Do you ever feel the call of the Lord stretching you until it feels uncomfortable – pushing you out of your comfort zone? I am experiencing it now and it is probably the first time in my life as a follower of Christ. So why does he do this? Why does he stretch us beyond our comfort and ability? Ultimately, for his glory.
Let’s look at a couple biblical examples of how God stretches those whom he calls his children.
I have been reading through the Gospel of John a lot lately. I must say some of my favorite chapters in the Bible are found in this Gospel; specifically chapters 14-17. Throughout these verses we see Jesus laying out things that are going to happen. He was going to the cross, but before he did he wanted to reassure them – and us – that though he would suffer and die, he would return.