This morning I was reading in 1 Samuel and came to that special passage where David’s friend, Jonathan, encouraged him in the Lord. That is what friends do! And I have seen so much of this in these days of uncertainty: friends encouraging each other in the Lord through His Word. My mind was drawn to John 14:26, where Jesus told His disciples that the Encourager, the Holy Spirit, would bring to remembrance all that He, Jesus, had taught them. The Holy Spirit is often that Friend that encourages us in the Lord! We are never truly alone, even in when isolated. I love the reminder of a pastor friend who spoke of social distancing as opposed to what James 4:8 tells us, which is to draw near to God, and when we do, He will draw near to us. What an incredible thought to lift up our hearts!
While on furlough, I live mostly in Harrison, TN, which borders Chattanooga. This area has been a home to me (along with Maine—I’m thankful for a military family that has allowed me more than one home!) for many years. My sister and I went to college here, and she stayed in this area and worked as a nurse and also met her husband here. You have most likely heard the news that 7 devastating tornadoes touched down in the Tennessee Valley Easter Sunday night, just one week ago. We pray for grace, peace, and restoration in this time. One thing is for sure: God has allowed this, and He has plans and purposes that go far beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8)!
In the aftermath of the storm I went to check on a pair of flickers I have been photographing—hoping, in a few days, to get photos of them feeding their young. I was shocked and dismayed that their tree had blown down, their eggs scattered and broken. The birds were nearby, calling. I felt so sad in that moment, as they represented Chattanooga and other regions hit by tornados in recent months. Yet I knew without a doubt that the Lord was not only aware of those birds, but He cared about my heart as well. His Word is clear; not one bird can fall without Him knowing. And He makes it clear that we are much more important than the birds of the air. I hope and pray that encourages you—whatever storm you may be experiencing right now! He is God and is in complete control. There is no detail about which He is unaware!
I appreciate your ongoing prayers so much. All missionaries are pretty much in the same boat right now, as far as uncertainties regarding scheduling church reports, plans to return to our field of service, support needs, etc. Indeed, we are in a storm; yet we know Jesus is in the boat with us and can speak peace to the storm that is a world-wide illness which has brought about chaos. So that is our prayer— that He will speak peace to the storm. HE IS ABLE! (Ephesians 3:20, 21)
Please pray for the Chattanooga Valley as they clean up and rebuild. The process is long. Please keep Togo and all of Africa (and the rest of the Third World) in your prayers as they navigate the extremely difficult and complex situation with the virus. This world-wide problem is in the Lord’s capable hands. Thankfully we CAN pray and He DOES hear! Take courage in His greatness.