One of the things that sometimes can cause frustration in our Christian lives is when we are in difficult situations and, seemingly, no amount of prayer is changing things — or at least, not that we can see. Gary Wilkerson in his World Challenge Newsletter, addressed the subject by using King David’s prayer in Psalm 6 as an example. I have included a quote from the article below.
“With a snap of his finger, God could have put an end to every major problem David faced, but he didn’t.
No one who suffers wants to hear that God is using their troubles to work a greater purpose. Paul made it clear, however, that our ongoing trials produce more fruit than might come forth from an instantaneous deliverance. ‘Endurance produces character, and character produces hope’ (Romans 5:4) . In short, discipleship takes place in every discipline that comes our way.
In this stage of David’s life, God was clearly deferring his servant’s deliverance. The Lord desired something greater for David than any of the king’s successes could have won. Indeed, for every follower of Jesus, this kind of painful deferral is where the rubber meets the road. We know that God is good, yet that doesn’t mean we’ll always see deliverance from our trials. It is a simple fact that some troubles won’t be resolved on this side of heaven.
So, why even ask for deliverance if God might defer it? Let me be clear that it is never wrong to desire that God would deliver us. Yet David’s life shows us that God may have a deeper work in mind for us…”
Sometimes, in deferring a quick answer, God has a greater purpose than we are aware of, and other times, His deferral of a quick answer may have to do with someone else. This is the case with a story I will share in today’s House of Blessing update.
Psalm 6:2-5 reads:
2 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O LORD — how long? 4 Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! 5 For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?
In verses 8-10 of Psalm 6, David concludes with these words:
8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. 9 The LORD has heard my supplication; The LORD will receive my prayer. 10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.
In my previous update I told the story of our Sisters Mufiedah and Sammrh (I’m not sure I heard Pastor R’s spelling of the name quite right) who were kidnapped by seven Muslim women who kept them confined for two or three days. During those days, they were severely beaten and deprived of food and water. The women were hoping to bring Mufiedah and her fellow missionary to the point of denying their faith in Jesus Christ. The women’s rescue, surprisingly, came in the form of a high ranking Muslim Imam who was familiar with who they were. They were then immediately set free.
The sheikh had the seven Muslim women escort Mufiedah and Sammrh to his house. Sheikh Mahmoud then told the two missionary women that they should now beat the seven women the same way that they had been beaten in the last few days. Mufiedah responded by telling the Imam that they had never learned to beat anyone. All they had a desire to do was to point the women to the Light and Love of Jesus, nothing else.
After spending some time explaining who Jesus is and what the Good News of the Gospel really is, the seven women asked Mufiedah and Sammrh to pray with them so that they could become followers and believers in Jesus also. As Mufiedah prayed for the women, they cried and committed their lives into the hands of their new Messiah. It took no time at all until they had reached their own families with the Gospel. All accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, were baptized and enjoyed a day of great joy and celebration. Where Sheikh Mahmoud stands with his faith at this time is something I don’t know yet. Has he become a follower of Jesus too or is he still just observing? I don’t know. In time, I suspect we will probably hear more!
This story is a living example of God not answering prayers for deliverance from a terrible situation right away. We now know the reason for God’s deferral. God knew that there would be a great harvest of souls coming out of the situation. Mufiedah and Sammrh’s faith in the Lord and patience in receiving an answer made it possible for all seven of these Muslim women and their families to find Jesus as Savior for themselves. And, only God knows how many more are yet to find Jesus as a result. God is always in control. Even if the two women had lost their lives, God would still be in control. We just need to trust and obey. There really is no other way!
Through funds made available from within Syria, HOB was able to purchase and distribute two more truck loads of wheat, plus blankets and mattresses among at least 22 refugee camps where HOB has missionaries embedded. At least 2500 families were blessed with the supplies as well as the special Oregano tea mixture HOB has been distributing. The missionaries also helped to bury at least 30-35 elderly who had died of the cholera infection or other winter diseases.
The work continues from one day to the next. All the missionaries know that time is swiftly running out and whatever harvest will be brought in must come quickly. The five days of war between the Israeli Defense Forces and Islamic Jihad are just another reminder that the Middle East is on the brink of a terrible regional war. We know of course that, according to Scripture, the coming war will morph into a much larger war in which God Himself will intervene in order to save Israel from total devastation. What does all this tell us? That Jesus is returning SOON for His Bride! Be encouraged!
Please keep Pastor R in your prayers, as you have been. His health is a constant struggle, but God continues to sustain him. When I spoke with him this last time, he said that he is praying that HOB can gather the funds to have 2,000 more Bibles printed. Many of the new believers would like to be part of an intense training to help them understand the basic beliefs of the Christian faith and how to start doing their part in the Great Commission. Praise God!
Keep Looking Upward!
Forever in His Service,