Words by Dustin Murray | Image by Blakeney Clouse
For the past four years, I have had the honor of mentoring a group of pastors and house churches in a heavily persecuted part of the world.
One day, we met before dawn to study the Book of Acts. Several faces were missing as we began. A young man walked in, shaking his head and smiling. He quietly took his seat in the front row, opened his Bible, and started taking notes. Another pastor brought him a towel. He stood up and started wringing out water from his pants. The other believers shook their heads, quietly laughing.
Next, an older believer and his wife crept in, both soaked from the waist down. A towel flew across the room into the hands of the wife. She dried off and passed the towel to her husband, who passed it on to another believer. Repeat the process until all the seats were filled. Without words and without explanation, still dripping water all over the floor, they opened their Bibles, took out their pens, and began taking notes.
After studying together, we always have a question-and-answer period. That day, I had a question of my own. “Why are so many of you drenched?” They all giggled and, one by one, stood up. I realized that they were all soaked from the waist down. They simply responded, “It rained a bit the past few days.”
Later that evening, I received a picture from the street view in front of the house church. I sat down in disbelief. These believers walked across the town in waist-deep flood waters to come to our Bible study with Christ-exalting joy.
I have long heard that the best way to learn that Jesus is all we need is when we come to a place in life where Jesus is all we have.
Echoing the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he 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.”
Like Paul, these believers’ strength rested not on their own might, grit, or willingness to brave the fierce obstacles of life, but on the all-sufficient grace and power of Jesus.
In Christ, we have a Savior who braved the far greater flood waters of God’s wrath due to our sins to open the floodgates of God’s loving and holy grace for us. His braving that flood enables us to brave our own.
So, friends, let us immerse our souls in the wondrous glories of the cross— where we find the symphony of the sum of God’s attributes united in salvific harmony. Let us hear that divine concert echoing in our hearts and minds as we walk through stormy waters. Let us peer into the grand crescendo of the empty tomb— where Christ’s grave-shattering conquest of death ushers in a superior hope that carries us powerfully through the deepest torrents of life.
… for your progress and joy in the faith,