Monday, December 9, 2013

When the thread runs long

Our precious friends from Nigeria, Joseph and Antonio, recently passed through here. Our relationship with them goes back to my husband's seminary days when we first connected. Over the years, either one or both of them have spent many weeks in our home.

I love the pictures which document our journey together, from a few months after our son, Aaron, was born—

Through the time our children were in high school (children a little sleepy as it's 7 a.m. before school)—

And from just recently—

Joseph and Antonio could have chosen an easier route than the one they travel today. Educated in this country with a doctorate in ministry, Joseph could have opted to stay in a more comfortable place, but they felt called to minister in their own country. There’ve been times they did so under threats of death. Other times, they continued their work living sacrificially for long periods with little remuneration.

 A friend who heard Joseph speak this week mentioned how he often says “In Jesus name.” And I shared with her that when we’re in the car together or just sitting in our den, he or Antonio will begin to recite scriptures, speaking the blessing of God over our lives. I’ve learned much about dwelling on the word, and declaring the blessing of God from Joseph and Antonio.

Their lives have demonstrated to me that the walk with Jesus can sometimes lead through treacherous times even when we are giving our all in service to Him. But God calls us to faithfulness in every circumstance, and I’ve been inspired by their example to persevere in the midst of difficulty. Their passion for serving Christ is contagious.

When I’m with these dear ones, I’m reminded there are many others like them around the world who minister in adversity for the sake of the gospel, and though we may not even know their names, their labor in the Lord may be changing the course of history.

Yes, our relationship with our brother and sister in Christ has now spanned decades, but also thousands of miles geographically. When the thread runs long, we look back, and stretch our arms wide as we offer thanks to God for binding us together “In Jesus name.”  It’s our privilege to know them.
"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart" (Philippians 1:3 The Message).
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).


Nancy Hamilton Sturm said...

What a lovely reminder to pray for all those who work in difficult and often dangerous circumstances to further God's kingdom. Thank you!

Beverly Varnado said...

Yes, Nancy, these precious saints are such an inspiration to me. Praying for your family this Christmas!!

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