Isn’t that what our lives as believers should be all about? That is where I find myself so much these days. I just can’t wait for the day when we will see the fullness of our redemption when the Lord comes and takes us home. Yet, while I’m waiting, I am privileged and called by God to be a part of working towards that redemption.
But yes, these days, more so than ever, I am longing for the fullness of God’s redemption. The curse of this world is becoming too much to bear. So much is wrong that needs to be made right. O how I cannot wait for the day when I hear the Lord Jesus say, as found in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Yes, God’s promises are real. This will indeed happen just as He has promised. And I am looking forward to it more than ever.
I was reading the Book of Joel this morning. It gives such an amazing picture and promise of God’s redemptive plan. But the beginning is bleak. It begins with the land being completely cursed. Locusts swarms have devoured everything. There are no crops whatsoever. People are starving. Priests are mourning because they cannot even give the proper offerings due to there being no grains or wheat or wine. Enemy armies are coming against the people from all directions. Everything is a total mess. Even the animals are longing because there is no food or pasture for them. “How the animals moan with hunger. The herds of cattle wander about confused, because they have no pasture. The flocks of sheep and goats bleat in misery. Lord, help us” (Joel 1:18). Yes, this was a bad situation that the people found themselves in. But God had a promise already set in motion. It would only be a matter of time.
Just this week, I heard three more stories about people with cancer. One is a person I know that came on one of our mission teams to work with us in Haiti. She was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Another is s guy who I never met, but we go to the same church. His sister just recently went home to the Lord because of cancer. I think she was no more than 30 years old. And another is an email that I just received last night from somebody I have never met and whom I do not know. But I do know him because he is a husband and a father… just like me, who had 2 children… just like me, and just recently lost one of his children (5 year old daughter) to cancer…just like me. I wept when I read his email. And I thought about how many more people…just like me who have experienced so much pain and suffering as a result of the curse on this world. I read the email to my wife through the tears. And we both looked at each other and said how much we hate cancer. And I really do. I hate it! It is taking the lives of so many people all over the world. It is separating husbands from wives, brothers from sisters, parents from children, etc. And that is what makes me weep. I think about our own loss of Susana often and I still weep, but I also think about so many others who are walking in this same grief and pain and that makes me weep all the more.
I was sharing this with Maria last night, and after reading the email, I told her that I just can’t wait until the Lord comes and fulfills His promise of making all things new. I can’t wait until I get to be reunited with my precious little girl. And then I thought about the countless reunions that will be taking place at the same time of people being reunited with their loved ones who had died long ago in lives cut short by cancer and many other illnesses or sicknesses or accidents as a result of the curse. And we just talked about how awesome that reunion will be. And it is a promise for the child of God. It will indeed happen. Its only a matter of time.
So, just like the beginning of Joel, our world is under a curse. It is such a mess, and it seems to be getting worse and worse. Romans chapter 8 uses similar language as Joel chapter 1 when it refers to the whole of creation (animals and humans) longing for the fulness of God’s redemption. And redemption is coming. And that is where our hope is found.
Joel opens with the effects of the curse on the land and its people, but closes with the picture of redemption for God’s chosen people. He promises to restore the years that the locusts swarms have devoured. He promises that He will send new grain to the land. He promises to send new wine. He promises to drive away all the armies. He promises that he will provide green pasture to the animals once again. He promises to send the Spring and Fall rains. And then He promises to pour the Holy Spirit out on all people. He promises that all people will know Him. And He promises that He will be our God and will dwell with us, His people. And the Book of Revelation promises that He will make all things new. He promises that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. He promises that there will be no more death, no more pain, no more crying, and no more pain. Yes, those are amazing promises that we as believers in Christ have to look forward to. Its just a matter of time.
And until that great and glorious day comes, we as His children of promise have the privilege and responsibility of working towards that redemption by telling others of this great and glorious plan for His chosen people. And that is why we continue to do what we do in Haiti. We see our work, particularly among the orphaned and abandoned children as well as the poorest of the poor, as a way of demonstrating God’s redemptive nature as well as sharing God’s ultimate plan of redemption. We get the privilege of reaching out to orphaned and abandoned children, ones that much of society looks down upon and has no real regard towards, and be a part of God’s redemptive work in their lives. Isn’t God amazing at taking a heap of ashes and turning it into something most beautiful? Well, that is really the nature of our work. Many people would look at the orphans and poor and think that they are nothing more than a heap of ashes, yet the Lord loves these people and He fashions them into something most beautiful. And He uses us as part of His great and glorious plan.
We love working with orphaned children and broken people. Because we ourselves are broken people whom God is working His redemptive plan into. So, we have this amazing promise from God of Him making all things new, and we just want to share that promise with others who are in such great need of redemption. This is essentially what missions is about. I think of the quote, “Christianity is just the story of one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
Our sponsorship program is growing tremendously. We are up to over 40 sponsors now! It is so exciting to see how this program is making a difference in the lives of many orphaned children. The kids at Victorious Kids Orphanage (VKO) are doing great. We have some mission teams coming this Summer to do a lot of construction work for the orphanage. We hope to finish off all the concrete work as well as put tile floor all throughout. We just received a donation from one of our mission partners and we plan to use that money to buy a moto for the Director so that he has his own transportation. We also will use the rest of the money to put towards renting him a house so that he does not have to live at the orphanage with his family any longer. A team coming in May is bringing him a laptop computer. This will help us with our communication. He is so excited.
We are excited to move back to Haiti. We plan to be back on May 21st, just a month from now. We have been so incredibly busy getting ready. Our house is full of boxes and bins once again. I have been doing a lot of traveling to share about our mission work. The Lord is opening up doors for further partnerships and we are excited.
We have 4 teams coming this Summer. Some will come to work specifically with the orphanage and help with the construction projects there. Others will come and help paint some of the houses that we built for the people after the earthquake as well as other means of outreach and ministry. But all will come to be a part of God’s redemptive work in the lives of those He loves and cares for so much. It is a privilege to be a part of such an amazing plan of redemption.
And so, amidst my tears of sorrow over missing my precious little girl who went home to Jesus a few months ago as well as sorrow over the countless others who have suffered pain and loss through childhood cancer, and amidst the hope that I cling to for the day when Jesus truly will make all things new, I go forward…both with a pain unspeakable as well as a joy unspeakable. And it is in both of these where God’s redemptive plan is being carried out in my life for His glory.