Surroundings – unknown. Setting – unaffected. Sounds – unfamiliar. Situations – unusual.
So how can I already feel like I belong? Why does this scene seem so familiar and comfortable?
It has to be because God is the one who brought me here. This wasn’t just some idea I came up with one day because there was nothing better to do in life. No, all along the way it has been God, my loving Heavenly Father, directing my steps, preparing the way, preparing my heart.
Since returning to Brazil, I have read from Genesis to Judges. This is one of the verses I underlined, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20
Starting in Exodus, God rescues His people from slavery to the Egyptians, and takes them on a long journey, an incredible adventure, a walk of faith. The story is full of grumbling, hard hearts, doubt, and sin of all kinds. Yet it also spills over with God’s grace, as He keeps and protects His people, leads them in miraculous ways, and brings them into the good, fruitful place He prepared for them.
You see, God hadn’t chosen the people of Israel because they were a great, numerous, special, lovable people. No, they became the special people of God because He chose them, when they were few in number, to bring glory to Himself. He set His love upon them and made them great, and brought them into the Promised Land, better than anything they could have imagined or achieved. And it was not because they earned it or deserved it, but simply because He is a Promise-Keeping God who never gives up on the people He has redeemed.
Their story is a lot like mine. Starting years ago, when God saved me from slavery to sin, He has taken me on a long journey, an incredible adventure, a walk of faith. My heart has been hard so many times, full of grumbling, doubts, and sin. Yet my story spills over with God’s grace, which has kept me and protected me, led me in miraculous ways, and brought me here, into yet another place that He has prepared for me. And it isn’t because I was a great, talented, special, lovable person. No, I became a child of God because He loved me first, and gave His Son, Jesus, to die in my place. And He chose me out of the world, to be holy, to go and bear fruit, to be a soldier. And none of this was because I earned or deserved it, but simply because He is a Promise-Keeping God who never gives up on a child He has redeemed.
And by God’s grace, I will live and fight and stand firm in this place, worshipping Him only, and loving these people He has called me to serve. My prayer is that this will prove to be a good and fruitful land, that much fruit may abound to the praise of His glory: fruit in my life, and in the lives of these people He loves.