By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director; Missionary for Missions Education/Customization; Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)
The wages of sin is death. So when Adam and Eve sinned, they should have died. But God chose another plan. When the people of the world turned their back on God, Noah should have drowned in the flood. But God gave him the ark because he was a man who walked with God. When Israel was in need of a king, David was a simple shepherd. But God made him the shepherd of His chosen people. The paralytic at the gate should never have walked but God healed his legs. When the world needed a savior Jesus could have stayed with God. But God sent Him to earth to die on the cross for our sins that we might have the chance to join Him in heaven.
“But God…” It is the story of hope. Recently I was given the privilege of hearing my youngest son Jesse and three of his friends stand in the pulpit and share the story of hope. As Jesse shared about the great creator God, the great I AM God, my mind went back to when he was five. We were home on furlough traveling by car from Arkansas to Virginia. It was October so all the leaves were changing colors much like they are in Maryland today. Jesse had never seen fall before so he was amazed at all the color. He exclaimed, “Mom! Isn’t it cool how God painted all the leaves different colors in America. He did a really good job. We should thank Him.”
Today that five year old is 21 and there he was standing in a pulpit once again exclaiming about the greatness of God and giving Him thanks. “God is I Am and that is enough” was Jesse’s closing statement.
The next young man told about the fall of man and the separation from God it brought, the third told about the redemption of man through the cross, and the fourth challenged the audience to share the story of hope. There are people all around the world telling that same story of hope.
One is from an unreached people group in Asia. I heard his story this past summer. After accepting Christ as his Savior his brother shot him three times. That did not stop him from telling the story of hope to others in his people group. For those in his faith, there is no such thing as salvation only the hope that your good works are enough to get you to heaven. What a relief for them to hear the story of hope through faith in Jesus Christ.
One lives in country influenced by Buddhism. Her family has placed her in prison for her faith. She tells the story of hope in prison to anyone who will listen. They may be in chains now but like Paul one day they will be free with Christ.
One lives in Jackson, Miss. She tells the story of hope to women coming out of prison. She tells them they are treasures and God has a plan for each one. She could be enjoying retirement but has decided to house these women in her home while they are in transition. Everyday they hear the story of hope.
Another is telling the story of hope to children in her downtown Baltimore neighborhood. Every afternoon children whose families cannot afford after school care go to her house. She helps them with homework, provides a snack and tells them the story of hope.
When Jesse’s friend talked about sin he said, “Adam and Eve abused a resource. What resources do you have that you are not using, taking for granted, or abusing? That is sin and separates us from God.” His statement pierced my heart.
There are many resources at my fingertips; my home, my finances, my talents, my freedom, my job, my car, my spiritual gifts, each 24-hour day that I live. Am I using them to tell the story of hope?
Today I could still be living a life without hope but God…and now it is my turn to tell the story of hope.