07 Apr Yesterday, Today and Forever – Troy Holland
For I the LORD do not change… (Malachi 3:6)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Do we really believe that God is the same today as He has always been? Are we convinced when it comes to the workings of God, that He is the same today as He was in the past? When we read the Bible and see what He did, and read about different times throughout church history when God worked, do we, in 2017, in the area where we live, really believe that what He has done in the past He can still do today?
Gladys Aylward was born in London, England, February 24, 1902. Most of her life she felt like she was called to be a missionary. Around the age of 26, she attended a revival meeting. At that time she became convinced that she was supposed to go to China. She applied to different missionary organizations, but for different reasons, she was turned downed. She then heard of 74-year-old lady who was doing work in China who needed to retire. So, she decided to pay her own way to China and once there, work to pay her own support. When she arrived, she was overwhelmed with the number of children who were orphans and had no place to go. She began to take in these children, feed them and take care of them on her own.
In I940, the Japanese attacked China and were going through through country with the intent to kill everyone. Friends told Gladys that she needed to leave and go back home, but she couldn’t leave the children. She decided to take all 94 children and cross the border into the next country. For 14 days, she and the children walked through jungles and very rough terrain and at many times found themselves extremely close to Japanese soldiers whose orders to were to kill on sight. After 14 days, she made it to the Yellow River but there was no way to cross. The Chinese government had removed all of the boats for fear that the Japanese would take them. Gladys and the children were trapped with the Yellow River on one side and the Japanese army on the other. She told the kids there was nothing for them to do, yet some of the children urged her to pray. She had taught them God could do anything. After she prayed, a Chinese man came up to them inquiring about their situation. When she told him, he brought out his boat from hiding and took them safely across.
Sometimes, we don’t attempt things for God. We don’t stand for God because we are just not sure that His hand will be there to protect us. That is why how we answer the question “Do we really believe that God is the same today as He has always been?” is so important. Can He protect us as we work and live our lives? Can He protect us as we serve and contend for the truth? Can He protect us as He did in the case of Daniel in the lion’s den or even Gladys Aylward? The truth is, “Yes, He Can!”
There is a story told about a midwife who lived on an island off the coast of China. She sent a letter to Watchman Nee, a Chinese evangelist, to see if he would come preach the gospel. He and six of his friends went to this island. For several weeks they went about and spoke of Jesus to anyone who would listen yet, with no conversions. They were ignored by the people in that area. They discovered that these people believed in an idol that they served as their god. On January 11, there was to be a celebration for this idol. On that day, the priest would walk down the street carrying the idol. The people would eat and drink and rejoice. The priest said that January 11 was a day blessed by the idol and that it had not rained on that day for 300 years. One of the young men who was with Watchman Nee spoke out and said that Jesus is God and He would make it rain on the 11th. Watchman Nee and the others were shocked at what he said and thought that his talking was rash. They didn’t say anything, but they went to a place and prayed. After they prayed they felt like God was going to do something on the 11th. When the sun came up on celebration day, the sky was cloudless. At breakfast the seven evangelists prayed and said to God, “We felt that you said you were going to do something on this day and show the area who is the true God.” When they finished their prayer, they went outside and the clouds began to roll in and it began to rain. The people ignored the rain, and the priest loaded up the idol and started going down the street. The priest and the people began to pray that the idol would make it stop raining and defeat this Jesus, but it started to rain harder. It became hard to walk and one of the priests fell and the idol crashed to the ground losing its head and arms. The priest went into a nearby home to repair the idol and came out with a new story. The 11th was the wrong date for the festival; it was supposed to be the 14th. Watchman Nee and the other evangelists prayed that it would not rain until the 14th and then on January 14th, God would send the rain. In that time between the 11th and the 14th, some of the people listened and gave their lives to Jesus. When the 14th rolled around, God sent a strong rain storm. That day many people gave their lives to Jesus and belief in the idol was broken.
There are days when we long for God to break through in a big way and show people in our area that He is all-powerful. We long for God to show his mighty power and put down the evil in areas where we live. The Good News is He can.
Let us believe that God is the same today as He was yesterday; that what He has done many times in the past, He can do again. Let us begin to pray as Habakkuk did,
“Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known.”