“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
In April 2013, Oconee Street Methodist Church, in Athens, GA, a church that has served the needy for 25 years was gutted by a late-night fire. The day after the fire, my husband and I were driving into town with our 9 year-old granddaughter and she noticed the yellow tape and the burned out steeple.
She immediately asked; “What happened?”
We repeated the information we had heard on the radio about the fire. We also told her about the ministry of the church and how they fed the homeless and the poor people in Athens through a program called Our Daily Bread.
Her next question was one we ponder when bad things happen to good people.
“But if they were doing good things, why did God…?”
We responded that we did not know the cause of the fire, but a building can be repaired or rebuilt. We assured her that nobody had been hurt in the fire, and that surely God had a plan to expand and bless the ministry of that church. Our job was to pray for the workers and the people who depended on the meals served there.
Our words turned out to be prophetic. Yesterday’s newspaper confirmed God’s faithfulness to replace our losses with something better than we could ever have dreamed or imagined. The fire destroyed a building, but the faithful in the church and community persevered. The very next day meals were served on the lawn. Four months later, Our Daily Bread has relocated to First Baptist Church in downtown Athens. The end result has been better facilities and a 15% increase in attendance. Due to the central location of First Baptist, more people are being fed physically and spiritually. To God be the glory!
Dearest Heavenly Father,
We all face trials in this life. In your Word, you tell us that your plan is to refine us, to build up our spiritual strength, our faith and perseverance. We know that there is nothing we can do in our own strength, but when we rely on you and remain faithful till the end, we are rewarded with evidence of your love and presence in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we pray.
In the name of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life,