I like humor. I like to laugh and tell jokes. I often refer to the mission field in humorous ways because even though the work may be hard, there are some funny moments in it all. But every so often we hear a sad and disturbing story. A local missionary was killed yesterday in Yemen for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. He was gunned down in his car by two men on a motorcycle. Joel Shrum was 30, a husband with two young children. He was teaching vocational skills to poor communities.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. We have all been taught that it can and will happen. Although this is hard to take for remaining family and friends it is a part of our faith. I am saddened by it today but I also rejoice in knowing that God will be glorified in it. As much as I fear this for people I know, I also hope that I may go out in this way some day. I hope that I will be able to hold to Stephen’s prayer in that time.
Please remember to pray for Joel’s family and co-workers. Please pray for the men responsible for this act of hate and violence. Pray that the lost will come to know HIM.
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
But Wait . . .
For those of you who can view American TV for at least an hour you will probably see an infomercial for something that you don’t need – a snuggy, knifes that cut through anything, amazing cleaners, globes to water plants, etc. All of them have the same sales pitch: You can buy this amazing product for $19.95 but wait . . . if you order now you can get two for the same low amazing price . . . just pay for the processing and handling which I assume is probably another $19.95. It always sounds like a rip off to me. I don’t trust them and it turns me off. As soon as I hear “but wait” I feel like I’ve walked into a snake oil store.
Life can be like. A rip off. A “but wait” moment. Sometimes waiting is good. It builds patience and character and causes us to listen to God. But when it is attached to a “deal” it is usually a rip off that we will need to figure out. The question isn’t whether we will get ripped off at times – its “when”. It happens to all of us. I’m currently reading about George Washington and how he got ripped off by Benedict Arnold. What a bad deal.
No the answer is “when”. And the question is “How will you respond to the rip off”. Will you get angry and abusive or will you forgive and move on? Will you respond in a Godly way? The big difference between George Washington and Benedict Arnold wasn’t in their military leadership – both were great. The difference was in how they reacted to being “ripped off”.
I pray that you will build character on top of those “but wait” issues that you are dealing with.
“But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” PS I always thought this was a HUGE rip off!
I was at a restaurant with my sons the other day. Our drinks came and I smiled because I got a “bendy straw”. I didn’t say anything because I was too embarrassed. But then my sons said “Hey! Bendy straws! I love bendy straws!” Oh, how the small things in life can give us pleasure! I am infatuated with hawks that now live along our highways and I thank God every time I see one. I love sunsets, a cool breeze, and the sound of waves at the ocean. Many of these small joys in life I learned as a child.
My biggest joy is being able to curl up in my Father’s lap and feel His love when it seems like the whole world is against me. I learned this as a child too. Who can harm us when we sit in His lap?
I pray that all of you get to experience small and large joys today. I hope that you are able to remember joys from your childhoods and smile as you go about your “adult” duties. Most of all I pray that you will take the time to curl up in our Father’s lap and just cuddle.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.