Sometimes I get so caught up in my own problems that I fail to notice what is happening around me. A conversation with someone reminded me that the God who is doing mighty things halfway across the world is doing great things in my own life … even in the midst of suffering. This person I spoke to has travelled back and forth from the United States to the Philippines numerous times to provide help to a church on one of the islands, including the construction of a building that now houses worship services and other ministries. I’m sure you’ve heard countless stories of the havoc left by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. This is one story that you probably have not heard. It is a story offering hope in the midst of devastation.
In one of the regions that was in the direct path of the storm, there stands a building. This building is a place where God’s kingdom is advanced. And during this fierce typhoon, it was no different. Many homes in the area were made of lightweight materials, not able to withstand such a powerful force, like Haiyan. About a hundred people, who have never set foot in this building before (perhaps some have never set foot inside any church building), came there seeking shelter from the coming storm.
And while the people were gathered there with no other place to go, the pastor of that church preached the good news of Jesus Christ. He taught them from Ephesians 2. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
They thought they found refuge when they entered the building, but they found more than that. There, they were directed to a Person, who is the ultimate refuge and calm in the midst of all the storms of life.
“For You have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm … ” (Isaiah 25:4)
After the typhoon exited the area, three people came back to that building the following Sunday to join the worship service. A seed was planted. May God Almighty cause the growth!
(Photo credit 1: UNHCR Photo Download)
(Photo credit 2: Nove foto da Firenze)