December 28, 2016

Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Confirmation can be wonderful indeed. We indeed walk by faith and not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7) but occasional visual confirmation is very comforting. Particularly before GPS, spotting a landmark that matched the directions we had been given was quite welcome. God leads us in various ways, and some of those lend themselves to this sort of confirmation more than others. That’s where spiritual growth comes in. It might be ideal if all of us trusted God perfectly all the time and never missed a cue, but reality is very far from that ideal. That’s one of many reasons we need our brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only can we comfort and encourage each other, sometimes one person will spot a confirming sign that another has overlooked. God doesn’t want us wandering around confused and He doesn’t want us losing hope, but He does want us to be strong in faith and knit together in love.

The Lord has certainly had us in a fairly intensive training program for a while now. We have several different things happening simultaneously, and He has given signs related to each one. We need to be encouraged by every one of those signs, even when they don’t seem connected to the immediate issue, because they are confirmations of His faithfulness. For example, the Hong Kong missionary team being interested in buying the house in another city that is being moved out of should be an encouragement that things aren’t going to fall through about the church getting the land next door here. God sees the whole picture, and every bit of it is interrelated. I am reminded that the star appearing again for the Magi did not mean that everything after that would be easy. They had to go home by a different, probably less convenient and possibly more dangerous route, and the Holy Family had to escape into Egypt. It is certainly not wrong for me to rejoice at the various confirmations we are given, but at the same time I am not to presume that the next step will be easy, nor resent it when it isn’t. Today I will be visiting the Senior Welfare Office at the prefectural capital. Much depends on the decisions that are made today, but I am not to be anxious about any of it. Neither am I to take any of it lightly. I am to go in a high state of humility, sensitivity, and expectation. I am to be respectful of whomever I talk with, receiving the information and advice they give me, but letting God tell me what it all means. At no point am I to despair, whatever I am told, but rather keep my heart fixed on Christ. The road ahead will not be easy, because we need more spiritual muscle and God is giving us a workout, but the end result will be very good indeed.

Father, thank You for all this training. It really isn’t much fun in the middle of it, so help us keep our eyes on the goal. (Hebrews 12:11, Philippians 3:14) Help us not decide ahead of time what the path ought to be, but rather trust You with it and follow faithfully, whatever the route. You have said to rest, relax, and rejoice. We are learning just how hard that can be, but Your grace is more than enough for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Help us recognize and welcome that grace at all times, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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