…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9b
Over the past three days, we have seen that we need to watch and listen diligently for God’s eternal story of deliverance. God is at work behind life’s miseries and mysteries.
Today I want to share with you a personal testimony from our Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminars of this wonderful principle at work.
In 2004, Jim Cunningham and I were invited by our Central Asia Director to hold SSTS seminars in several countries of that needy region where persecution is often severe for the many believers from Muslim background. The first two seminars in one country went extremely well due to young interpreters (we sometimes refer to such as “interrupters”) who were very fluent. Before we finished mentioning a scriptural reference, they would be immediately quoting it in Russian (the colonial language of the area frequently used).
The third and final seminar was to be held in a neighboring country. After significant travel challenges to arrive at the location, we were greeted by our host with the news that there was no one to translate us into the local language, so they had hired Svetlana (not her real name) who reportedly was fluent in English and Russian. They could easily understand the latter.
The three-day seminar took place at a Christian camp ground very suitable for such training and where accommodations were excellent and private. Many of the forty assembled believers had not met before, so the three days were filled with great fellowship, music and worship.
But the seminar itself was a disaster! Svetlana was not a believer and not familiar with the Bible. Secondly, her English vocabulary was extremely limited. She did not understand even simple words like “grace” and “forgiveness.” We spent three frustrating days trying to explain biblical terms and principles to her and despairing that the group understood anything we had come to share. I left that event considering it had been a waste of time and effort.
In December 2010, Jim and I were back in the region working with SSTS trainers from all the five or so countries of the area. A young man approached us and said, “You don’t know me, but you know my mother, Svetlana. She was your interpreter in my country six years ago.”
I smiled sardonically. How could I ever forget Svetlana! But he continued with an almost unbelievable tale. After the SSTS seminar, his mother began reading her Russian Bible and ultimately gave her life to Jesus. Then she led her whole family to faith in Him. And now her son, standing before us, was selected to be here for training as an SSTS teacher in that particular country where I had thought our efforts were such a waste! God is good—all the time!
RESPONSE: Today I will serve God knowing that He is at work behind all life’s miseries and mysteries.
PRAYER: Lord, today I will rely on Your strength and power to accomplish Your good purposes.