Romans 12:12-13 (NLT)
Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out.
God has a plan to get us through trouble!
Brian Hamilton, Ambassadors for Christ International's Canadian director, and his wife Linda have been training and encouraging pastors on one of the Caribbean islands for many years. Last year they met a church planter and his wife Milbia who are planting a church in two locations in their town. Like most pastors there, they are very poor with few possessions or furniture. The couple has two sons aged 14 and 12, and Milbia has had multiple sclerosis since 1991.
This year when they visited, they could see how much Milbia had deteriorated in only one year. She looked very sick and frail, much older than her 37 years. Recently she had an infection in her mouth and lost all her top teeth. She has difficulty eating with only her bottom teeth. Milbia's sons have great love and respect in their eyes for their mother and they try to find odd jobs to help bring in food for the family.
The Canadian mission team joined together around Milbia and prayed for a miracle of healing for her. Later that afternoon, while they were giving out new clothes to the church planters and missionaries, Milbia was delighted to choose a beautiful shirt and pretty undergarments. The look on her face when she caressed her new clothes reminded Linda of a 16-year-old girl giddy over her new prom dress. For a brief moment, Milbia again looked young and full of life.
Milbia has an incurable disease and lives in a country where adequate treatment is out of her reach. Can she be glad for all God is planning for her if those plans do not include healing on this earth? Milbia's husband is watching his wife suffer, carrying the burdens of the congregations he is planting, and wondering what future his young sons have to look forward to. Can he be glad for all God is planning for them? Can he look at the healthy and prosperous and still be glad for God's choices for him?
In these verses, the Apostle Paul reminds us that when we are suffering in any way, the response of faith is to rejoice in the confidence that our loving God is in control, and to persevere, hanging on through all difficulties. He also reminds us that we have a responsibility to watch for the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ and to be the one to help when help is needed. Today will you ask the Lord for eyes to see the needs you can help with in the lives of those around you, and also for His grace to endure the trials in your own life?
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