As 2020 was coming to a close, we received a message from one of our fellow missionaries, Frank Hasel, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference. We thought this was the kind of message that could not be kept to ourselves but should be shared so that others could be blessed by his words. He was very kind in letting us share it with the IWM community.
Thank you, Dr. Hasel!
It is hard to believe that almost four years have passed since we met at the Mission Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in February 2017. I cherish many wonderful memories of our time in Chiang Mai. The things we learned there, the friendships that started, the transcultural experience we were exposed to, the things we could see and explore in Thailand, the legendary talent show, and the laughter and prayer we shared were so meaningful. But so much has happened, so much has changed since we were together. Some of us have experienced the death of a much loved person. Some have faced threats through war, like aggression and destruction. Some have moved and taken up new responsibilities. Some have been affected in various ways by the coronavirus pandemic or have faced other health challenges.
While we can witness that the world and the dynamics of global connections significantly changed the way we used to do things, there is one thing that is remarkably constant and that does not change: God’s steadfast love for each and every one of us. Let’s not forget: God is alive. He sees us, and he still cares for us. His amazing grace cheers us on and sustains us on a daily basis. I have to confess that I have lost touch with most of you since we met in Chiang Mai in 2017. So I don’t know where your spiritual journey has led you in the past few years, but it is good to remind ourselves that we serve a living and loving God. He not only cares for each and every one of us individually, but he is also fully capable, in his own remarkable ways, to hold the affairs of this world in his hands. While we see a world in turmoil and tension, he is able to direct the seemingly disparate and contradictory events of world history to ultimately lead to his promised end so that the word of his revelation will be fulfilled. This is most amazing and deserves our admiration and trust.
As this turbulent and unpredictable year 2020 comes to an end and the new year 2021 is on the horizon, I hope that you can draw near to God. May we all find refuge in the arms of Jesus. May we all be agents of encouragement who are known for our loving-kindness. May we be people who are not driven by fear but who instill hope in others. May we all stay faithful to God’s word, and may we joyfully live the things we have discovered therein. May the thought of God’s eternal love for us spark awe and a longing to be with him.
Have a wonderful rest of 2020 and a truly blessed and meaningful 2021. I like poetry, and so I send you the words of a poem by Joseph Parker that has become very meaningful to me.
God Holds the Key
God holds the key of all unknown,
and I am glad;
if other hands should hold the key
or if he trusted it to me,
I might be sad.
What if tomorrow’s cares were here
without His rest?
I’d rather He unlocked the day
and, as the hours swing open, say:
“My will is best.”
I cannot read His future plans;
but this I know:
I have the smiling of His face,
and all the refuge of His grace,
while here below.
Enough: this covers all my wants;
and so I rest!
For what I cannot, He can see,
and in His care I saved shall be
May you experience the “smiling of His face, and all the refuge of His grace” in the days ahead.
Note: The thoughts expressed in his email reflect sentiments from his new book, Living for God: Reclaiming the Joy of Christian Virtue (Pacific Press, 2020). It contains uplifting and inspiring stories and new biblical thoughts that will inspire your spiritual walk and be an encouragement to any missionary.