Sitting by a window early one morning, I watched the storm rage outside as the cafeteria filled up with fellow workers in God’s kingdom. As these persecuted disciples collected their breakfast and gathered at tables around me, I heard joyful conversation happening in English, French, Arabic and Berber as well as languages I couldn’t recognize at all. In the distance I could see a lighthouse, a beacon of hope in the midst of a storm.
Listening to the chatter and watching the storm outside, I thought of Acts 27-28, the story of Paul’s shipwreck while on his way to prison in Rome. The storm had lasted for days, hope had been lost and the ship carrying Paul was smashed against the rocks on the island of Malta. God spared all aboard. As they sought refuge on that island, Paul was bitten by a snake while carrying firewood yet remained unharmed. Amazed by this and other miracles they witnessed, the local people knew God had visited them and Jesus was glorified.
As I pondered how challenging it is to see Christ’s kingdom established in the hard places, I marveled at the rejoicing of God’s people, knowing what they go through. I considered how unsafe it might be to go outside into that natural storm, yet that is exactly what the disciples around me that morning did every day. They live in the storm. They face down the wind, the rocks and the waves of religious and political animosity, risking very personal loss. But, like that lighthouse in the distance, they stand and keep shining. They are the hope in the darkness and God brings people into his kingdom through them.
The wind is still strong. The waves are still huge. The rocks are seemingly unbreakable. But that morning I listened to disciples of Jesus Christ, His church in that impenetrable region of our world, as they fellowshipped together, giving glory to God and passionately working to see His kingdom come, His will be done, on their part of His earth, as it is in His heaven.
Let us not be afraid of the wind and the waves. Let us join with these disciples and run with them to meet the storm with all our strength and all the resources God has given us to serve His cause. As we do, Christ will build His church.
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