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Here Is Christian Encouragement From All Over the World

Here Is Christian Encouragement From All Over the World

On Saturday I asked if you would consider sending along some encouragement. Specifically, I asked if you would respond to this: “God promises to work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This includes even, and perhaps especially, the difficult things. What are some of the surprising ways you have witnessed or experienced God’s goodness in this difficult time?” Hundreds of answers came pouring in from all over the world. There were far too many to share them all, so I picked at least some and am now sharing them here so you, too, can be encouraged. Here are how Christians around the world are seeing God be true to his promises in this difficult time.

The coronavirus is a mercy because of the work God is doing in my own heart. Living abroad and serving Christ as a single woman felt like an adventure 12 years ago. Then I got married and had kids, and the adventure is gone. Over the last few years with small kids, I agonize over the risks I’m exposing my children to. Discontentment overwhelmed me and I found a strong desire to mother my children in the States. They’d be safer there, after all. Then March came. Lockdown here in Paraguay quickly followed and within a few days the States started shutting down. It’s hard to say where my children would be “safer”. In the midst this crisis, I am faced with my own foolish. The ONLY sure place for my children is in Christ. My anxiety kept me from the greater task of exemplifying and teaching just that. Now I see it. (Kendra, Paraguay)

The slowdown of social life during this pandemic has not been easy. Even with video chat and other ways of keeping in touch, there’s much to miss about face to face interactions. My children have missed their friends and extended family. Not long ago my 4-year old-son walked in the room smiling. The following conversation ensued: Me: Are you happy? Son: (Smiling even more) YES! Me: Why are you so happy? Son: Because God is taking good care of me! May we remember God’s loving care even when we are in the valleys. (Lincoln, Kenya)

I’m on staff at our church, and I’ve watched the Lord move mountains recently. We were able to get our services streaming online in a matter of days. Our congregation is caring for each other in ways I never would have dreamed. Volunteers are painting the interior of our building because we finally have an extended break in the normal schedule (and our state doesn’t have a stay at home order!). Parents are taking a more active role in discipling their children. I’m learning new and creative ways to minister to our families from a distance. There is unexplainable joy in the midst of a difficult situation. God is GOOD. (Benae, USA)

We live in Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world. It is said that 30 percent of our children face lung related problems. But we praise God for the time of renewal that he has sent upon the environment. Air Quality Index has moved from ‘hazardous’ to good’. We feel closer to nature than before: the sound of birds chirping, trees and plants looking greener and fresher without all the dust and pollution. We will praise God till it lasts, and we will praise Him beyond that. Indeed, he works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Navin, India)

I would like to say thank you for your dedication and big heart for Gods people to encourage them, to build them up, to help the flock! (Sorry for mine incorrect English) This is for me a time of further recovering from burnout. After two years not sleeping well, I start to sleep normal again. I started to do to fast things again, and now I need to slow down. (Corry, The Netherlands)

I have never felt so out of control of anything than right now in the middle of a lockdown and a ruined economy. Not that I ever had any control, but COVID-19 completely wrecked that illusion. I can do nothing but to cling to God and acknowledge that He is completely in control of everything, even if I might lose my job and income. I am finally at the rockface as far as my faith is concerned, and it is a good thing. (Francois, Namibia)

I’ve experienced God’s goodness by enjoying the little things with my family. We’re all Christians but our own activities at school or work have made it harder for us to spend time with each other and just talk, cook a meal together or clean the house together. I thank God for this quarantine because it’s brought us closer together, I’ve had long and meaningful talks with my parents that I don’t we’d have had otherwise and it makes me very happy to see how we’re growing together and learning more and more about our loving God. We’ll continue praying for our brothers all around the world that might be discouraged in this difficult time. God bless you. (Daniel, Mexico)

Hospitality has always been a big part of my life. This past fall, in a three month period, we had only 5 nights without someone staying with us, and that doesn’t include our normal Sunday when we have between 12-20 people for lunch. This confinement at first produced a feeling of guilt—we were enjoying ourselves too much! Now we recognize that the break was much needed (especially considering that we’re in our 70’s). It’s been a time to enjoy being just the two of us; reading together “The Confessions of St. Augustine”; praying together more; keeping in touch with so many via emails, phone calls, WhatsApps, etc. Ministry doesn’t end because we’re confined, the emphasis just shifts. It’s also caused us to realize that we can be ministered to; to humbly receive instead of giving. Bored? Not at all! (Rose Anne, Spain)

