God’s desire from the beginning has been relationship with all people all over the earth. He told Abram he would bless the people of the world through his family.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (From Genesis 12:3)
God promised a servant who would bring rescue to the whole world.
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (From Isaiah 49:6)
His teacher, Paul, explained that God made every nationality and ethnicity! He cares about every people group all over the earth. People groups are not genetic accidents!
And God cares about where each group lives so they will be able to know God.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us… (Acts 17:26-27)
Your Heavenly Father loves you dearly, and his plan has always been to love every person and every people group on the earth.
We can join with him in this love, working to relieve every kind of suffering, especially eternal suffering. I asked three of our Far Flung Family members to share about the suffering God is relieving today through the good news of Jesus.
Suffering of Anxiety and Fear
In Taiwan, people who don’t know God have no hope in Jesus. Instead, they place their hope in the empty rituals of their religion. They write:
We do have friends and families that are steeped in traditional beliefs looking for answers in life and a hope during trials. The only hope they have is burning incense and ghost money hoping it’s to the right god and the right amount. The traditional religion here traps people in a cycle of striving and fear.
But God… These North Wakers are in Taiwan to teach the truth that God can be trusted, and that he is not distant and mysterious but instead, close by. He doesn’t want incense, but rather, he wants us to need him. When we thank him and give him our stresses every day, he allows us to peacefully trust him.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5b-7)
Thank God he has provided a way to be freed from hopeless anxiety! Ask God to help you cast your cares on him daily. And ask him to bring his hope to the world.
Suffering of Ethnic Division and Strife.
A North Waker in Central Asia writes:
The Mugat are the gypsy population of Central Asia. They’re despised by other people groups in the area. Recently, many Mugat have come to faith. Last year, at a weekend-long women’s gathering, the ladies were encouraged to share testimonies on the last day. Z*, a Mugat woman, shared how her life before was filled with only bad things, and she can’t believe the freedom she has in Christ, even to sit here with so many sisters. After she shared, one of the leaders of the group began sharing and said that she truly has freedom. She was taught from a young age to hate the Mugat people, and for many years she has been a believer but still hated them. With tear filled eyes, she asked for forgiveness for her years of hate and praised God for the sisterhood this roomful of women now have. Many tears and hugs followed.
But God…We are all nervous about other people who aren’t like us. Sometimes we are far worse, being harsh or unkind. Paul describes us well when we are apart from Jesus: “For we ourselves were once foolish…hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3). But the good news of Jesus is that he loves every people group, and he puts us together in kindness and compassion.
Here [among those who love Jesus!] there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:11-13)
Thank God he has given you a way to be freed from strife and tension with people of other ethnic groups. Ask for his help to identify and repent of any remaining dislike you have for others. And ask him to bring his peace, in Christ, to all ethnicities of the world.
Suffering of Loneliness and Isolation
A North Waker relays a story of kindness from East Asia:
We have a friend who grew up in and currently lives in a mega city. People in the big cities don’t stop to chat with anyone, especially salespeople. Our friend worked at a perfume sales counter and was accustomed to being ignored and passed by. A Christian took the opportunity to meet her, and later simply said, “Can I pray for you?”
Her consistent interceding and simple text messages to our friend softened her heart to hear, receive, and believe the Gospel.
But God…Busyness isn’t an American problem — it’s a human problem. People all over the world can be too self-centered, too work-driven, or too money-driven to actually notice and care for other human beings. Jesus’s work frees us from anxious working and moving and stress which can sap the energy we would have to care for others. Jesus told us to follow the example of the Good Samaritan who cared for a desperate and needy stranger. Because of God’s great love for us, he enables us to show kindness any time we can.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)
Thank God he has not left us to ruinous busyness and strain. Instead, he asks us to trust him to provide all we need. Ask him to help you trust him enough to slow down and care for strangers and to give you the opportunities to do so.
God loves neighbors who are far away — will you join him? The three examples above show us that the good news of Jesus changes people today and promises them hope and a future with him forever.
There are two ways to respond to God’s love for the world. Which role will you take — Sender or Go-er?
- Ask God to allow you to Send: support, pray for, and encourage others who are venturing around the world to meet every tribe, language, people, and nation in order to share with them the good news that Jesus loves them.
- Ask God to help you Go: move to the people of the world, learn their language, and deliver the Good news of Jesus. What a great adventure to offer your life, your years, and your time so that others may know and glorify God, the most valuable thing in the universe.