New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
I was excited.
But I was also afraid. To be precise, I didn’t know how my time in Cuba would work out… a real test of my faith!
This is why our team was in Cuba:
Tonight – the Bibles entrusted to us would be handed over to faithful Christians. Personal items (clothing, food stuffs, and
personal items) requested by believers would also be delivered.
This would be my first Bible delivery experience.
The interpreter assigned to us met us at a pre-assigned location. It was there he quickly briefed us. Without fanfare, he hired a cab, taking us to a place we had yet to see. From that point on, we avoided being seen with our interpreter – a wake-up call to dangerous Cuban streets.
Adding to that stress, it was a long walk to our Havana-based contact. As we walked we noticed on each block was a marked house letting everyone know this was the home of the “Block Watchers.” These residents provided the government with information of what went on in their block.
Suddenly, our interpreter, who had been shadowing us, abruptly crossed to our side of the street. Using hand signals, he directed us to follow him as he knocked on a door. A man answered urging us to enter quickly. Pablo, head of the family, introduced us to his son and family. (With so little housing in Havana, families were forced to live together.)
His wife, Ruth, entered from the kitchen to introduce herself. It was the week before Christmas and there were no signs of the celebration. Pablo first mentioned it, “Our children have never experienced celebrating Christmas as we did as children, as you do today.”
Pablo asked that we “retire” to their back room, where it was safer to speak and share about Christmas. In their tiny apartment, it was too easy to be heard from the street. Pablo asked his son to fetch his guitar, as he guided us in singing Christmas carols.
What a sweet time.
Hand in hand, we stood for nearly an hour, celebrating together the birth of our Savior. We couldn’t always understand each other, but the familiarity of Christmas hymns made it unnecessary.
Then Ruth began crying. No, she was sobbing. Her body shaking.
What have I done, I wondered? Is she weeping because we have offended her? Our translator talked to her, and as she responded, he also began to cry. Oh, no! Now I was worried.
With tears in his eyes, our translator spoke. “Only last week Ruth nearly gave up. She was tired of living in relentless fear. Late one night, she cried to God, ‘Father, if You really exist, and if this isn’t just my imagination, please send someone to tell me that You exist and care for me and my family.’”
“I never thought that He would love me so much that He would send someone from United States America.”
Then Joe and I began to cry.
Never in my life have I so KNOWN this was where God wanted me to be!
The luggage we brought was presented… and the gift of Bibles, clothing, and other items were shared.
The day before, we had been given fresh fruit as we toured the mental hospital. Fresh fruit was a luxury in Cuba. Oh the looks of surprise and thankfulness as I took them out of the bag.
I believe Joe and I were ministered to just as much, if not more, by that short visit.
The Triune God showed me how He answered prayer. In His timing, He heard the cries of His people, those suffering real terror, just as much as one dealing with internal terror.
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee … imagine you and I are chatting.
Every Christian experiences doubt. Times when you and I wonder whether we are just fooling ourselves.
If you have never experienced doubts; you are blessed.
Ruth cried to God, “LORD, if You exist, if this isn’t just my imagination send someone to tell me that You exist.” Ruth was answered in a way that was beyond what she expected. Have you cried out to God in this way?
From last week’s song A Song for the Weak and Broken sung by Indelible Grace
Remember him who once applied, With trembling for relief;
“Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried; “O help my unbelief!”
“I believe; Help my unbelief!”
From ESV Study Bible:
Mark 9:22b–24 “The father merely seeks help through Jesus’ miraculous powers: if you can do anything. Jesus corrects the father’s statement by calling him to put his trust in God. I believe; help my unbelief! The father immediately confesses that he has some faith but also acknowledges his spiritual weakness and appeals to Jesus to create in him a heart that believes more firmly.”
Apart from God, there is no faith. We cannot create faith within us. Faith is a gift from God.
Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
You cannot create your own faith, it has to come from the Triune God. Ask for an extra measure of faith as the father did in Mark 9.
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