I have just recovered from depression and several trials so the lockdown has been a great opportunity for to take rests and reorganize my habits. But yes, God is reminding everybody that He is all sovereign and take good care of His own. (Anja, Japan)

I have been surprised by how well our church family has rallied around one another in support; by care packages, and various ways of communication( texts, phone calls, video chats). Also seeing some of those who normally aren’t the ones who put them themselves out there to serve are now seeking ways to serve and love their neighbors. (Mike, United Kingdom)

At the beginning of the crisis, I was scared I would be stuck in my student dorm room for 2 months (I’m an exchange student and had no way of safely rejoining family before lockdown), but God has showed me His faithfulness and care in that a family from my church invited me to live with them as soon as the measures here got stricter. Also, right before lockdown, I was able to meet another international student in my dorm from Japan and God opened a door to sharing about my faith. By God’s grace I was able to get a Japanese New Testament and give it to her the day before she flew back to Japan! Also, throughout the lockdown I’ve been keeping more contact (by calling/writing letters) with older brothers and sisters from church, and their steadfastness and faithfulness has greatly encouraged me to trust God even through tough times. (Melina, Germany)

People have gone out of the way to care for their neighbor by providing hand sanitizers in lifts, provided food for the private hires, encouraged the healthcare workers, leadership has provided for its people and responded real time to the challenging situation. The church has stepped up to serve rather than be served. Creativity has abounded in how we conduct services and how online fellowship can be conducted to edify one another. The migrant workers in our land are also being cared for where meals are provided and healthcare treatment is offered to them. (Richard, Singapore)

I’m single. My parents are unbelievers. So when all this pandemic started, I very well know going to my hometown and staying with them is not a wise choice or to put in a some simple way, I’ll not grow in the LORD. Also, I don’t want to stay alone as it’s even more worse, my thoughts wander and I’m more vulnerable to sin. Prayed and asked LORD for providence. God answered my prayer. I’m staying with one of my church member’s family. They’re so kind and caring. I’m learning lots from this family. Also, as I desired my growth in the LORD is increasing. I’ve borrowed “Knowing God” from their book shelf, and completed 1st chapter. I’m enjoying my reading. I’m just grateful to God and enjoying his providence. (Shantha, India)

I’m a solo pastor at a small EPC church. I’ve struggled to get our congregation involved in local missions. COVID-19 has ended that struggling—the congregation is active and engaged in serving our community. Also, in the last month, I’ve had more conversations about the hope of the Gospel than any other point in my life. I’m hearing the same from other pastors. (Brandon, USA)

Services, groups, prayer meetings have moved online with my church. I can see 3 (although there probably more) great blessings in this. First, I’m impressed how God’s people have stepped up to provide a way to worship, pastoral care, etc, even though it’s meant moving out of their comfort zone and learning new skills. Secondly, my unbelieving adult daughter who lives with me, becomes part of church, due to the service as such happening in my living room. She’s there and listening in on all our meetings. Lastly, I’m trying to take comfort in knowing that it isn’t the same as assembling together. It’s a very good way of making the best of it, but there’s a yearning and a feeling of grief of not being physically present with the rest of my church. This confirms to me how I want to be in the family of God, which is helpful as I often fight for assurance of salvation, and I hope it pushes me to cherish these gatherings when we’re able to meet again. I pray others are feeling the same. (Maria, United Kingdom)

After an abnormal exam in January, it was recommended that I have some cancer testing done on an ovary. That came back negative but still a recommendation for a complete abdominal hysterectomy. It was scheduled for May 13 so that I could finish homeschool classes, leading Bible studies, and caring for my grandsons as well as my other six children at home. Due to coronavirus restrictions and all of those obligations ceasing, I was able to move the surgery to April 13. I checked in the day after Easter and had a successful surgery with great care even though I was not able to have anybody come with me. The day I got out of the hospital, I found out that my son-in-law had tested positive for the coronavirus. I immediately called the doctor and everyone involved with my care had to go into a temporary holding pattern due to possible exposure. A couple doctors and myself were tested. Thankfully I came back negative even though my daughter, son-in-law and the two boys all have it. The medical clinic and doctors were cleared. I am recovering at home and couldn’t see my grandson anyway during this time.

