About 40 girls and boys from a Christian school in the Philippines attended a retreat at a place by a river a few days ago. Of course, the river water was wonderful and the programs were interesting, but something more happened. God visited. It was in a quiet way that He came, but young one after young one was moved in one fashion or another. I had a chance to tell them about the precious way that He wants to speak to us, help us, guide us, and inspire us. Other staff shared from the heart. Parents wrote notes to the children. Around the location were flowers hanging. The meeting areas were surrounded with tropical plants and vines in bloom. I was moved at the retreat as well. I still see the faces and responses as we prayed for each of them. I laid down one night and thought of the flowers. Each day the blossoms drop, because they only last a little while. They are swept up to keep the ground clean as more blossoms emerge on the trestles. This side of eternity, it is the same with us. Our time is short. It’s best to use it with Him.
I continue to pray for these young ones, but I am also praying for two other people near the village and ministry where I am staying. Both are ravaged by cancer. One is older, but that does not make the trek any easier. Another young girl is about 18. The cancer she has is literally destroying her quickly. Both are believers. The parents of thy young girl are believers and sacrifice a lot to care and be with her daughter. They still have other little ones at home. Without miracle, both will pass to Him soon, like the blossoms that so rapidly fall, and some fall so quickly. Make no mistake, I believe in healing and pray accordingly. I watched my God undertake my late wife over and over again. That prayer never changed. After twenty six years of walking with disease, it overtook her. But we had 44 years together. The young girl was in college and perfectly healthy until recently. The older woman was one of the original staff members at this ministry.
While all this is happening I have had the pleasure of getting to know a little one who is staying with staff in the same building where I stay. She is being fostered by a pastor and his wife. I met her once before, but she is making a short visit, so we get to see her antics of music and dance. In short, she is being rescued by the couple, who love her. I have every reason to believe she will live a normal life like the students that went on the retreat. But life is too precious to take for granted. We don’t hold the reins or the schedule or the circumstances that often arise. The reality of a fallen world that needs the love of Jesus Christ, whether apparent or not to perfectly normal healthy or wealthy people, means that each day is the opportunity to cement the relationship with the One who made us, or ignore Him just like bad things cannot possibly happen.
The children are growing up and I see it, since I have been here off and on for more than six years. But a few leave this life seemingly early. Pressed by this reality, I work with the staff at my mission location because time is precious. Some have more time; some have less; God means to be real in His love for us whether our time is short or long. That is the reality of a fallen world. It is best to serve Him now–meaning today–and not hesitate to obey Him and act on what He says. Why? Because in God’s wisdom what we do here has a very big effect on what happens in eternity. Obey Him and receive Him today while it is today.
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
“I will not leave you desolate. I will come to you.”