“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:26-27 (ESV)
Our church supports missionaries around the world. We call it BTW – Beyond the Walls! During the COVID19 Pandemic, many saw their assignments and their methods change overnight just like we did here in the States with our church ministry. I like what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:6-7, trials come to reveal our character and our foundation of faith. One thing that we know as Christians is that there is going to be trials. Jesus told us so. Troubles! That word alone can be frightening, but that is why Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Jesus sent us help. We do not need to freak out or be unprepared. Trials will test you joy, but they do not need to steal our joy. So the questions in this devotion are...how prepared are we for trials and what is the role of the Holy Spirit before, during and after?
We have a missionary family in Guatemala, who have been serving there for over 20 years. From the moment they arrived, God has been preparing them for what was to come. When they arrived in the country God called them to serve, the Holy Spirit came with them. The role of the Holy Spirit is to be a helper, but that is not just for troubles. No, the Holy Spirit is there to guide you every day in your decisions that will prepare you for what comes tomorrow. This family over the years has allowed the Holy Spirit to help them, lead them and prepare them. They have made disciples, developed teams, ministered to pastors and churches faithfully that had developed networks. These networks are the same systems and people who God would use when trouble came. When COVID hit Guatemala, it shut down everything. No one could leave their district or departments as they are called in Guatemala. Curfews where put in place and it limited where they could physically go to provide what pastors and communities needed. The day before they could hop in the van and make a three hour drive and deliver food, bring encouragement and be used by the Holy Spirit. Now, it is trusting that God had prepared them and their networks and systems well for a time such as this. This is where fear and worry like to move in and make a home in the heart and mind. But this is why God gives us the Holy Spirit. He prepares, but He also provides.
Our friends in Guatemala are in the midst of a lockdown. They could not go, but they had networks, people who love Jesus, love them and love the assignment that has touched their own lives. They also have churches stateside and individuals who hear the voice of the Lord. Many have reached out and asked what can be done to help. As a result, money has been sent, food has been purchased and people who could have gone hungry, even died from their hunger are now being fed. The Holy Spirit prepared and now the Holy Spirit provides. Our friends are stuck at home in their department, but the ministry is not stuck at all! They have fed hundreds of pastors, parishioners and people in communities all from their department and home. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! He is the helper!
How many times have we allowed the trouble we see dictate our joy, peace and production? Our Helper, the Holy Spirit not only prepares us, He also provides for us. He can go where we cannot. He can use the networks, the people and the systems He has led us to prepare that provides when the trouble comes. Just like the man who built his house on the rock and not the sand. I also like Psalm 127 that tells us that unless God build the house or the work, we all labor in vain. Be prepared and be blessed by the provision.
Gives God Praise!
When the trouble is done, what do you have left? Sure, it can leave us with scars. Pain, loss, and separation certainly leave their mark, but they do not need to leave the wound. As scripture says, joy does come in the morning. This is time we look back and see we were helped, and we did make it. This is where God gets the glory.
If you would have told me that the Church would take a three month break and not physically meet, I would have said there is no way it could stay strong. I admit, that is what I thought at the beginning of the trial. The trouble came, the church building closed, and I was left to depend and trust on how prepared the church was. In just a few weeks, God showed me that the Church was never closed, it was prepared for this moment and it has grown, became stronger, more focused and energetic because that is what the Holy Spirit does. Prepares, provides and give God praise!
Jesus knew we could not do this without Him. It is funny to think that we have tried. That is why He sent His Holy Spirit. He prepares us for the trials, he provides for us and those we lead through the trials and He reminds us after the trials of God’s ability to do what we cannot do and go where we cannot go. He gives God praise!
Reflect on the role of the Holy Spirit in your life today. How has He prepared you for what you have faced in this season? What have you learned, how have you grown? What has He done for you in this season? How has He provided? Write it down. Now as you think on these things, allow the Holy Spirit to show you the great love and power of your Heavenly Father. He prepares, provides and is worthy of our praise.