By: Cheri Fuller
"When we are lost in the greatness of God,
we realize that there is no physical, emotional, or social loss so great that God cannot bring good out of it and compensate us in the next life."
A Story of God’s Faithfulness
Over our salads and bowls of soup, I asked Anne about her experiences as a missionary in China. She shared about the day she was leaving Shanghai for furlough in her beloved Scotland. After nine years of service with the China Inland Mission, she couldn’t wait to see her family and friends and was overdue for a respite. She and the other missionaries had packed their belongings and stepped out of the mission house to get on the boat when Anne heard a clamor outside. As she watched through the window, she saw Japanese soldiers goose-stepping in unison down the street, knees almost up to their noses. The Lord spoke to her heart, “Anne, come aside. I want to talk to you.”
Reminding her of His care and provision during many adventures and close calls, He told her she was not going home but would be a prisoner of the Japanese. He didn’t tell her how long, but she distinctly heard, “I’ll be with you.” A precious, very real sense of God’s nearness and peace filled her as He spoke. Then, “Do you have any prayer requests to make, Anne?” He asked.
Although she’d never given her teeth a thought, the Spirit nudged Anne to pray that her teeth would be preserved and not one of them fall out. So out of obedience more than vanity, she asked this of God. Moments later she and the other English and American missionaries were taken prisoner and marched to a Japanese prison camp. There she spent three and a half years in near starvation, dreadful cold in winter, scorching heat in summer. Cruelty, rats, disease, and death were all around her. There were no Bibles, so she had to rely on all the verses she’d committed to memory.
She chuckled as she told me about the rat she’d found up her sleeve in the middle of the night and the “rat patrol” she headed up after that to try to make the barracks a safer place for the other women and children. She shared about God’s constant presence, of the people who came to know Christ, how she gave Him every burden, worry, and fear and saw Him work time after time. Anne seemed to possess this quiet assurance that she could absolutely trust God because He was worthy. She could have been overwhelmed by worry or consumed by despair until she couldn’t minister at all, but she didn’t focus on the what-ifs: What if I don’t survive? What if my health breaks? What if we’re not rescued?
Instead, she fixed her eyes on Jesus and His promise that He would never leave, fail, or forsake her (Hebrews 13:5–6). He hadn’t failed her yet in her years on the mission field, and she knew she could count on Him for tomorrow. So she used her energies instead to serve God, to proclaim Christ, and love those around her. As she related stories about God’s provision in the prison camp. I sat there spellbound, marveling at the mercy and faithfulness of God. And as I listened, our trials came into perspective in the light of these experiences.
Anne was released after World War II ended. And although in poor health, every tooth was preserved. But other losses awaited her. Her mother had died while she was in prison camp. And although now she was dealing with the day-to-day trials of aging, her vision failing, and she’d suffered several surgeries, she encouraged my friend and me: “Trust. Cast all your cares and worries on Him. No matter what’s on your mind, roll it onto His shoulders and rest under His wing.”
On the way home, my thoughts were filled with what Anne had said. It was as if she had pulled my eyes off the problems and fixed them on Jesus. Her words came back to me: “Don’t lean on your own understanding. Don’t trust what you see or feel or think; trust God and His Word. He’s faithful even when we’re not.” I prayed silently, “Lord, I want to focus on You and praise You right in the middle of our circumstances, and I ask for Your grace to do that.”
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”