Think before you speak!

How many parents have ever said to their kids’ something like this? “Eat your supper, honey. Do you know how many kids in Africa are starving and would love to have what you have to eat?”

I admit to using this phrase many times when our girls were little and we were still living in Columbus, Ohio. And then we moved to Africa…and guess what? That comment came back to bite me!

I vividly remember a particular evening when one of our daughters, the one who was not particularly impressed with the food that I’d prepared, looked at me and said, “Mom, remember when you used to say there were starving children in Africa who would love the food we had? Well, we’re here now. Can you feed one of them this?”

You chuckle, but have you ever made a statement related to someone else’s situation, only to realize later how those same words related to your own circumstance or reality?

So here’s our reality:  We live in a time when immigration laws, no matter where you live, are a hot topic and many people live in fear of being deported or refused entry to the country where they desire to live, work, and for us, serve.

It truly begs the question, who is really making these decisions on our behalf and is God still on His throne? Personally, our own visa renewal documents are “in process” in the midst of a climate where missionaries are being declined, some have been deported or refused entry to South Africa, while others have gone through the process without a hitch. The interpretation of the current laws and the decision to put the coveted approved visa sticker in a passport would seem to be in the hands of “the man behind the desk.” This isn’t unique to our situation. It’s the reality that missionaries around the world are facing regularly.

“God is still on His throne, we’re still on His ‘footstool,’ and there’s only a knee’s distance between.” (Jim Elliot)

When speaking of this situation recently in his Regional Director’s Update to our missionaries, Tom actually referred to this statement when he said, “God is great and He is still on His throne.” However, what if the next missionary application is declined — does that mean this confident declaration is not true? No, certainly not. What about those working to gain entrance into limited access countries to carry out the Great Commission? Who is in control of that decision?

In all of this, I must admit, in my human desire and frailty I fight worry and I’m tempted to doubt. When I think about receiving an adverse visa decision and all that means, tears immediately spring to my eyes and I quietly declare in my heart what I truly believe…Yes, God is still on His throne! We truly believe that God is sovereign and in control of all things. He is in us, with us and for us!

Unlike my comment to our girls about food and the starving children in Africa, this statement about God will not come back to bite me. It’s more than a cliché or a cheeky little phrase used to encourage others in a difficult situation. It’s our hope. It’s our peace. It’s our reality.

So as you read this latest post, won’t you even just pause and pray for us?  God desires to hear from us and prayer makes a difference. Then, before you also make this commonly used statement — Think before you speak, and remember, God IS still on His throne!

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