My intent here is not to mislead you. There will be no “show and tell” pictures or video of me making a fool of myself trying to work the fields of Thailand. I can’t keep flowers alive longer than 3 days – even with that packet of sugar that gets attached to the stems at the stores. While I would one day love to know how to grow food from the ground, today is not that day, so if you came to read about a guy who is afraid of spiders and big bugs show how he has overcome those fears in a three month period, my apologies.
This story however, is much better in my opinion. It starts off rough, but ends well…… so be patient!
Imagine I gave you a Billion dollars. Billion. Nine Zeros. To wrap your mind around a billion let me break it down this way: a million seconds is equal to 11.5 days. 1 Billion seconds is equal to 32 years.
So imagine I handed you a BILLION Dollars and said it would all be yours, but not until 2 more years. After two years you could do with it what you wanted, but in the 2 year time frame you could only use $10 a month and have no other income to use.
If you could survive for two years under these conditions, you could reap a wonderful harvest! If you couldn’t – well you would either be dead or have simply have to forfeit all the money.
Those are the rules. Could you do it?
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, so let me finish connecting the dots for you: For the last 3 months here, this is how it has felt to live here in Thailand.
I know Jesus Christ, I have a desire to make Him known, I have a passion to teach and equip Thai leadership so they can reach their people, and I don’t want to waste a single moment of my life sitting in a place where 9.5 out of every 10 people have never heard of Jesus. I have everything I need to do all that God has asked of me except one thing: I can’t speak the language and realistically it could take up to 2 years before I am able to have a real conversation with people about the glories of God.
Enter frustration stage right.
The Gospel to me is invaluable. It is priceless. It is something we can not earn on our own merit – it was something that was given TO US. Good News – Christ in us the hope of Glory. Emmanuel. God coming on earth to rescue his people and restore our broken relationship to harmony and saving us by dying for us – NOT counting our sins against us for those who are in Christ and trading our sinful lives for the righteousness of Jesus.
Not only that, but through Him we receive the fullness of life – Abundant Life and the promising of a day that will come where we will see Him face to face and stand in awe of our creator, our savior, our redeemer!
I don’t know where I would be today without Jesus Christ. I don’t even like to entertain the thought…. And yet here I am with this precious gift, in a country where practically no one knows who He is and I can’t do a single thing about it.
Do you understand how frustrating this might be? For the past couple months, it has been crippling to me.
So I have tried to buck the system and make my own way here. A helpless mentality is not in my DNA so I started to work my way around looking for opportunities to feel like I’m making a difference here. I have made relationships with organizations and people who are actively doing social ministry to help the people of Thailand. I’ve worked as hard as I can to find a way to make a real difference today – because it is not an option to have all of this light in such a dark place and stinking hoard it in my own house.
That’s how I have felt lately: Like a guy with a billion dollars to spend in a place that needs help and I can’t even give it away.
As a man… As a Christian… I have felt like a complete failure. My whole family (except Makayla) has struggled here after I ripped us away from everything and everyone we loved in the States, and I have felt like such a failure as a father as husband, and as a follower of Christ….
At my lowest point however… God stepped in.
Someone texted me 2 weeks ago and said they would like to keep in contact with me by doing a scripture reading plan together at the same time, so I agreed and we jumped to Genesis.
The end of Genesis has an account of a guy named Joseph.
Joseph’s story begins with a dream that one day the Lord was going to raise him up and put him in charge of many things. He’s young, arrogant, and has the love of his father, so his brothers beat him up, throw him in a ditch and sell him into slavery.
He ends up becoming the slave of a very powerful man in Egypt.
Joseph grows up, lives a life that is honoring to God, and serves his master so well that he is put in charge of the entire household. It seems as if God’s promise is coming true.
However, the story turns when Joseph’s master’s wife accuses Joseph of attempted sexual assault and he is consequently thrown in prison.
Then comes my favorite part of the story!
The next day God sends a couple guys in to break Joseph out of prison. Joseph and these couple guys lead a group of militia armed with pitchforks and they make their own destiny by staging a coup and over throwing the Egyptian leadership. Joseph thereby becomes one of the most powerful men in all of Egypt.
yeah that didn’t happen. God left Joseph in prison for a long time…but
24: But while he was in prison, the Lord was WITH Joseph and showed him steadfast love, and gave him favor so that whatever he did (while he was in the prison), the Lord made it succeed.
Joseph was at least in prison for 2 years according to Chapter 41, but all this time while Joseph was completely trapped and unable to set himself free – the Lord was at work. He positioned Joseph where he was until the time was right for the Lord’s plan to come into motion. Joseph made relationships, showed his character, showed the Lord was with him, and then God in all His sovereignty raised Joseph up at just the right time through those relationships and He used all that time in prison for Joseph’s good – and the good of ALL of God’s people who would come from the future tribes of Israel.
Nothing in Joseph’s life was wasted: Not the beatings, the slavery, the accusation, or the years of waiting patiently on God. It was all used as ingredients in his life to show the power, wisdom and might of the Glory of God. The time in prison, I would argue, was a time of real growth for Joseph to prepare him for what God had in store for him in the next season of life.
Joseph’s job was to be faithful to God and all that he had been entrusted with. Where he was faithful with a little, God eventually put him in charge of much.
Now I know I’m not Joseph. The story is not about me. I’m not reading any promises for myself into this.
What the Lord has taught me through this is the need for me to be patient as I wait on Him. While I wait, it is important to plant myself everywhere I can and make relationships with whoever the Lord allows me to cross paths with.
One day, with proper care, my prayer is that all the seeds that are planted as I wait, will one day produce a massive harvest! While I can’t speak the language now, there will come a day when I will be able to…and trust me, when that day comes, I will be going full speed like there is no tomorrow and may the Lord allow all those places I have been planted to flourish under His sovereign hand.
Be faithful with all the Lord has given me for today.