I have loved traveling and seeing our beautiful planet. The wildlife I have observed first hand, as a child existed only on the pages of National Geographic and my science books. The wonderful people and sometimes not so wonderful people I’ve met traveling have made my journeys even more adventuresome.
- One night a band of guerillas waving their guns and shouting surrounded the open air meeting I was preaching at the edge of the Chaco. Eventually their leader quieted them down and I continued preaching. Later to the astonishment of all he laid down his gun and life kneeling to commit his life to Jesus Christ.
- On another day a group of people gathered around when I decided to preach on the corner of the Acropolis. The small crowd of 50 people or so applauded and worshipped the Lord as I preached about our resurrected Lord’s love and grace.
- The Arab young man who helped me to my hotel in Jerusalem refusing any payment. Only one request he made, “please tell your friends in America that not every Muslim hates America.”
- The old man, Henri, who had been a Nazi slave, helped me with several missions trips in Europe. I’ve eaten in his home and listened to his tearful stories.
- The former bodyguard of Mussolini who was marvelously born again and spent his life preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- I’ve prayed with suffering children crippled by diseases and sat with adults who would die soon from illnesses that in America could have been treated successfully.
It causes me to wonder what our world was like before sin entered the picture. Sometimes I’m asked why didn’t God create a world free of pain and suffering. My answer is simple. He did! And in that beautiful world he created a man and a woman free to choose whether to trust Him or themselves. In love he explained the blessing of loving obedience in His creation and the death that would follow if they disobeyed. They chose poorly. Immediately suffering, disease, violence, genetic breakdown and disorder followed.
Today, suffering continues, and God continues to give a way to cope, survive and overcome the suffering of this life through the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. Our stores can be one of grace and hope or defeat and death. Violence doesn’t win, cancer doesn’t win, divorce doesn’t win, faithlessness doesn’t win, because Christ overcame them all. He invites you into His victory. Trust and obey.