SPIRITUAL THUNDERSHOWERSTHE SUN gets extremely hot here in New Mexico. In fact, all the southwest gets plenty of sunshine. ACMTC's Headquarters sits up in the mountains, above 7,000 feet, so the scorching heat of the plains is not a problem for us. Down in Berino, NM, at one of our mission outposts, the dry heat is intensive (Berino is near the Texas and Mexico borders). One day, several years ago at Berino, the temperature reached 127 degrees. That is HOT!
The Southwest has been under drought conditions for quite a few years now. However, despite all the sunshine and dry heat, thundershowers do come! When rain comes, not only does the ground and vegetation rejoice, but so do all the people.
Suddenly there is a faint stirring in the dry air; dark clouds move swiftly across the sky. We all watch and wait for the first drops of precious rain. The sun-baked earth seems to be praising the Lord as the rain comes faster. The sound of thunder rolls across the black sky as lightning flashes here and there. Lightning frequently sets off a series of fires. If the rain is heavy, though, the fires are extinguished; if not, forest and brush fires can rage out of control for days and weeks. The very intensity of the mid-summer drought is like a promise ready to be fulfilled. It must rain soon.
There are times and seasons in the Spirit that get hot and dry. Seems like our earth, our life, is sun-baked many times, and we can't soak in the waterings of God because the Lord has withheld the Spirit rains. Our missionary work experiences this time and time again--long hot and dry spells. Sometimes it seems like a real drought. We go about our duties, but we are not as fresh as we would like to be. Things all around us droop under the dry conditions. Sometimes the rainy season doesn't produce much rain, so we wait for the next season to roll around. Disappointedly we keep at our assigned duties, praying for God to send His precious rain.
Then suddenly the Lord may send us lots of snow to make up for the sweet rain that did not come. Of course, when it snows, flowers don't bloom and grass does not turn green. Nevertheless, the snow is His blessing.
Doing missionary work has its hot and dry seasons; its cold and frozen seasons. It also has its seasons of abundance of rain and snow, which replenish the earth, so to speak. A casual observer may conclude that missionaries are sent out to plant seeds, apparently without success. Yes, time and time again it appears to be fruitless work--to plant, to water, to labor in the fields--yet all things are in the Master's hand. It is Him and Him alone that causes the tender shoots to spring up, blossom, and bear fruit. So we have witnessed and do testify that God has blessed our work all these years.
We have reaped in fields where we did not sow. We have planted in fields where we did not reap. Our great spiritual Gardener knows what is best for us. Precious souls harvested for the Lord are worth all the hard, hot and dry times. The work is not in vain. We must work when the rain does not come, but we must work harder when the rain and thundershowers are in full operation. For years we have ploughed in dry and rocky soil where a crop has been difficult to obtain. We have labored in countries where it seems like every devil out of Hell is raging against us. This story could be told time and time again. We have worked among peoples who are so spiritually weak, they die at an alarming rate. Other peoples grow into mighty armies for the Lord. The experiences vary. National unrest and terrorism hampers evangelism while souls are dying on the vine because of dry-rot. Still we must continue on.
Whether it is dry or wet, hot or cold; whether it is a time of war or a time of peace, God wants His laborers to keep at the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). We should not be satisfied with a trickle, when in reality we need a downpour! We need revival, REVOLUTION, and restoration--all three . . . NOW!!
Let us never be content to sow and reap just one harvest. No! Let us anticipate a great harvest for all eternity! There are millions and millions and millions of peoples that need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A good literature program helps. Practical factors play their part in the advancement of any missionary enterprise. Spread the Gospel! Go for it!
It takes a prodigious sum of money to do mission work worldwide. Therefore, if at all possible, start your own businesses to support your efforts. Sometimes, too many times, offerings do not supply for all the needs. Don't be afraid to work for your mission efforts. We work! Personal sacrifice--lots of sacrifice--is also a necessary component to mission work. Unfortunately, multitudes start out "by faith" and end up literally begging to keep their works going. I realize Jehovah Jireh does supply, but He also expects us to do our share by fulfilling our obediences. He wants us to labor, especially if we have the means. Of course, we give thanks to our donors, but we still work as teams to earn the money we need.
There are times when God sends us small showers of blessings and we are ever grateful. Other times He sends us thunderstorms, and He provides for us with abundance. Rain is necessary whether we are in tenuous or tender times.
Soil, rain, sun--all have a bearing on the crop, but none in itself solves the mystery of why there is or is not fruit. Only God knows. We must simply trust God in all things. We must lay our lives down for Him.
"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit."
Thank God that Jesus Christ was that "corn of wheat" that died for all mankind. Without Him our work would be impossible. Now we must follow in the pattern of His footsteps.
The harvest must be brought into the Kingdom of God. The land MUST be possessed for Christ Jesus. This means a greatly augmented missionary force must be recruited immediately. Even as I write we see and hear of God's wrath crashing down upon the sons of men because of their exceeding sinfulness. With OVER SIX BILLION souls in the world, we need workers, many workers, to be deployed on the mission fields. We need reinforcements NOW!!
The Lord of harvest is calling for devotees, trainees. We here at the ACMTC urge a call to prayer that men, women, and children will answer God's command to serve. We beseech each and every one of you out there to pray for the potential power that will break the satanic strongholds that hold souls in captivity.
From the ranks of veterans of foreign wars, we here at Headquarters say "Thank You!" for all your prayers and giving. We do appreciate it very much indeed!! We humbly thank God for each and every one of you who has prayed for us throughout the years. Continue to pray that God's spiritual thundershowers will break upon all the dry lands of this world. We must thank God in the dry times, but we may still cry out to Him for a torrential downpour.
As one old-time missionary wrote,
"The Royal road to Blessing is very rarely comfortable
and while the 'riches in glory by Christ Jesus'
are infinitely greater than our puny needs,
we as disciples, missionaries of the Lord, the Suffering Servant,
should not expect any easier path than He trod in seeking the lost,
mainly you and me."
~General James Green