April 5, Sunday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Encountering God in Slovakia”

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

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There are times when God clearly reveals Himself to remind and reassure us that He is sovereign. Through circumstances, He lets us know that He is still in control and is working through His perfect plans.  Those encounters with God build our confidence in Him.

After finishing college, I spent a year as a mission intern in Eastern Europe. One weekend, I was on my way back from Germany to the town of Komarno, Slovakia where I was living. The train ride was about 16 hours long, and unfortunately, this was the time with no smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, etc. So what can one do other than stare out the window?

For the most part of the trip, I was alone. Even when other passengers came into my 6-seater cabin, there wasn’t really a way of communicating, so I just continued to stare out the window to the landscape of Slovakia. The train must have passed by numerous small towns, the kind of towns that an urbanite would ask, “Why would anyone live here?”

As a mission intern, I couldn’t help but to think, “Lord, what about these people? How will they ever know who You are? Who will ever come to share the gospel in such a remote place?” As the long trip home continued, those thoughts and questions continued to circulate in my mind to the point that they began to trouble me.

With no clear answers to such questions, I arrived at my final transfer city, where the last train would not depart for another three hours; and then finally, I would arrive home in two hours.  Since it was late evening, there were only a few passengers traveling, and again, without much else to do, I sat on a depot bench with my small Bible open on my lap. I would like to tell you that I was reading and meditating, but I think I was just staring into the pages, still wondering whether the people in the small remote towns were hopelessly beyond the reach of the good news.

Suddenly, two young men approached me. One of them actually spoke just enough English and some German so that we were able to carry out some small talk. I supposed there were two noticeable factors as to why they took interest in talking with me:  First, I was Asian, and I don’t believe that was common in the area at the time. Second, I believe the compact Bible sitting on my lap caught their attention, because one of the men asked me what book I was reading, and I told him that it was the Bible. They smiled, which was actually unusual in that culture at that time. Again, with their broken English and German, my elementary Slovakian language, lots of hand gestures, and what seemed to be a game of charades, they communicated that they, too, were believers. As we continued our slow conversation, I found out they were returning home from their church. Their home was a small town two hours away from the train station; probably one of the remote towns that I had passed on my journey.

In that conversation, I felt as though I had encountered God. He was not only answering my questions, but He was reassuring me that He had all things under control, that no city or town would go unnoticed from His love and care. I only met two, but I’m sure God had many more. I would take the final leg of my train ride home with a sense of joyful trust in a God whose plans and purposes always prevails.

As I continue to serve the Lord, I try to avoid two extremes: One is passivity, where I think God doesn’t need us so why do anything at all. The other is extreme activity, where I think that it’s all up to me. It’s not easy, but I would rather serve the Lord diligently, but all the while with a joyful trust in God who accomplishes His purposes in a world full of cities and towns and villages that He loved so much that He gave His Son.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me strength and wisdom to avoid a faith of passivity and extreme activity.  Instead, empower me to serve You diligently with a joyful trust.  Thank You for loving me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 5

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