Once upon a time, a kid named Randy rejected Jesus at a fair when a bunch of high school kids offered to answer his questions about God and the Bible. He laughed in their faces.
Later, that kid became a Christian and served Jesus as a youth pastor, influencing my husband Chris. Years later, Chris also served Jesus in youth ministry, which is where he met and influenced me. Together, we committed to serve Jesus wherever He wanted us, including on the mission field. Following the Lord’s lead, we trusted God and quit our regular jobs to prepare to be missionaries in Spain, a place where people laugh in your face when you tell them about Jesus.
6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. (Colossians 1)
Recently, as we prepared for the field, Randy’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, and Randy continued to trust Jesus. Not only to trust Him, but to rejoice in his salvation, to encourage others to trust Him, and to magnify the Lord.
Tomorrow we go to Randy’s wife’s funeral.
We are sad. So incredibly sad. And I am so tired of cancer that takes loved ones away from us, causes suffering and financial problems and fills people with grief and even fear.
But cancer does not diminish God’s sovereignty. Loss does not detract from God’s goodness. Pain and heartache does not indicate God’s love for us has faded.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see–
When a friend who has influenced us deeply walks through a painful journey with this eternal perspective, I am reminded deep in my soul: the Gospel is real. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and what I do for Him is never in vain.
Every second that I spend with Him, every step I take in the Spirit, is not only not wasted, but multiplied in Heaven.
If our faithfulness to God, especially in hardship, causes only one Spanish person to say, “the Gospel is real,” I rejoice in that hardship.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5)