Two years ago, I remember sitting down with a seasoned missionary from our church. He told me with a glimmer in his eye, the details of a miraculous rescue from a war-torn city, in which they were serving. I remember listening to the story, eyes bulging with wonder, as he told me of the Divine rescue. Because enemy troops were quickly advancing toward the city, the government had ordered an evacuation of the city. However, they had also shut down all the railroads coming in and out. There was no other way out. So, God’s people began to pray, the sounds of war resonating all too closely in the background. After hours of prayer, a train arrived. They boarded and made their way safely to another city. However, the barricades had remained in place the entire time.
As this faithful man of God closed his story, he simply said, “God sent that train for us!”
It seemed unreal – yet I knew it happened just as he said. I sat there, lost in wonder.
My response: “I want stories like that in my life!”
The wise missionary looked at me and said, “You will have plenty of stories of your own to tell some day. God is always faithful.”
That conversation is one of those rare jewels I will carry with me for a long time. That conversation was also one of the first things that popped into my head when I heard the gut-wrenching news of our church’s complications with zoning.
It was as if God whispered to my soul, “If you want me to send a train, you’ve got to be in the war zone first.” I had wanted the story, but did not want the strife. I am beginning to realize that without the strife, there is no story. It’s simply a few people hopping on a train.
Without the strife, there is no story.
While this period of waiting is far from an actual war zone, it does come with it’s own battles. God has brought us to the end of what we can accomplish on our own, so that we lean fully on him (Exodus 14:14). He has taught us to pray fervently and with pure hearts, knowing that prayer accomplishes much (James 5:16). He has shown us that He cares deeply for us, and allows us to cast our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
So, bring on the strife – it’s just a small part of God’s masterful story.