So in summary, During just this trial, I have seen the goodness of God’s hand in the following ways: No cancer, ability to have the surgery, peace going in completely alone, starting and finishing John Piper’s book Coronavirus and Christ during this time, negative test and protection for all medical staff, mild symptoms for my daughter’s family, immediate and many people buying us groceries, bringing us food, and encouraging all of us during this time, ability to witness to some unbelievers because of this trial, and ability to counsel some believers on fear and anti-government sentiments regarding a quarantine. God has been so kind And faithful during this time of hardship and unknowns. (Jodi, USA)

I gave birth to our second child on Monday, April 13. Leading up to the birth My husband and I were nervous about being in the hospital given the current pandemic. I also began exhibiting signs of preeclampsia. I don’t think a day went by that someone from our church family or friend or family member didn’t call or text to tell us they were praying for us. We had an army interceding for us. God has shown His faithfulness to us over and over again through His people. (Brooke, USA)

He has stirred my heart to kindle my gratitude to Him. We had and still have so much in every way! I’m a teacher, so this is a challenging time for my work in a way I had never experienced before. Last Wednesday I was feeling tired from so much work (and all that seemed to await me ahead the next week), anxious for not knowing the outcome, the future. In the afternoon I took some time to read through Matthew and chapter 6 spoke to me in such a way: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (6:27). I had to lead (virtually) my small group that night (college girls), and as I listened about how God is working in their different situations and then I shared that reading on Matthew, a load went off of me. It was so surprising and not surprising at the same time: the blessing of the community in Christ goes beyond what we ask or understand. It will probably keep amazing us what the bond of the blood of Jesus means and does, social distancing or not. Coronavirus will not prevail agains Her! (Massiel, Dominican Republic)

God is still good in this season because He allowed me to be with my family. We also have work still by His grace! We are at a point right now where God’s moving us to think and act beyond of ourselves (in work, family and church). God is teaching me again and again how to love one another. (Jaydee, The Philippines)

God has revealed that He is the Master Builder and I am only a worker. He is in control and I live on His grace and mercy every waking day. It is surrendering that control which is eating at my core. From utter despair at the beginning, he has shown there is hope along the way, every day. (Samuel, Malaysia)

At the beginning of the year I was unhappy when I learnt that I would have to stay longer in Rwanda for work because I looked forward to going back home in Kenya and settling down. Recently a lady from church died and I used to mentor her teens, now when they need me the most I have realized that out of God’s goodness I am staying here longer and I am meant to use that extra time to mentor and minister to them and other teens at church and in the community. (Gichuru, Rwanda)

As a pastor who has had to go virtual, I have been super amazed and blessed as to how “my” people have responded. Being a pastor of a church in a small town has its downs but man, does it have its blessings! Our folks have stayed in touch with each other, mostly via Facebook, but have also been very encouraging about our efforts on Sunday. We were behind the 8-ball when it came to media and so we have played catch up. They have been patient and kind in the comments. I have also been amazed how faithful they have been financially. God has blessed us. (Bill, USA)

Our family has two disabled children with special needs, who usually have a whole spectrum of supports in place. Most of these supports have been cancelled during isolation, leaving my wife and I despairing at what life would look like for us. But by God’s grace, particular areas of work were able to continue, including personal disability support services, meaning, we were able to employ some young people from our church who can visit with our family and provide 1-to-1 support for our kids. This has allowed significant breathing space for my wife, in particular, as she supports our other children with learning from home, etc. it has also allowed us the opportunity to be a financial support to a few other people through this difficult season. (Chris, Australia)

I have discovered the wonderful praise songs on YouTube and how easy it is to fill your days with worship songs. It is a little thing but a meaningful one. (Donna, Canada)

The restriction to only speak to others using technology has encouraged me to finally reach out to some of my friends who have left university now and continue sharing my faith with them. This has lead to a continued conversation with one in particular and it has been really encouraging to see her questions and share the gospel with her and have her share her beliefs and questions so openly with me, and to see how God has used this unusual time to get me to do what I should have done a while ago.

It has been strangely encouraging to miss church and my church family so much. And to hear how many of them are missing it too. It’s been a good reminder that we were made for community and we are meant to be a united body! It has also been really cool to see the many creative ways that the church is keeping in contact and helping one another through this time.

I got married late in January this year! And we are both very grateful to God that we got married before all of this and are now able to spend this time together rather than apart!

