When I was serving long-term in Mongolia with Christian Veterinary Mission, I had the opportunity to go and watch some cardiologists from the U.S. do heart surgery on Mongolian children. They would come to Ulaanbaatar once a year and change the health of young lives that would have been cut short without their intervention. The day that I went, the staff was still talking about the previous day. As with any critical surgeries, there is always risk. What I missed the previous day was that a young child didn’t make it. When they told the parents, they were devastated, but then the mother started praising Jesus. You see, they were part of the first generation of Believers in Mongolia and her faith that day was tested and proven to be genuine.
How could someone that just lost a child so precious to them praise a God who could have healed her son? It is easy to praise our Lord when things are going well, but to praise him in the tough times requires something extra. This lady understood what it meant to have Christ in her life. She knew that it wasn’t of herself that she lived, but that Christ lives through her. Her faith was strong and it was evident in her actions. There were still tears and heartache, but she believed the promises of the One that made her and saved her for eternity.
It takes a lot of strength not to let human emotions take over when we are faced with a tragedy. Trials in our lives can be devastating. They can spill over into the lives of others causing them pain. As someone told me one time, pain is inevitable but misery is optional. Trials will happen, but we have the power not to let them cause us to lose sight of what we are called to do — worship the One who has given His life so that we may have an eternal life with our Savior.
How did this lady find the strength to set aside her own suffering to praise Jesus and impact every life that was there that morning? Yes, the entire staff of the surgical team was heavy-hearted and an emotional wreck from what had just happened; but they were lifted up because of one woman’s faith. They came there to minister to the Mongolians through the skills God had given them, but this lady ministered to them because she had something special in her life.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we would “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” This lady had a power within her that she had submitted to long before that day. She had allowed the Holy Spirit God placed into her obedient servant heart to not only comfort her but to comfort others like Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
This lady was heartbroken, but she had a joy knowing that God had received her son. She had a joy that so few really know. She believed God’s promises. In John chapter 14, Jesus says that if we love Him and obey His commands that the Father will give us an Advocate who will live in us and never leave us (V. 15-17) and give us the gift of peace of mind and heart (V. 27).
One passage that I cherish is Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” When Jesus said we would have the Holy Spirit in us forever, then this fruit is available for us to call on in our daily lives. It says that it is a package deal, indicating that we get them all when we submit and give our lives to Christ. I always have the option in every circumstance to first ask the old familiar saying, “What would Jesus do?” The more we feed the Holy Spirit, the more He will accomplish the work that he was called to. John 14:26 says that “He will teach us everything and remind us of everything that Jesus said.”. He can’t teach us or remind us if we haven’t been in His word to know what Jesus said.
CVM’s theme verse for this next year, Philippians 4:4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”. This is when Paul is talking about some trials with two ladies not getting along and when they probably weren’t full of joy. Why? They had chosen to handle their conflict as Satan directed them–in a sinful nature. Galatians. 5 speaks about two natures, the sinful nature or the Spirit-led nature. Isn’t life easier when we let Jesus take the wheel and submit to the Spirit-led nature? Times never go well for me, and I sure don’t glorify God, when I suppress the Holy Spirit and try to handle life’s trials on my own.
For 12 years, I did many short-term trips and then the last 10 years I began working long-term with CVM, and when I thought I was going to minister to people here and around the world, people like this woman ministered to me through their actions. She had every reason to be upset, but instead, many saw her Spirit-filled life who could rejoice in her Savior.
We can feed the Holy Spirit with God’s Word through many ways. We can feed Him with actions of God’s people, or hearing or reading His word. The more we feed the Spirit, the more He teaches and reminds us so we can weather tough times. We may be hard-pressed on every side some days, but the joy and peace from our Savior’s Spirit will stand up against all the flaming arrows Satan continues to throw at us.