Here's Where We Come In
By Lois J. Stucky
Articles in this issue of Herald of His Coming stir our hearts to put away anything that is between our soul and our Saviour. Sin clogs the faith and prayer channels. "Oh God, search our hearts! Help us repent of any sin revealed and make things right with You and with others!" To do this puts us on "praying ground"--able to have sweet, unhindered fellowship with God and able to effectively give ourselves to the battle for righteousness. If we are tolerating known sin, we are aiding unrighteousness.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation" (Prov. 14:34). Our nation urgently needs righteous Christian citizens who are on "praying ground." In these days the very future of our nation seems at stake! There is a lot of questioning as to what lies ahead in the years of the administration newly elected. There is some bracing for hardship and loss of some Christian liberties we have enjoyed. There is some fearful speculation of an economic crash. It is predicted that sin will become more exceedingly sinful.
Now Is Our Hour of Opportunity
Uncertainties and mounting problems give us strong conviction that now is our hour of opportunity! To delay could mean irrecoverable loss. By all means, work and pray for God's intervention in our homes and nation. Then look beyond to the ends of the earth. We are told that "God so loved the world..." So must we love the world. "He gave His only begotten Son...that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17).
May we share some bits from mail that crosses our desks here, to lift our sights and challenge our hearts? This past week two letters, from different African countries, told of teams forming to take the Gospel into Somalia. Somalia is a war-torn country. It is an Islamic country with over 99% of the people being Muslim. Opposition to Christianity is strong. The Christian teams take a great risk in going into Somalia for the sake of Christ. But they feel God has called. They ask our prayers.
These teams represent unsung heroes of the Christian Faith. They count obedience to their beloved Saviour of more value than their own lives. They count the worth of Somali souls of more value than their own lives. They will not go with the latest equipment. They will go in a humble way. We of the West might excuse ourselves if we had not more resources than they have. But they go depending on the Lord. Do you think He will be with them? Most assuredly, I would say! Let us pray for them! If God has asked you to do something that seems hard, even impossible, take inspiration, friend. Ask largely of God, and expect largely.
In a magazine received from India, it tells of local missionaries going to parts of their great country which are unreached with the Gospel of Christ. They know before they set out some of the hardships they will face. There will be such things as stalking tigers and poisonous snakes as they travel through jungles, tropical illness, sparsity of food, strong and sometimes violent opposition from those engulfed in darkness. More than one missionary has been recently martyred. Here again, unsung heroes of the Faith march forward! Obedience to the Lord means more to them than the preserving of life. The souls of the unreached are dearer to them than their own lives. Who will bear them up in prayer?
Or take some zealous young Christian leaders in the former U.S.S.R. whose letters we have read. They exult in the Christ who has become dear to their hearts. With great eagerness they make plans to spread His blessed story. But they meet two-pronged opposition--from the Orthodox Church and from Islam. To go to law to gain the advantage they need to promote the Gospel would almost surely mean violent reaction against them, even the taking of their lives. Then who could give the leadership they so capably give even though they must do it amid restrictions and limitations. Here are more unsung heroes of the Faith battling against very formidable odds. Pray for them!
Then there is an American couple who have given the strength of their youth and the wisdom of their maturing years to ministry to the people of Afghanistan. Here again is a country 99% Muslim. It is one of the most unreached countries of the world. The Afghan government destroyed the one Christian church that existed. Then the Russians swept in. Missionaries had to flee along with millions of refuges and the work and witness for Christ went on across the border amid poverty, danger and desperate needs. War raged within Afghanistan for ten years while the Russians were there, and since they left, civil war and Muslim extremists carry on deadly conflict. A missionary colleague and some Afghan converts had their lives snuffed out, but still God's faithful servants labor on. They are unsung heroes of the Faith, loving not their lives above the Exalted One who gave His life for them.
These happenings are all many safe miles away from us of the West. But suddenly we could be face to face with some such situation. Are we ready for it? Perhaps right now we are being tested more by the Lord than we know. In the midst of our more favorable circumstances, are we responding with self-denial rather than with self-indulgence to the seemingly small opportunities that God brings our way day by day? Are we skimming by as effortlessly as possible in our Christian living, or are we putting heart and soul into living for Him? Maybe victory in this kind of battle counts as heroic action also in the sight of the Lord.
Whatever God says to us to do, let us do it without delay and do it with our might. A story that came out of World War II tells of a young man in a prayer meeting at the home church who prayed: "Lord, you know our boys are limited for time for prayer. On the battle fronts they haven't time to pray. And that's where we come in! We can carry their burden of prayer for them. Help us, Lord, to do it, and don't let us fail the boys standing in need of prayer!"
Friends, we may not be at some life-threatening battle front, facing actual bullets or swords but prayer is where we come in! Prayer is a spiritual battle front! There are no medals of decoration given now to the hidden, praying saint, but the Faithful One Who sees and knows all, will one day hand out the rewards. Let us be found faithful in prayer.