When my husband, Damian, and I entered into church planting, we were too excited to consider any negative emotions or possible hardship. We were the kind of people who wanted to see every sickness and sin defeated but failed to see and trust God’s bigger story in the midst of suffering. With less than 1% of the Japanese population declaring themselves to be Christian, we praised God for each conversion and loved watching God move in people’s hearts. Unsupported by an organization, we established various businesses as a way of providing for our staff and ourselves. Each month we witnessed hundreds of unbelievers passing through our building and socializing with members of our small Christian community. We presumed our plan was working well until the day our business partner quit, taking with him a large number of clients and a portion of our income.
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Facing the Future
In recent years I have returned again and again to these words. I was one of those ‘enthusiastic Christians’ that Dan McCartney refers to. The kind of person who passionately wanted to see every sickness and sin defeated in this life, but who failed to see God’s sovereignty in his own suffering. When I lost control of my environment, or something interrupted even the godliest of plans, it was easier to blame myself or the devil. This left me either fighting external forces or burdened with an internal sense of failure.
Life can sometimes feel like you’re living in the middle of a novel. In the middle of the story you don’t really understand the plot, the characters’ motivations, or how the story will end. Only in the final chapter do all the details make sense. I have a friend who reads the last chapter of a book first. Once she knows the ending she can sit back, relax, and enjoy the book no matter how crazy the plot becomes. God invites us to read the final chapter of the bible, so we can see how it all works out in the end.