This article was originally published in the April 2020 edition of ITMI Monthly.
There is a good chance that no one reading this letter has ever experienced a month like last month.
No one knows if it is the beginning, the middle or as most are hoping, the end of the virus war that is being waged around the world. Most of us have never really experienced a war being fought on our very own door steps, and yet, whether we understand it, believe it or agree with it, a war is being fought regardless of our opinion or perspective.
Add to that, the medicine of quarantine, staying at home, not meeting in groups, the tenuous situation of unstable unemployment and unstable businesses, many are saying that the financial collapse is an example of the old saying, “…the cure [being] worse than the disease.”
I can tell you that for Evelyn Gholson of First Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona who lost her dear, wonderful husband at the end of March to the virus that the world is fighting, the disease is far worse than any other discomfort or life change.
Mike and Evelyn have been faithful encouragers and supporters to Darlene and I and ITMI for a long time. We are grateful to know that Mike has “gained” all that heaven has to offer and we pray for Evelyn to know the comfort of our loving Father.
This war, this world wide challenge, is not unique. Our Bible tells many real life stories of difficult and disastrous times. It is easy to be so comfortable in our own worlds that we miss the realities and challenges that other, less fortunate, even “before our time” people experienced and endured.
I was reminded this month of Joseph. In Genesis 41, we see him enslaved. In a foreign land. In…a pit. If you haven’t been to Egypt in the summer, you really miss the reality of Joseph’s situation.
Then in verse 16, this enslaved, pit living, foreigner from Canaan, stood up, spoke truth and contradicted the all-ruling, “all -powerful” final authority of the day’s perceptions and beliefs. It could have cost him his life. Joseph informed Pharaoh that “…it is not in me, God will give …a favorable answer.”
God decided to use a broken, pit-living, no-account, Canaanite to save the world from starvation. God had a plan and no one can stop or delay God’s plans.
We are deeply burdened and hurt for all the many who have lost and been lost by this virus. We don’t know all the reasons, but we do know that God never makes mistakes and we also know that He has ways of using all situations for His ultimate glory and our good.
Just the other day, I was speaking to David and Taru in Bangalore, India. We were discussing the fact that they and all of the 1.3 billion Indians are now pent up in their homes for 21 days due to a government mandate.
Indian police are beating those that do not comply with this edict from the Prime Minister. These are people that live not day to day, but morning to evening.
During this conversation with David and Taru, the Lord gave me the Joseph story with such clarity that I had to share it. Instead of David and Taru just living out the next 21 days on hold (probably more when the virus really hits that thickly, densely populated country) why not accept this new opportunity to show God’s love and sovereignty?
What if we all banded together and helped David and Taru and any of the other ITMI partners who are able and so led, to “store up” basic staple foods that will be used, not for them, but to help others and show God’s love to the needy around them.
The average Indian has nothing and financially can store nothing.
Then as this isolation, hunger, job loss, stopped food transportation, and any other complications that the really needy experience sets in, we can be God’s lighthouse and helper.
When David and Taru and I got to brainstorming about this great new opportunity to minister during this difficulty, they realized that during a time of handing out food to the Muslims, Hindus and other hopeless people, they can be bolder than ever with God’s real truth and hope.
By faith in our God, our brother Joseph stood up and boldly spoke truth in a lost world. He also was used to care for his family and the world.
I have already stepped out and committed funds to help our partners impact their communities during this incredible opportunity. I am asking you to consider helping us by doing the same.
I know that times may be tough and uncertain from the human standpoint, but as with Joseph’s story, our God doesn’t operate on our human level.
He is not limited to what we can understand…that is why He tells us to trust Him and obey even when the storm is raging. May you rest this month and know the storm is in His hands.
In His Service,
About the Author
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.