Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18
God has taught me to seek to have the great faith of Abraham and Moses and others listed in the great “hall of fame” of faith in Hebrews 11. I’m realizing that in the work that I’m privileged to join God in (reaching Muslims for Christ), progress comes slowly and even when it does, it doesn’t always fit neatly into the paradigms we’re used to from our Western perspective. With the slow progress and out of the ordinary successes, God is teaching me to rely on Him and to continue to be faithful “even if He doesn’t” come through, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remained faithful.
Finally, God has taught me that faces and individual lives changed are much more important than numbers. In 2008, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter faces both here in the U.S. as well as in homeland of the people I serve. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a grandmother in the homeland who had tears rolling down her face as she saw pictures of family members here in America that she will never see again. As I’ve encountered each face, they’ve also encountered glimpses of God and the relationship that they can have with Him only through Jesus. In 2009, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter the face of a Middle Eastern widow and her two teenage children. This family has chosen to follow Jesus since coming to the United States. Their faith remains strong in the midst of being displaced. Losing a husband and father.
There has been much depression in our nation this year. God has taught me and has allowed me to see, however, that we don’t have it quite so bad when we look at those in other countries who are much less fortunate. I have no stories to share of hundreds walking down the aisle to accept Jesus. Hundreds of churches haven’t been started among Muslims in the U.S.; in fact, to my knowledge, there haven't even been many who have chosen to follow Jesus. In spite of things, I’m confident that God is working in ways that we can never dream or imagine. Hundreds aren’t walking down some aisle and masses aren’t coming to Christ; nevertheless, I’m certain that as individual faces are realized and much time continues to be invested in cultures much different from our own, lives are being and will be changed. I’m never going to give up even if tangible results never come. I know my God is faithful “even if He doesn’t” seem to allow things to transpire as I think He should. Let’s remember in 2009 that we are God’s and let us seek as never before to be led by His Spirit realizing that we’re here to serve Him rather than God serving us.