Have you ever asked the Lord to make you more like Him? It’s a petition that I’ve prayed for over and over again. To be made more like Christ in every way. Yet, I’ve come to the realization that in being made more like Him, Christ promises that there will be times of pain and sorrow. You see the only way to become more like Christ is for the Lord to refine us. These are the moments where, we ask why, the moments where there is no understanding, the moments where we have no words but only the groaning of our hearts. However painful it is, these are also the moments in where we can cling to the fact that He is making us more like Him and that nothing happens in vain or is wasted.
It’s the hope that we are given. It’s the face of Jesus working in our lives. We read stories like Job, in the Bible, or even crazy missionary biographies of people that have gone before us and lost it all. We look at those people in awe and secretly envy the amount of faith that they have. I’ve asked the Lord so many times to give me that kind of faith. To give me the faith that surpasses all understanding and would cling strongly to the Lord in any situation but to develop that faith there needs to be testing because a faith that is not tested, is a faith that cannot be trusted.
This past week I’ve attended two funerals. One for my 95-year-old uncle and one for a 1.5-year-old boy. As I sat with the aunt of the little boy that passed away, I saw the goodness of God through all of the hurt and pain. He’s the Comforter of all, the Restorer of all things lost, the Healer of all pain and the only One who bears our suffering with us. She told me that she finds rest in knowing that Jesus has promised us to go through trials and that we can’t only expect good things from our Father. As she spoke, I could see that in the darkest moment of her life, her Jesus had become her strength. But doesn’t that ring true for all of us. It’s in the moments where we can’t take another step that the Lord picks us up and carries us through.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
God is faithful. He never changes. His Word will forever be true. Our Father is the Sustainer of all. He gives life and He takes life away and though we may never understand why He does things the way He does, we know that we can trust Him unconditionally with everything. My uncle lived a long and fruitful life serving Jesus. That little boy, though he only lived on earth for a short while, is now spending eternity with His Heavenly Father and there is no better place for him to be. As believers, we have been given the promise that one day we will see them both again. Until then, I cling to Jesus through the refining times. I will keep asking Him to make me more like Him, anticipating the hard times in where I feel the most broken. Keeping my eyes on Jesus, trusting that through it all He remains faithful.
“I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.”
The beauty of it all is that when we feel at our lowest, that’s when we feel the Lord the closest. That’s when we have no doubt that God exists, that His promises are true and that He is perfect in all of His ways. That’s how good our God is. In the middle of the trenches, He is down there with us. He feels our pain, His heart breaks with our own, and He gently takes our hands and leads us out.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
The Lord continues to confirm Croatia and is continuing to bring people who want to partner with me. In moments where I am told that maybe I should be taking a different route, the Lord brings people to encourage me, He gives me scriptures to confirm the call, and He gives me a peace of knowing He has it all under control. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to all happen but I know one thing for sure, when my feet are back in a Roma village, I will know for a fact that it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God.
I’ve also been given the privilege to work with Voice of Refugees this Summer. I’ll be teaching Muslim refugee kids about the Bible. Talk about a crazy opportunity! I need all the prayer I can get as I start lesson planning, studying and preparing my classroom for these beautiful children. Pray for the bonds of Islam to break, for divine appointments, for seeds to be planted and for the love of Jesus to be felt. I cannot wait to see how the Lord is going to use this opportunity to bring glory to Himself.
This past month has been a blur. I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad days. Yet, in every moment, I’ve heard God whisper in my ear, ‘Watch me work. Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10).’ I had a dear friend visit me from Croatia and bring me Croatian Bibles so that I can continue studying the language. I had an opportunity to share about Croatia at the SGWM Missions Banquet and from that the Lord provided supporters. I’ve also dealt with death and loss head-on. But overall, I’ve seen Jesus work in mighty and marvelous ways and through the darkest times, I’ve seen His light shine through. My God never changes and all of His promises are yes and amen (2 Cor 1:20). Be encouraged that no matter what life presents you, you can overcome it through the power of Jesus Christ alone. Let Him be your strength. Step back and let Him work. I promise you, there is nothing more fulfilling than finding rest in the arms of your Father and trusting in the fact that “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
I am currently a little under 50% of the total amount that I need to have to head back to Croatia. If you feel the Lord placing it on your heart to join the work that He has started in Croatia, click on the Financial Support Button below. Out of 4 million people that live in this country only .3% are Protestants, so please continue to pray for this country and for the furtherance of the Gospel.
God Bless You!