Moving forward with God’s help!
“This was the first time that I could travel into this part of the province of North Kivu,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider wrote. And that is saying something, because for many years he travelled throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo as District Apostle.
The North Kivu region has been ravaged by war for more than twenty years. Several hundred thousand people have had to leave their villages with all their belongings. Nevertheless, when the Chief Apostle visited Bihambwe on Saturday, 2 July 2022, more than 2,600 believers had come together on a meadow. Some of them had walked forty kilometres to reach the small town situated about 80 kilometres from the northern shore of Lake Kivu. “This will be an unforgettable day for all the participants.”
Where is your God?
The Bible text the Chief Apostle chose as basis for his sermon conveyed a very powerful message: “Why should the Gentiles say, ‘So where is their God?’ But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115: 2–3). Chief Apostle Schneider concluded from this: “God wants our salvation. Jesus Christ gave His life for us. The Spirit prepares us for His return. God gives us the strength to overcome our difficulties. Let us remain faithful to Him no matter what.” He went on to explain this in detail in his sermon.
The psalmist stresses the difference between the God of Israel and the idols worshipped by neighbouring nations. Although the eternal God is indeed invisible, He lives and is almighty, whereas idols are only images made by human beings. People today are often confronted with the question of where God is. First, because “we cannot see God. He appeared to humankind in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. But since His ascension, Jesus Christ is no longer visible to humankind.”
And secondly, because the evil one makes a point of showing us, in one form or another, that
- God does not perform spectacular miracles;
- He seems to be on the side of the non-believers, who are more successful than the believers;
- He has not answered some of our prayers;
- His Son still has not returned.
He is here!
This seems like dilemma facing believing Christians today, but “let us not be thrown off by these questions. The Holy Spirit provides us with the right answers,” the Chief Apostle assured. He teaches us that God is in heaven. His thoughts and actions are beyond human understanding.
- “God does what He wants.” He created human beings to live in perfect fellowship with Him and one another.
- He will create a new earth where human beings can once again live in fellowship with Him and with one another.
- The Holy Spirit reminds us of the sufferings that the Son of God endured on this earth. He can understand those who experience adversity because He shared their lot: “If we feel scorned or ignored, the Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus proved His love to us by being willing to die for us.”
Stephen, an example
Jesus Christ has always felt for and been with the weak and the rejected. In his sermon, the Chief Apostle referred to Deacon Stephen and said that God’s help did not involve delivering him from his enemies, but giving him the strength to remain faithful to the end. God is present among us in the divine service and in our hearts. “We are determined that this will remain so, no matter what!”