Things are fairly slow on the news front. I’d love to tell you of the smashing success we have had and the hundreds of people reached with the gospel. But that hasn’t quite happened and we get excited when even one person shows up to the Sunday evening service. At times it has been discouraging. Of course we know success is not measured strictly by numbers, but by faithfulness to the task which the Lord sets before us. Truly and honestly that is a wonderful truth that keeps us going, but that doesn’t mean discouragement or doubt are magically eliminated. Those thoughts persist and have to be dealt with.
I’ve noticed a pattern over the course of my journey to the mission field and to the work we are currently engaged in. There have been uncertainties and challenges along the way, plenty of occasions where it would be easier to give up and throw in the towel. But at just the right time, God seems to step in and give me a sign to keep going. It might be a verse from Scripture, or encouragement from a friend, or some event that is quite clearly God’s doing. And so he keeps prodding me along.
Now, I’m not one to quickly attribute events or happenings as obvious signs from God. The Scriptures have been given to us by God and are sufficient for our Chrisitan pilgrimage, and besides, attributing things as being clearly the work of God is easily abused or misused. So I am usually fairly hesitant to say something like “This is totally God speaking to me and telling me to do this or that.” At the same time, I firmly believe that God is sovereign and orchestrates all of history down to the smallest details, even the little details of my little life. It is not out of the realm of possibility then that God “speaks” through the happenings of our lives.
With all that being said, I wanted to share something that happened recently, amid some of the doubt and discouragement I mentioned earlier, and made me sit down and say: “Alright God, I hear you. I’ll keep going.”
About a month or so ago we were speaking to a local resident of Santa Barbara and she mentioned that the storefront that we are renting for our outreach centre used to be used for the Occult. Now that was certainly a surprise to hear, and we weren’t quite sure if we had actually heard correctly.
Then the other day I was talking to another lady, a Christian, who was asking about the outreach centre. She said she was glad we were renting it because she knew what it had been used for before. She told me she had met the man who previously rented it and had asked him about some meeting that was held in the storefront. He told this lady that he preached about death!
So I guess that means our little storefront we are renting used to be a place for Satan worship. Sure enough, when I used Google street view to see what the storefront looked like before, there was a sign out front with the grim reaper and a list of all the services and products they offer – cleansings and home protection, incense and sprays, and tarot card reading.
I don’t believe this is all coincidence, and it sure felt like God nudging me along and telling me that there is a darkness here that needs the light of the Gospel. I needed that.
If God is in control of all things (and He is) then we ought to observe what He does, weigh what it means, and act accordingly. May the Light shine where darkness once had a stronghold!