I am on a student visa which expires during our lockdown and I had not received my renewed visa before the lockdown started. But yesterday we found a statement from Home Affairs saying people like myself will not be illegal (even if on a recently expired visa) for a while still and that was a definite answer to prayer reminding me that God is at work in all things and that if I can’t do anything about it (and when I can) I can always trust Him! (Elizabeth, South Africa)

Gaining my daughter’s heart! With her being home from school and under my direction and instruction of teaching, we’ve bonded more and I am witnessing the Lord move in her heart in such a beautiful way. I am learning to surrender my control in some of the areas of her life. The Holy Spirit convicted her greatly today in an area that I’ve attempted to have control over. He not only convicted her, she also confessed to me; it was such a beautiful and magnificent work of the Lord and such kindness from The Father to remind me that He will always do His job and that I truly can trust Him with her life. (Sheri, USA)

We had people leave our church, some with good reasons, some we didn’t hear from. It was encouraging to see them login and participate in the service together. (James, Australia)

The Lord has given the opportunity to spend more time with my family, to spend more time with His Word, with my fellow church friends through regular video calls every week, and to excercise and rest more. He truly is good despite of the condition we’re all in. (Tommy, Indonesia)

God has given my husband such a sweet patient heart in helping his mother. She is in a seniors home in lockdown. She is confused and lonely with many many calls during the day asking what is going on. He stands at her window to chat and does all he can to encourage and advocate for her. It is a beautiful thing to witness. I praise God for this dear man. (Deanne, Canada)

God gave me more time to sharpen my sermon prep and preaching. Before in our former church I get to preach every week but due to ministerial differences we had to leave the church and attend my wife’s home church. It was a messy thing to leave the church. In the new church, we are given a one-year probation before we became new members. As a result I became rusty in my sermon prep and preaching. After a year I was given the task of facilitating the youth small group. Still I felt I was still rusty. Long story short, this pandemic came and out pastor can’t travel back in our place so me another brethren was in charge of preaching. With a few church member and wearing mask and doing social distancing we have a Sunday service for 4 weeks now. Slowly my preaching and sermon prep is going back to normal. (Nitoy, The Philippines)

God has shown his goodness by reminding me that he is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient shepherd who cares and looks after his people. It’s been fantastic to have more opportunities to get in touch with church members, pray, meditate on God’s word on a daily basis and depend on him as we feel so fragile. This lockdown has been a fantastic opportunity to train church members to read their Bibles and learn to run a family service at home. As a parent of three children, we have had more time to read God’s word on a daily basis. Our two boys have loved listening to Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings during the lockdown. (Maxime, France)

So much more time for Christian input into my three children’s lives. So far we have read Luke together each morning for 4 weeks, memorized psalm 46, used Natasha Crain’s YouVersion Bible study Talking With Your kids about Jesus in the lead up to Easter each dinnertime, and listened to two Easter audiobooks from Lamplighter Theatre. Moreover we’ve had many more spontaneous discussions about God, suffering, death, sin and life! It has been encouraging to witness their growing faith through deep questions and growing understanding. (Rachel, New Zealand)

I have heard no grumbling about the lockdown from any Christian I’ve spoken with. I have felt much more liberty than usual to warn people frankly about eternity—as a dying man to dying men, maybe dying sooner than anyone expected. And God has opened up unexpected opportunities to evangelise. Medical staff – wow… So much social responsibility in complying with attempts to limit the spread of the virus. Such willingness to encourage and comfort one another, though we can’t be in contact. A welcome opportunity to re-evaluate priorities and reset them. To God be the glory. (Susan, United Kingdom)

I am deeply encouraged by the response of God’s people mobilizing for ministry. In normal times a lot of the emotional and spiritual ministry of caring for the flock can get left for pastors to carry out. Right now congregations are reaching out to one another in love and concern to check on those in need and “do the work of the ministry.” The active ministry on display as people seek out creative ways to “serve tables” is remarkable evidence of God’s goodness displayed through his people! (Ernie, USA)

God’s promises on His Providence through His Word are really sweet in this difficult time. “Don’t be anxious” as commanded by Jesus really have come alive to me in such circumstances. (Ajesh, United Kingdom)

We are a blended family and had a very difficult time while our four teenaged sons were in the house. We faced multiple problems including drug use, mental illness, car wrecks, toxic girlfriends, etc. When the kids left the house, my husband and I enjoyed a sweet time of recuperation as empty nesters. Needless to say, we were very anxious about bringing our two college age sons back home. I am happy to report that God has poured out his grace and we are getting along well. There are some bumps, of course, but nothing like before. I can see how everyone has grown, including us. It is rare to get a re-do in life, so I am thankful for this one. (Laura, USA)

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