Perhaps one of the most daunting parts about our current situation is the uncertainty, the many “what if’s” and the fear of what’s to come. I suppose those are the kind of things that can always burden our minds, but clearly they’ve been escalated. I have those thoughts, and then I remember that I’ve been given a perfect picture of what it could be like to be in worse circumstances.
My friends and I are blessed to be in touch with several friends in Venezuela. They join us online four times a week for meetings where we sit quietly together and wait on the Lord. It’s the way we’re learning to listen for what He is putting on each of our hearts. Sometimes that is only internal, or if someone feels there is something that is meant to be shared, we all have a chance to benefit from it. It’s pretty extraordinary, sometimes hard, and sometimes a soothing balm to the soul.
As most people probably know, Venezuela has been in turmoil for quite awhile. They lack basic human necessities such as food, water, medicine, money and electricity. It’s hard to even comprehend what their day to day life must be like. One of our local friends talks with them more often and every time we ask how they are doing he says “really well”. That doesn’t seem possible but the reason is this, they keep turning their hearts to the Lord. They focus on Him and not the world around them. They are aware of course, and do what they need to in order to survive each day, but they don’t get caught up in the chaos. One man said:
“I need to be careful of all idolatry. Whatever thing in me that might be more important than God, including my own body, and my own needs. Is this more important than the Lord in my heart?”
Another young man came to the Lord after being in a gang. He was later put in jail for a crime he had committed during that time. He could have gotten out by bribing the judge, but he chose to do what he knew was right. He understood he’d never be free if he didn’t tell the truth. He wrote and said:
“I look around me and see that there are more reasons for me to be happy than to be depressed. Despite me being deprived of freedom, which could be a good reason to be sad. Nevertheless, I know the Lord is molding me for a purpose and I have seen changes in my life through this process from the Lord. There are a million things that bring joy to my heart…when you are walking in God’s ways, you realize problems don’t really exist.”
For those who may not know, Venezuelan jails are horrific and inhumane to say the least. I find it astonishing that anyone could find joy and happiness there, but again that has been made possible by turning to Christ.
So there is the perfect picture of hope that we’ve been given. The clear vision of “what if” and what it could be like if things were worse. There could be assurance of freedom, joy, peace and Love in our hearts. Why would we settle for anything less?
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.