Hebrews 11: 1 What is Faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. Faith gives us hope.
There is a saying that in my opinion is so true but then again everyone has an opinion and many of them I do not care to hear. Christians are like tea bags. You never know what you got until you put them in hot water.
I am sorry when I hear the testimony; I turned my life over to Jesus Christ when I was seven years old, and from that day forward my life has been perfect. In my opinion and again remember everyone is entitled to an opinion if your faith has never been tested how do you know how deep your faith is? It’s all perfect. It’s easy.
Now to me, Job is the example of a remarkably faithful man; it was all perfect until Satan started to test him. The loss of all his family, the loss of all his worldly possessions. Losing one child is difficult but losing your entire family, I do not know how you handle that. I think of the Sandy Hook School shooting, first and second-grade children killed. How do a mother and father handle that without faith? And a lot of faith.
Three weeks ago, I was in the Ciego de Avila District in Cuba. Last September they were devastated by Hurricane Irma, and much of that destruction was still visible. Just a month ago the same area was inundated with flood waters from another storm.
I visited fifteen churches in the district and one of the first ones, the parsonage did not have a roof on it because of Irma. As we walked through the house signs of mold was everywhere and the air wreaked with the smell of decay. From there we walked to the backyard to a shack the size of tiny yard shed where a family of five people were living. The ceiling was so low I could hardly stand up straight. The heat from the Cuban sun made the place stifling hot.
There sat the Pastor’s family and shared a table filled with pineapple, bananas, and mangos. They were laughing and happy, and they mentioned they were so blessed that I was there with them. The pastor talked about his church, how it was growing, and they would be putting on a new roof soon. We conversed for about twenty minutes, and I prayed with and for them and then we departed. Now that is faith! Faith was giving them hope.
This district is sugar cane country, destitute churches, impoverished farm workers and challenging conditions under normal circumstances. Then top this with hurricane damage and flood damage, with no money to do anything about their situation. Driving on mud roads with water standing everywhere you look. Humble shacks with dirt floors, cloth draped front doors, every so often the home had given away to the elements. There was nothing more than a pile of rotten wood where once a family with dreams had lived. This is a tough situation. Yes, my eyes tear up writing about their conditions they live in every day.
We arrive at another humble church full of patiently waiting brothers and sisters in Christ. As I am speaking, I see the faces of these people many very somber yet leaning forward listening to every word I speak. I try to encourage and be inspirational at every location. I see the big brown eyes of children watching this strange big white-haired man telling them Bible stories.
I always carry Beaning Babies “stuffed animals” everywhere I go, and, in this location, I could not leave without opening my belief case to unload them all. There is always the initial hesitation to accept something from me, but with a little encouragement, they yield to the temptation. They hug and smell the small treasure they have just received. As I tell them, “God loves you, and so do I.” The smile on their face and the twinkle in their eyes is payment to me.
I am not one to say goodbye. I would rather say, “until we meet again.” Either way, I am leaving, and I cannot help but think; how do they do it?
Faith gives them hope, hope for a better life, hope for a better tomorrow and hope the price being paid now will provide the next generation of Cubans a better life.
Why can we not have that kind of Faith?
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