Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Last week, the head of our food ministry terminated our operations. Nine people lost their jobs and The Road Home lost its office and meeting place. In one swift move, life took an unexpected detour! Why shut down a ministry which last year resulted in over 78 people putting their faith for the first time in Jesus, hundreds of families receiving food and free dental assistance plus prayer and encouragement? Better yet, why treat a ministry like a business and let the fear of lawsuits trump eternal investments? I felt like telling the owner, “When you die, you won’t stand before lawyers, you’ll stand before God, so lead accordingly!” But he was acting according to what he felt was right. He generously gave to help us move on. Rather than protest, it was nobler to pray and seek God’s leading.
Part of me is lost and I don’t like it. If I could skip this day in time or have never lived it I know I would be the worse for it but at least I would not sense this absence that came too fast and . . . heartrending and heartbreaking are too strong in meaning for what I’m feeling. Perhaps in this poignant period a more apt description is heartmissing. The good news is she is only three and a half hours away. The bad news is there are 206 miles between us.
In the early fall of 1976, homesick Panya Sawan walked the streets of Newberg, Oregon. While his feet moved his mind questioned if he made a big mistake. Yet, as much as he missed his family, the thought of returning to his Thailand home was equally painful. Would his family consider him a failure?
Bad doctrine is like poisoned food. It may taste good. It may leave the stomach feeling full. But in the end, it will cause indescribable agony. Have you ever turned on your radio or television and heard a preacher promise you that if you will just put your trust in Jesus your troubles will leave you? Perhaps, you’ve been reprimanded as lacking faith because you continue to struggle with issues. Has anyone suggested to you that all you need to do is claim in Jesus’ name the solution you want and trouble will not visit you? Okay, so why did Jesus say,“ I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33)? Who was James writing when he penned, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises” (James 5:13a)?
We come to the time of year when Christians around the world celebrate the incredible birth of Christ. For many it is a time of giving gifts—a holiday ritual recognizing the second greatest gift of all time. What manner of love for those of His image--yet deeply flawed, possessed God to send His Son to be conceived a baby? What marvelous humility flowed from our omnipotent Lord that His Son should bypass the greatest of human protocols to be born in a smelly stable? Like the wisemen who followed the star, we trace the life and ministry of Jesus, joyful that His holy journey liberated us from the dungeon of sin. But there is so much more to His story, so much more to who He is.