There are some things you can not experience by living an ordinary life in America. I love America, and I love my ordinary life. I am blessed beyond measure to live in a country where I can drink water without thinking twice and enjoy my air conditioning when it is over 100 degrees outside. I especially love going to worship with the other thousand or more people and reading my Bible with a cup of coffee when I wake up before the sun. But, if I stay in this comforting abyss forever, I am missing a greater joy. I had the blessing of experiencing it these last two weeks, and now I have a new addiction, a new dream. I dream of experiencing that joy all over again.
While visiting our aftercare home in South Asia, our team showered the love of Christ onto over one hundred girls. These girls have been abandoned or sold into slavery by their own families, and needed a place to be accepted and loved. We loved many of them straight into the arms of Jesus. I will never forget the exclamation of one who had just prayed to receive Christ. She excitedly told her friend, “He died for us! No other god would die for you!” It was at that point that I realized in my heart just how good the good news still is. See in America, we are often ashamed of the good news. We forget that as Romans 1:16 tells us, “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” We have heard the gospel story over and over again and we become numb to its power. It is often only when you go to the far reaches of the earth and you find people who have never heard the story that you realize its power.
I also believe I understand Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 better when he says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy.” To love someone so much to say that they are your glory and joy is to know the love of Christ. One day, my new friends will kneel beside me in the presence of the Lord Jesus. To look forward to that day, brings me immeasurable hope.
There are people in America who have never heard the gospel, and going to the nations does not excuse us from the responsibility of reaching out to those who live around us. Going does not have to be an either/or scenario. The lesson of how good the good news is can embolden us and compel us to be more evangelistic here at home in America. But there are just some ways God works in other places that He does not do here at home. God still reveals Himself in miraculous signs and wonders in places where there are few Christians. In America, we are His signs. We hold His glory within us and like parking attendants in those bright orange vests; we point others towards Him and His righteousness. However, where there are few Christians, He still reveals himself in signs and dreams.
The young men on our team experienced this when praying for a man who had been unable to move his arm for three years. They prayed for him and he was able to move it. He praised God, and many came to know Christ as a result. We know that the story of God’s miraculous healing will be talked about in that village forever as a testimony to the glory of God. Our boys were awe struck to see God work in this way. Many people will go their entire lives never to see such a thing because they loved their ordinary life in America too much. These boys and girls accomplished more on this two week trip, than most Christians in America will experience in their entire lives.
We saw God work in ways that He simply does not do here in our ordinary, comfortable existence. I have a new addiction, a new dream. I want to hear the words my friend exclaimed repeated by others who have come to understand, “He died for us! No other god would do that for you!”