Strength in the midst of pain. Salvation in the midst of loss.
I recently travelled up to my parents place for a well deserved holiday from raising a financial partnership team so as to be able to preach the gospel full time at Melbourne University, with my pregnant wife and two boys. Whilst there I meet and heard from some amazing people.
The little holiday town that my parents live in, and the surrounding areas, has a population of about 33,000. And that is spread over a pretty large area. So a small town really, but God has put some big spiritual fish into this small pond and I wanted to share a salvation story about just how much God loves the people who live there.
I went to the local church one Sunday because I know a guy (I will call him John, but not real name) who is in training to become a pastor there. He sold up a successful small business that he owned so as to follow his heart to be used by God to change people's lives. Boy, what a service. There were approximately 70-80 people there, but they sang loud and with passion. I knew I was in church full of people wanting more of God and they took the opportunity to praise Him loudly. After the service I organised to meet up with John as I know he had recently had received some bad news.
His wife was 18 weeks pregnant and whilst at work John received a phone call to go down to the hospital to be with his wife as she was induced to give birth because their baby had, sadly, died. Whilst John was at the hospital he received a call from a young man who he knows. It just so happened that the young man was in the hospital as well with his pregnant wife. Thankfully, their baby was alive. John went up to see this young man and comforted him in a stressful time.
"How are you so strong John?" the young man said to John.
"I am only strong because I have Jesus."
After some more conversation, this young man gave his life to Jesus right there in the hospital. And I know the story is real, because I saw this young man and his wife in that very church service I attended.
I was blown away at John's courage. It takes a real man, who knows God is good ALL the time, to take the time in a moment of great pain to express God's great love to somebody who doesn't know Him. To praise Jesus in the pain had a magnificent pay off and I thought of this scripture in Isaiah 43;
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
John knows that eternity is more valuable, more real, and more important then anything this world has to offer. I was truly inspired and absolutely knew that John understood God's love for him, his child that died to young and also the young man he meet in the hospital.
I really believe God is on the revival trail in Australia, New Zealand and around the world and He is leaving no one out. I believe this because of the amount of people world wide who are giving up their comfortable, well paying jobs so as to answer God's call to use them in full time ministry and also from the excited and expectant spirit I encounter at different church's that I have been to. If you come across these people, do all you can to support them. I would even challenge you to seek people out who are called to add to God's kingdom and support them as much as you can. I know as a missionary who is supported by individual people, that any reward I receive they receive also.
This story just reinforces to me Gods great love for the human race. So much so, that He gave away the life of His son, to pay for my crimes. What an awesome God and I am proud to call Him Dad.