I have been busy. And overwhelmed. And a little bit “woe is me.” So tonight I have taken a dose of what I have found to be an excellent restorative of my spirits: not just counting my blessings but thinking of some special people from whom I have learned so much.
The biggest blessing of my present job has been the privilege of getting to know brothers and sisters in Christ from over 25 different countries. Not just their names and faces, but the heartbeat of each one of their ministries. Let me tell you, “heroes of the faith” isn’t just a term that applies to previous generations; they live and breathe right now. Only they wouldn’t use that word to describe themselves. Without exception I think they would see their lives as pretty ordinary. Many of them are poor. Many of them are laboring in obscurity. Many of them do not see visible fruit from their efforts for long periods of time. Are they flawed, human? Yes. But they persevere through difficulties and strive after Jesus with an intensity that challenges my comfortable, westernized faith.
I can’t begin to do justice to their stories, but tonight, I think of the passionate young attorney in Pakistan who calls me her little sister and, facing health problems herself, tirelessly labors on behalf of the persecuted and oppressed. I think of the middle-aged Gospel worker in Thailand who, forfeiting her own personal comfort, glows with a desire to bring the hope of Jesus to an ever-growing number of refugees. I think of the young nurses ministering seven days a week in a rural clinic in Haiti. All of them single, all of them female in places where single and female are not easy things to be. All of them willing to trade the sweets of “here and now” for the rewards of eternity.
I really appreciate the song “When the Saints” by Sara Groves. As she says, “when I’m weary and overwrought” and my perspective is distorted by petty things, I think of my sisters. I hope they know that they have blessed me, encouraged me, and inspired me to love Jesus more.
I want to be one of them.
How are you challenged by those who, even this minute, are facing the “dangers, toils, and snares” of living for the single-minded purpose of making the Gospel known?