Several events this month brought “tears of joy” to me – completing two years as a missionary with OTAN, the life-well-lived and home-going of a mentor Dr John Stott, and dropping off Alethea our daughter at Liberty University! Listening to the news these days, one can easily get discouraged! My favorite soul-winning verse is, “All who go weeping bearing precious seeds will doubtlessly return rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves!” (Psalm 126:6)
Obeying God’s call and joining OTAN to direct training of leaders in restricted access nations had its origin in difficulties. Relocating my family, raising our entire support, hectic travel and introducing its programs had its discouraging days. It involved sowing the seed of God’s word in the soil of people’s hearts, watering it with tears and waiting often without immediate, visible or favorable results. Yet God is faithful and if we are not weary in well doing, the word will germinate and bears much fruit that remains!
Last month Dorothy, Alethea and Charis served on our Church youth mission trip to Jamaica, while I took our Bangor Baptist members to Belize! It was an honor to help build local churches, physically and spiritually. I broadcast a series on Kairos radio entitled: “The Gospel of Grace versus Greed”. Twelve leaders were trained for church planting. Two with tearful-eyes were ready to quit, disillusioned by futile efforts. Now after training, they all have strategic plans to excel. As the natives say, “You betta Belize it” convinced we are: “Made4Missions”– the theme of our coming October conference!
Last week was a “farmer’s week” for me: working, watching, waiting even weeping! I was speaking to mission leaders at Capitol Baptist Church in Virginia near DC when we experienced a 5.9 earthquake cancelling our evening service! Strangled by the hurricane Irene in two airports (on my birthday) I couldn’t leave the east coast! Now I’ve been to Thailand and Laos and trained 40 church planters! You may be a missionary, teacher, parent, worker… all Jesus’ followers, daily “sow” the word. Some fall on stony ground, others among thorns or snatched from the good ground (Mk. 4) and this is tear-jerking!
What am I learning from all this? 1. We workers don’t like waiting for results! 2. Yet waiting is precisely where strength is renewed (Isa. 40:31). 2, We must sow “besides all waters” for opportunity creates and is obligation (Isa. 32:20). 4. Going, sowing and weeping precede reaping and rejoicing. 5. We must keep on watering with tears assured, “Weeping is but for a night; joy comes in the morning!” (Psa. 30:5). 6. The Lord of the harvest orders both the steps [and the stops] of all who delight in him (Psa. 37:23). 7. Weeping sowers become joyful reapers since our labor for Christ is never in vain (1Cor. 15:58). 8. Alhough the earth shakes and waters arise, through it all, Immanuel is with us! 9. Our God is too good to be unkind to us and too wise to make mistakes with our life! 10. I’ve often been out of His will, but never out of His care! – Chris