The following is from our e-mail update, sent this week to those who support us with their prayers and giving.
Dear Family and Friends in Christ,
“But the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5 ESV
The gospel contains both bad news and good news: The bad news is that apart from Christ we are dead in our sins, and cannot please God. The very good news is that Jesus took our place, taking the punishment that we deserved, so that by trusting in Him we can have eternal fellowship with God.
The gospel doesn’t stop there. God’s grace is as sufficient for us today as it was the day that we, by God’s grace, put our trust in Christ. Living in Bucharest forces us to be continually confronted with our inadequacies. Sometimes our weaknesses are in the area of culture or language—we don’t know where to go for something, or don’t understand a question some one is asking us. It is easy to fall back on “Imi pare rau, vorbesc putin romaneste” (I’m sorry, I only speak a little Romanian). At other times, we don’t feel up to the tasks that are before us, at school, church, or at home. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all and it is easy to get discouraged.
The Christian life isn’t all about God making things go smoothly for us. For the apostle Paul, his life was filled with persecution and hardships, but he was right in the middle of God’s will by experiencing these things. God continues to use our situations, weaknesses, failures, and even sins to remind us that His grace is completely sufficient for us.
“How does God in grace prosecute this purpose [of drawing us sinners closer and closer to Himself]? Not by shielding us from assault by the world, the flesh, and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstances, nor yet by shielding us from troubles created by our own temperament and psychology; but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to Him more closely.” —J.I. Packer, Knowing God, chapter 21.
We are pleased to be serving Christ on your behalf in Bucharest, Romania. Thank you for your prayers and financial support that make it possible for us to minister here at Bucharest Christian Academy and in the Romanian Evangelical Free Church.
Serving our Lord,
Kevin & Shirley
Grace and Peace