Last night, although I didn’t want to, I knew that I had to set my alarm early for the next morning. I could feel my Maker calling me to come and sit in His presence in the morning. As the darkness of the night was lifting, my alarm pulled me out of my deep sleep. His voice was quietly inviting me to come and join Him in the quiet place. I wasn’t sure of where I could sit with Him, because we were staying in a hotel with our family. As I made my way around the bed, the darkness of the bathroom seemed the quietest place available, so I grabbed a towel and folded it on the floor. As soon as my knees touched that towel, the tangible presence of God flooded me inside and out. I disappeared into another dimension, standing before His throne with Jesus at His right hand. The angels cried out in worship and nothing else mattered. The culmination of my existence and experiences were drowned out in the presence of the Almighty. I forgot everything as He spoke complete and total Love into every single corner of my mind, heart, and soul. I cried out to Him, “I want more of your glory Lord!” He responded, “If you want to experience my fullness and glory, then you will have to open your eyes to the people that I have placed in your life. I love them deeply, and many of them don’t know. Find them, and you will know my glory.” An hour or two later, I came out of that bathroom so full of joy, peace, and freedom.
We made our way to the hotel breakfast that morning and picked out all of the food for our family. One of the waitresses came to me and offered to help. Immediately, I knew that this was one of the people the Lord showed me that morning. I asked her in Thai, “Do you know who Jesus is?” This opened up a long conversation about Jesus, and how He is so much different than the religion that she had been born into. Buddhism says that love is weakness and that we must rid ourselves of it. Jesus says that love is everything, because He, God, is love. Buddhism says that we must work hard to earn our place in our next life, Jesus says “Come unto me all of your who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” She had never heard these things, and she had a very hard time understanding what grace is and how it covered her, but the seeds of truth were sewn into her heart regardless. When we left breakfast that morning, it was so clear how much God loves and pursues all people. Even as you read this, take a minute to reflect on your entire life. I want you to see that our Daddy, God, has been there from the very beginning, whispering to you in moments of fear and confusion. He has walked with you through the trials, always trying to tell you how much He loves you. He loves you.
We spent the rest of the day playing in the pool together as a family and enjoying each other’s company. That night, we went to a restaurant for dinner by the pool. As the sun was setting, the girls were playing in the water, and Whitney and I were deep in conversation. The waitress came and brought us our dinner. She asked how much longer we would be staying at the hotel, and we told her that it was our last night. Tomorrow we would return to Khon Kaen. She responded in excitement, “Khon Kaen! That is my hometown! What will you be doing there?”
“We live there! That’s where our home is,” I replied.
She went on to ask, “Why do you live in Khon Kaen? What are you doing there?”
“We live there because very few people there have ever had the opportunity to know Jesus. We teach people about Jesus,” we engaged further.
She then went on to explain to me about a time when she was in college. A friend of hers took her to see a movie that was about Jesus. She said that she cried and cried during the movie. When she went back to her room that night, she couldn’t stop crying, and she cried and cried all night. That was the first and last time that she had ever heard of Jesus. She didn’t know what else to do to or how else to find out more.
Here she was, years later, living and working in another part of the country. Here I was, an ex-atheist, living and working in another part of the world, sent by the Lord to touch this woman’s life. Our conversation continued on as I explained to her about the love of Jesus and who He was. She was rocked down to her soul with the reality of the Creator of the universe. She went back and told her other co-workers about our family and that we knew Jesus. The other waitress wanted a copy of the Bible too. I gave her our information, and we plan on sending her and her co-workers all a Bible and coming back to teach them more about Jesus in the next few months. We came to love all of the people that we encountered in our time at the hotel, and when we left, it felt as if we were saying goodbye to our family. The hotel staff even got together and gave us a going away present the morning that we left!
I am beginning to understand that all of the sacrifices we have to make to live here and my happiness have absolutely nothing to do with my purpose. I believe this is true of all of those who follow Jesus. We have been rescued out of a burning building, but it hasn’t been to sit back and helplessly watch it burn. After rescuing us, Jesus has suited us up in full fire protection gear and equipped us with everything that we may need in the fire. His hand is outstretched, offering us the opportunity to go back in the fire with Him and pull out all of His children who are suffering and waiting for us to find them. What will we do? Will we enjoy this place of comfort out of the fire, or will we go back in to the fire, regardless of the price, with Jesus?