The last few weeks had left my body feeling the exhaustion of traveling through four countries with my husband and our five young children. When we finally arrived in East Asia, our friends and teammates were anxiously awaiting our arrival. It was late, we had just flown for fifteen hours, and I was desperately longing to get to our hotel room. I couldn’t wait to be swallowed up by the covers of a comfortable bed to get recharged for the long days of ministry ahead.
We walked as a family through the halls of the familiar airport and made our way to the immigration agent, fully confident that all would go smoothly and we would be on our way to that comfy bed in no time.
However, the agent took one look at our large family and it became obvious that he didn’t share in the same excitement over our arrival. In fact, he wasted no time in looking for ways to prohibit us from entering the country.
That wasn’t all.
While traveling through another country three days prior, our rental car was broken into and all of our luggage – including our passports – were stolen! Since our new temporary passports did not have our necessary Visas in them, our only option was to enter East Asia for less than 72 hours with valid exit itineraries in hand. We had these. The problem came when immigration realized we had a departing two-hour layover in another city. We were still well within the 72 hour window, but this didn’t convince them. After two hours of waiting, immigration ended up denying our entry and security escorting our entire family onto the very same plane on which we had just arrived. Needless to say, we were devastated that we weren’t granted entry to follow through with the ministry we had planned.
To say that I was upset and disappointed would be an understatement. With a broken heart – surrounded by our children in tears – I said to my husband, “Why do we even come here, and why do we devote so much of our lives to these people?”
For the rest of my life, I’ll never forget how he responded.
“This is exactly why we come and devote so much of our lives. They need Jesus. They need to hear the gospel!”
My heart sank in my chest, and I knew I had to repent. “Oh Jesus, forgive me and break this self-centered heart for those who are desperate for your Word!”
Sisters, people are desperate for God’s Word. They are desperate for Jesus to come and transform their lives! There will never be a hardship that we encounter that will even come close to the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our eternity.
“If we have died with Him, we will also live with him;
If we endure, we will also reign with him;
If we are faithless, he remains faithful-
For he cannot deny himself.”
Paul understood the meaning of his words. He had been dead in his transgressions when he miraculously encountered his Savior on the road to Damascus. He knew what it meant to be dead and now to live with Him, and he lived out that eternal perspective. He suffered tremendously for the sake of the gospel.
We have that same opportunity to also live out that eternal perspective today, because His Word is not bound! It is life to those that are perishing and it is life to us that are enduring for the sake of those still in need of salvation.
“For this reason, I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” – 2 Timothy 2:10
Have you endured hardship for the sake of the gospel? Has this hardship left you feeling weary, disappointed, or frustrated at times? First, I just want to say that I’m truly sorry, friend. I wish I could be there to look into your eyes and hug your neck as we each walk out this commission together. Most of all, though, I want to encourage you that what you are doing in proclaiming God’s Word to your neighbor, to your friends, and to the women God has strategically placed in your life is no small matter. God’s Word is not bound, and it goes forth to affect eternity in the hearts of these women. Stay encouraged, sister. Let us endure all things for those He has chosen, and let’s not lose sight of eternity.
By His grace,
Cherice and her husband Dwayne live in a country town just north of Dallas, Texas. She is mama to five pretty amazing kids, a Jesus lover and follower, and desires more than anything else to fulfill the call that God has on her life. She’s passionate about seeing women in the unreached areas of the world know God’s love, His Word, and His purpose for their lives.
We’re in Week 5 of our 1 & 2 Timothy study! You can find our women’s and corresponding kids’ journals here: