Being Reminded of the Glory of the People of Christ
Well I’ve been in Namibia for a week now, and my time here is almost up. All I can say is that this is like no place I’ve ever been. Really wonderful in all its desert forest delight. The opportunity to explore the country as we did last Saturday, and as we will do more tomorrow, was without parallel in my natural life. While I am not sure if many would call Namibia the promised land, it is a wonderful country and if you have a bit of wanderlust like myself it is worth the twenty hour flight to get here. There is much to see and discover about the wonder of the Lord’s wisdom in creating a land like Namibia. Yet like most places what makes the nation special is the people. I’ve had opportunity to talk with cattle ranchers who run thousands of head of cattle on several different spreads each numbering in the tens of thousands of acres, also to the men and women who have helped us driving and at the hotel have been treasure troves of stories, advice, and friendship. Namibia is truly one fine place. It has its problems like any other nation, and it’s not exactly the most populated area (second lowest per capita in the world next to Mongolia), not a lot of jobs, and a lot of folks have no idea where it is, but there is something to be said about a land of wide open spaces, warmth of people and place, and the presence of so much to offer the world, if she would only look.
One of the things that has struck me as I’ve spent time here is just how much the “age” of Namibia looks like that of the United States. An odd quirk about this nation is that it was largely uninhabited until European colonists cut cities out of the brush because of the minerals (mostly diamonds) found here. The native African tribes were almost exclusively up north towards Angola and east to Botswana. As I write this I am sitting in an internet cafe in a town called Rehoboth. Established by Germans in 1845 it strangely feels like any old American town in the southwest, just with diesel in liters instead of gallons. I write all that to say a couple of things about the way the Lord works in His time and in His providence to fill all the world with His gospel. In what is left of today’s prayer and worship help I want to report a little bit more about what I have been hearing on the worship side of things. It is beneficial I think to hear how our compatriots are praising the Lord.
It is worth remembering at this point about something on how God looks at things differently than we do. Our viewpoint is often skewed by our smallness and the cultural fog in which we live. We can’t always see the forest for the trees. There are many places in the Bible where the Lord’s people were in new and exciting places and didn’t quite know how to navigate their new surroundings. Whether it was Egypt in the days of Joseph or Babylon when Daniel roamed the Earth God’s people often are confronted with the difficult task of being aliens in an alien land. However, one particular event is helpful for us to remember how it is we are to approach not only visiting new countries, but much more mundane things like starting a new job or beginning a new time of life. When the Israelites were in the Wilderness the LORD had Moses send spies into the land of promise. Ten spies came back afraid and two returned humbled and confident. What made the latter different from the former is that they looked at the problem of taking the cities and destroying the armies of the kings from the eyes of Jehovah rather than seeing it in the flesh. I’m a short man and am confident that I could not take down Goliath with my own hands. Yet as they used to say in the American West, Samuel Colt made all men equal. Well, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ makes us more than just equal to the enemies of God, but victors.
We fear not the giants in the land because we fear the LORD.
The whole purpose of my being in country is to meet and greet with representatives from Reformed and Presbyterian denominations from around the world. I’ve especially been blessed to hear reports from our Indian and Kenyan brethren. If you’ve been around the R & P would for any length of time you know that we sadly have a reputation for our “split p soup” of acronyms and splinters. However, these gentlemen are almost all faithful refugees from larger churches who have given themselves over to the world in various ways, with others seeking a more pure form of Christian faith unstained by local animistic deities. It’s exciting to hear how the Lord is working through the simple message found in the Holy Bible to bring men and women to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Sometimes there can be some reticence in the mission fields around the world to know exactly what is going on. One of the truths of the expanding Church is that no matter where you are there are going to be sinners, and unfortunately we’ve heard tell and seen some examples of that in our meetings with individuals. The internet may sometimes either exaggerate or misinterpret what is happening on the ground, yet I’ve been nothing but encouraged in my talks with the brethren. Just joyful testimony of the Holy Spirit’s convicting sinners and discipling the nations. It is really a wonderful time and I am very honored and glad to have had the unique opportunity to be a part of the work of the International Conference of Reformed Churches. Connections were made, friendships renewed and made new, and a blessed time of spiritual growth has made me a different man than I was before I came.
In closing, I want this brief essay today to be an encouragement in a couple of ways. Firstly there is a great strength in the broad family we have in Christ. Remembering that while things may seem on the outside that we are being lost in a world of great sin, we are to reconsider our anxiousness in light of the massive glory that belongs to the Creator and Sustainer of life. Fear not the giants in the land today, for they are nothing in comparison the blessing of the Church, and the Bridegroom who has come, and will come again to raise us up in His mercy for all eternity.
One more thing to consider:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church