A couple weeks ago during the board trip for the charity I’ve been partnering with here in China, a board member challenged the China staff and the participants to be bold in the Lord. And we began to talk about what that looks like.
Another Chinese friend of mine has been reading the Old Testament and contemplating the connection between prayers and signs from God (See Genesis 24). We’ve talked a great deal about how we pray and how we might be bold in asking God for what we truly desire while not falling into unhealthy patterns of testing or bargaining with God.
And over the past few weeks I’ve been emboldened to pray differently, passionately, and urgently for the future I desire, for new post-China opportunities to serve God and to grow together in faith with friends and family. And while I’ve not yet seen my Rebekah arrive at the well like Abraham’s servant, I can say emphatically that these prayers have brought me a new kind of peace in the face of uncertainty, they’ve opened my eyes to God’s work in my midst, and they’ve made me more aware of God’s presence in my relationships with others.
If those aren’t signs, I don’t know what are!
And just as I’ve heard God calling me to be bold in prayer, I’ve also heard God convicting me to share God’s faithfulness and my own efforts to be faithful with others. What I’m feeling isn’t a naive conviction that things will go perfectly according to plan but that God will provide (as God has before), which actually changes my perspective in that I see the signs of that faithfulness earlier and more clearly than I might otherwise.
When I wrote about the peace I experienced in the midst of my Grandpa’s trials, I almost felt guilty, but I realize that this peace is not incidental or manmade, but powerful and why our God is worthy of praise. I remember awhile back hearing a fellow person of faith say being a believer in God doesn’t insulate us from life’s struggles or pain, or even fear, but because we know we’re not alone or on our own in the midst of them, it makes it all decidedly less daunting.
Likewise, because so many other friends chose to lift my Grandpa up in prayer and to honor his life, although I felt great sorrow in his passing, I also felt great joy that I had the opportunity to know him and to share his life with others. Regarding our post-China future, I’ve noticed that instead of focusing on the uncertainty of our lives right now, I have this palpable assurance that God is about to do something great…and why not?
So be bold. And while it may sound trite, be bold enough today to trust and believe and live the promise that God is good…all the time.