Thankful For God's Presence
As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been thinking about the recent deliverance of Asha*, a young woman in Nepal.
Twenty-three-year-old Asha lived in hell.
From the age of five, she spent most of her days trembling and weeping in a corner. Occasionally, Asha would scream for no apparent reason. She bit and clawed anyone who approached her. Asha grew up friendless and without schooling.
One day, our missionary Bijay* told Asha’s parents about Christ. They were outraged, and threatened Bijay. (Evangelism is punishable by five years in prison in Nepal.) Despite their anger at Bijay, Asha’s parents were desperate and promised to give him a hearing if Jesus healed their daughter.
When Bijay approached Asha to pray for her, she attacked him. As he prayed, she became still. By the end of his prayer, Asha was unconscious. Asha’s parents were alarmed and furious, and they cursed Bijay. Later, to her parents’ amazement, Asha awoke in her right mind!
Imagine their surprise when she apologized to her family for the pain her illness had caused them.
Asha soon found Bijay, thanked him and told him that she wanted to accept the Lord who healed her. Since then, Asha’s family has welcomed Bijay into their home to teach them about Jesus. Asha is now preparing to be baptized.
Asha’s healing brought great thanksgiving, not only to Asha’s family, but to Bijay and the local church. This was not only because everyone was happy for Asha and her family, but also because they knew God was present among them and had heard their prayers.
Whether or not we see dramatic miracles, there is always a holy joy when we know that God is present and at work among us.
Asha was healed because Bijay obeyed and trusted Christ. This pattern is repeated millions of times every day, all around the world. Christ-followers have been pioneers in starting hospitals, universities, drug treatment centers, homeless centers, and youth programs that have transformed countless lives.
Many of these organizations no longer bear Christ’s name, while others are Christian in name only. Deep pocketed funders and discriminatory laws continually pressure organizations like ours to leave their faith behind, especially in South Asia. Of course, we will not do that. Christ did not send us out on our own to do good deeds, but called us to join with Him to change lives.
If we cease to trust Christ, we can offer human compassion, but cannot introduce others to the joy of knowing Christ.
As you know, one of the names of Christ is Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Mt. 1:23). As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, Immanuel, “God with us,” is at the top of my list.
God was present from the start of Harvest Bridge, when He called us to start it from nothing. God was present as He guided us and created the partnerships on which it is built. God’s presence is still evident among us, in both quiet, inconspicuous ways, and through mighty miracles like Asha’s.
Thank you for being part of this divine adventure. We hope you take pleasure not only from the thousands of people who benefit from this ministry, but also from the knowledge that God is behind it all.
You, we, and our partners around the world are part of Christ’s Body. Even when we face hardship and cannot find the silver linings in our own circumstances, we can be the silver lining in someone else’s, because Christ leads us and empowers us.
It is our prayer for you, this Thanksgiving, that you have confidence in Christ’s care for you and rejoice in His partnership with you. We also pray for God’s presence in resolving the problems you face, whether inconspicuously and gradually, or immediately and miraculously, so that you can rejoice both in His presence and in the practical help He has given you.
Blessings in Christ,
Tim Mech, President
*Names changed & photo blurred for safety