In Missions, Mercy Turns Uncertainty into Opportunity

March 29, 2011

Churches, crisis, Missiology

The Church of Jesus Christ has an opportunity to be God’s sickle in Japan.  In God’s economy, disaster frequently precedes blessing.  Who knows what God is doing in Japan but God himself?  Did he simply allow the earthquake, tsunami, and devastating aftereffects or did he orchestrate the events to reveal his hand of mercy to the Japanese?

Consider that suffering that flows through the hands of God is a form of his mercy.

As human beings our natural tendency is to shriek back from suffering and disaster, calling it unnatural, or wrong, or bad because we do not like the pain.  Or we go the opposite extreme of fatalism, suggesting that these events are ‘natural disasters’ that are random and unavoidable.

Fortunately, Converge leadership and missionaries on the ground are seeing harvest potentialities in disaster.  Bolstered by generous contributions from the Converge family, Converge Japan is experiencing God’s grace turn uncertainty into opportunity.  Missionaries are volunteering their time to contribute to devastated communities, even doing activities such as driving fuel tanker trucks to areas that need gasoline and kerosene.

As I type, Converge Japan is holding their annual field council to pray through and strategize their responses to the crisis.  They ask for prayer for wisdom, faith, and clarity of purpose.  Be sure to check for regular updates as reported and viewed through local Converge eyes.  You may also view the latest Japan relief update at our website.

With North Africa, the Middle East, and the Persian/Arabian Gulf also in turmoil, we must consider an appropriate, faith-filled, grace-energized response.  Libya has been a nation closed to American missionaries for decades.  Yemen, Tunisia, and Syria are ancient nations with ripe people who have been forgotten by most Christians.  Let’s see the current uncertainties as opportunities to advance the gospel.  What is God doing among these nations?  Let’s find out.

I am reminded of Iraq during the past decade where, by God’s grace, I helped to initiate a new ministry.  Friends who were in my care and accountability were seeking entrance into Iraq, praying, waiting for an opportunity.  When I asked our friends what their plan was to get into the country, their response was that they did not have a plan.

I helped them to create a plan that we entrusted into God’s hands through prayer.  We discussed the dangers and undertook a risk assessment of foreigners living in Iraq and what it would take to support them in a war zone so that they would be effective in life and ministry.  We consulted with other leaders within our organization in order to share the risks, consider the opportunities, and obtain a consensus moving forward.  I checked with the sending churches of the friends involved to gauge their perspective and to ensure that we all were on the same page.

God’s grace was evident and we moved forward.  That was 2007.  Our friends have now been there for four years making a gospel impact.

We could have prayed only but we moved forward in faith, experiencing God’s mercy that transforms uncertainty into opportunity.

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  1. The 1 Step Guide to Church Planting « FULFILL - August 23, 2011

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