Posted by: critzpastor | May 21, 2009

Some signs are easier to read

Signs, Signs, everywhere are signs!

Signs, Signs, everywhere are signs!

Saw this “sign” in the bathroom of a theater.

We took a mini vacation to “find ourselves”/reconnect pamper ourselves selfishly, et. al.

We took in a movie and finally saw “wolverine” it was action packed, very dark! Had dinner at P.F. Changs, which will probably be the first of many! WOW! that’s what chinese is suppose to taste like! Then we headed back to the hotel with memories of old friends swimming in our heads! We had several years of teachers conferences in the same conference center. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ride those elevators without thinking of our former principal …

After a wonderful evening of selfish indulgence, we retreated to the hot tub and pool area. Ah, blissfully empty except for a dad and two daughters who are definitely Indian. We have kept to “the rules” pretty well. We only mentioned Jackson or the adoption in passing. We briefly flirted with the topic of church & personal financial concerns, but only briefly. I admit those things are on my mind a fair amount. Not to the point of worry or obsession, but ever present as an object of prayer. After realizing that “heated pool” was a relative term we joined the trio in the hot tub.

They were gracious and it was one of those thirty something size tubs so there was plenty of room. Suspicions were soon confirmed that our fellow guests were not only of Indian decent, but from India! It turns out that father and children were recently reacquainted. The girls had been in the states with their mother who was recovering from a complicated pregnancy. Dad was here to bring his wife, three children and new addition home to India! After we found out this information it became readily apparent that this chance meeting was not as random as we thought. Here is an excerpt from the conversation that followed:

Indian Gentleman: “Are you familiar with The Church of God?”
Me: “Uhm, yes we attend a Church of God…”
Indian Brother: “How are things going in your church?”
Me: “We’re kinda small and the economy is hitting us pretty hard. Our area outside of Martinsville, VA has been struggling with out sourcing and closing plants for years. This economy is just making things worst. How are things in India?”
Indian Brother: “I am the state overseer of one state in India. We are suffering under persecution. Many of our pastors have been beaten and arrested. One of them was cut (he shows me a line along the full length of his torso) from here to here. We run an orphanage / school where many of their children live and attend, because of the troubles and also there are no schools where these men preach.”
Me: “We will pray for you and your pastors!”

It reminded me. Shook me, may be a better word. My “struggles” are real. Many churches and many more families are having difficulties. But it reminded me of the writers exhortation/correction/rebuke in Hebrews (paraphrased) “You haven’t suffered to the point of pouring out your blood like Christ, yet! Have you?”

None of this takes away from the troubles and struggles that we all face in life, but I needed mine placed in perspective. Better yet, I needed my perspective changed.

This brother was not only struggling through the absence of his family and being separated from them in a possibly life threatening birth situation with his newest child. He was also ministering to men and women who were literally being beaten and tortured. He was ministering to and keeping safe the children of other men, all the while his own family and life were just as at risk. He was doing it joyfully and with great purpose. He was taking his family back to India. Yes there had been struggles, trials, but he hadn’t suffered to the degree that Christ had, had he? There was still work to be done. Still lost souls to reach. Still time until the Master returns, before an accounting of time and talents must be given.

Yep, some signs are easier to read. This one was pretty clear. I hope it speaks just as loudly to you!

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