It was an ordinary Sunday service in a quiet village. The weather was comfortable and the only thing different was that a young person was to preach – someone who was probably preaching to such a large audience for the very first time.
The people, as usual, were going through the service. Many of them indeed praying and laying down before the Lord Jesus Christ, the burdens and cares of being alive in a sinful world.
The pastor/vicar was, as usual, leading the service. “One more day to glorify God and minister to the people.” Perhaps finding a little comfort in not having to preach on that day.
Well, the person who was to preach was surely tensed. Heart pounding to maintain the awareness of the task at hand. Every moment lingering way too long. “I just need to get this done, and God willing, do it well.”
But then, in the midst of all these different emotions and thoughts, there are two children running down the aisle with great joy. The very small one running ahead and a bigger one running after, all the while laughing, showing no interest whatsoever at those many annoyed faces trying hard to glare down to their little eyes a sober message – “this is a church and not a park.”
In the midst of various activities that were going on, the Psalmist longing for God’s presence says:
“How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts … Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself … Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise.” (Psalm 84)
There are those who are living faithfully for God, but then, they are troubled by the problems and troubles that come upon them. How can one who is living in close proximity to God be also exposed to several trials – is a difficult question to answer.
Such a life, troubled by various things, bears witness to at least two things:
- We are still on earth: Having lost it in Eden we don’t have any more the perfect world that God had created. God will redeem and make perfect His creation. But till then, we are living in a broken world and are exposed to all the ‘elements’ of trouble that this world has and does bring upon us.
- We are pilgrims here on earth: We are on a journey. Our whole life is a journey. However, we do experience the presence of God in this pilgrimage. Guarding a pilgrim mindset makes us realize that we actually don’t have much to lose; and thus, endurance becomes all the more acceptable.
Isaiah (in the 4th chapter) proclaims that those who live near the temple of God are also exposed to the elements and fury of nature. Yes, there is the manifest presence of God there which is glorious. But then, it is also another location on planet earth. We as God’s people, who are experiencing His presence daily, are still living in a world that awaits redemption.
Nevertheless, praise be to God – He has graciously provided ‘a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain’ (Isaiah 4:6, ESV).
Jesus has graciously provided for us His pilgrims, a ‘booth/place’ to be safe, secure, protected and sustained – on a day to day basis.
Can our prayer life be that ‘booth,’ helping us to endure the troubles that come upon us?
God told that Joshua “shall cause the people (Israel) to inherit the land that He swore to their fathers to give them” (Josh. 1:6).
Joshua had his mission from God.
We as the disciples of Jesus Christ are also specifically called to ‘cause’ some people to ‘inherit’ eternal life when they obey the Good News of God’s kingdom and believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, repenting from their sins.
Our job in God’s mission is to be where He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do so that people actually move on from death and darkness to God’s life and His marvelous light.
No matter where you find yourselves today, tomorrow, or the day after …, this your task is ordained by God. If Joshua led the people across the Jordan and into the promised land, why don’t you extend your hand, voice, prayers so that someone may grab your help and find life eternal in Christ Jesus.
For a time as this, you are where you are, to fulfill what God has intended for you to do.
“Heavenly Father, we pray that you will grant us the Holy Spirit to move over the dark, unformed/deformed /inadequately formed, and chaotic areas of our life, to bring about your holy will; even as your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, the Word of God manifests Himself for creating in us, for us, and through us the life that you want us to live for the glory of your blessed name, the one true and living God, Amen.”
To begin with, the earth was described as void, chaotic, and that darkness covered the deep waters. The work of God was only begun and therefore ‘pre-complete.’ In Genesis 1:31, God, after His work, sees all that He had created and calls it ‘very good.’
Our own life today – though, far from becoming what God has purposed for us – may be worked upon by God the Father to fulfill His holy will, as the Holy Spirit ‘moves over’ us and the Son of God manifests Himself as the Creative Word, bringing forth even what is not.
Where there is darkness for us let us see God bringing light.
Where there is no space/home/occupation let us see God providing space for us even as He did at first by moving the waters and creating dry land.
Where there is lack let us see God bringing forth resources that we need to live.
Where we are in need of supportive relationships let us see God bringing for us all whom we need to become what He wants us to be and also fulfill His will here and now.
And when all is done may God look at our life and remark – “It is very good.”