Do you ever find yourself trying to control and fit Jesus into your life rather than just giving it all up and letting Jesus take the lead … and really trusting? I know we hear about this topic all the time, but over the last few months I have really been grappling with it as our world is constantly going through fast-paced changes. Life seems to start calming down and then the broken world rears its ugly head again. It is then that the questions arise: Is it my kingdom or God’s kingdom? Is my perspective one of “God is fully in control” or “Wait, this was not how it was supposed to be!”
I was not supposed to write the editorial for this week. It was assigned to one of our long-term editorialists, Gus Suarez. It was supposed to be his week. In fact, a few short weeks ago, he emailed me and asked if he could send an updated photo, and said he was always so honored to write the editorial. I was looking forward to reading his article, and seeing his new photo. However, I received an email from his wife last week telling me he would not be able to write the editorial as he had passed away a few days earlier, Feb. 22. What? Is that really how it is supposed to be?
Although I had never met him personally, his emails were always so humble and kind and full of passion for serving his Lord. The last article he wrote for Baptist Press en Español was one on evangelism. It was titled, “Evangelism is not done alone.” I personally was so moved by his article that as a high school Spanish teacher, I had my students read and translate it into English. It impacted them as well.
The key components that stood out to us as a class were “Evangelism should be a way of life for us! … We need to develop deep relationships with others! … Evangelism is not something we do alone – I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Brother Suarez loved sharing about YOU! He loved people. He loved evangelism. He loved teaching. We need more people like that today! Why, Lord, would you take a person who has such an impact on people?
What is my attitude or point of view when things are going well, and then when they’re not?
- I just got a great job to be able to provide for my family. Inflation hit.
- I was finally able to get pregnant! I lost the baby.
- I just overcame that sin! I fell again.
- We are blessed with obedient children. One rebels.
- We just paid off our church! A tornado destroyed it.
- COVID is almost gone! A new variant arises.
- I finally found a good friend! I got stabbed in the back.
- I was finally able to get a new car. Someone hit it.
- We were finally able to retire. I lost my spouse shortly after.
The list can go on.
What is my perspective when the storm rises after the so-called calm? Is it continual full confidence in the truth?
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
- “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
- “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
- “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
I know what the perspective of Gus Suarez is today! He is beholding his Savior – the one who truly was with him until the end of the age! The One who wants us to continue cultivating deep relationships and evangelizing through the storms and to remember we are not alone. The One who wants us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done” at all times.
And by the way … Gus got his updated picture!