Thoughts on the Way Home

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Those Who Despised You Will Bow Themselves

Isaiah 60:14

The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet;
And they will call you the city of the LORD,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

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The very same people that reject and despise you because of Christ, may be people that God saves for his glory. The Lord can turn even violent opposition into a harvest-field of worshippers. Not only does the Lord say that he can do this, but more importantly that throughout history he will do this, for sure. It's a promise to hold on to. I think this verse gives us a reason to take courage when we are not received well in trying to minister to the lost.

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It makes me think of a testimony from a HeartCry missionary. He shares how that in large city of Siberia where an old KGB prison used to be, that had detained Christians for their faith, was being used by the grace of God as a church building. The account with all the names, pictures, and details can be read in Volume 50, downloadable here. The missionary brother writes:

We began to pray and God worked a miracle. The government official who was responsible for overseeing all the religion activity in the area of Chita offered to us a building that was 47 by 17 yards square and was located in the very center of the city. It was built during the Russian Empire and used as a women’s prison. From 1920 until 1940, it was used by KGB as a prison, and many of our brothers were detained there. After World War II, the building was given to the army and was used as a military prison for soldiers.

I was astonished when I first saw the building. It was surrounded by high fences and watchtowers. It had no roof and was inhabited by drunks, drug addicts, thieves, and other dangerous people. We were very afraid to even approach the place, but we prayed and asked God for courage. At that time, the church had only twenty members - fifteen women, an 82-year-old brother, and four men who were able to work. We did not know what to do because we had no money, but God helped us. The entire summer of 1990 we tore down the walls from the cells and removed the garbage that had piled up over the many years. We did this type of work, because it did not require any materials or money. We worked with our bare hands, but the Lord helped us.

When the winter came, we received some money to do the work, but we could not find any construction materials. In spite of the many setbacks and discouragements, we began to build as the Lord prospered us, and by the end of 1991 we began to hold meetings in our new building. The number of our members doubled almost immediately. God added many young people to the church, and they were very happy to work. Every year, new members were added by the Lord and the work advanced. When I finally left Chita to return to Ukraine, the church had 170 members and the auditorium was almost done. Two months later they had the dedication of the church. In November 2001, I visited Chita and the church had grown to 210 members, with 310 people in a attendance. There is an interesting thing about the man who is now pastoring the church... . In 1987, while he was serving in the army, he was thrown in jail for 24 hours as a punishment for his faith in Christ. The prison building where he was held is the same building where he now pastors the church. We praise God!