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Short-Term Missions

Thanksgiving in the Midst of Sorrow

David Nakhla

From today's S.T.O.R.M. Report (Vol. 8, No. 11) Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob... Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate... Jeremiah 30:18-19 (ESV)

The year 2019 has come with its share of sorrows in the life and ministry of our denomination, the OPC. History might prove it to be one of the most difficult years, at least in recent decades. Multiple OPC missionary families have come home from the field for various reasons, all unplanned. The news of both expected and unexpected deaths of loved ones in our denomination have stunned us, seemingly week after week. And these are just part of the sorrow. The difficult news seems to be unending. At such times, it can be difficult to find reason for thanksgiving.

The mood might have been similar at that first Thanksgiving at the Plymouth Plantation. That celebration followed an incredibly difficult year. History recounts that about half of their small community had perished the previous year from disease and exposure, such that the Pilgrims too might have identified that year as one of the most difficult in their lives. And yet, even against this sad backdrop, they were able to rejoice in the Lord's provision of a bountiful harvest that promised survival through the next winter.

In Christ we, too, find reason for thanksgiving. While our greatest treasure is in our Lord Himself, we also have assurance that He will restore the days the locusts have eaten. We know that He is in control of all things and in Him, all things will be made new. The Lord mercifully protected our churches from the impact of disasters in 2019, such as Hurricane Dorian, tornadoes in Dallas and Dayton, and fires in California, just to name a few. Plus, there are ample testimonies to the blessings of seeing God at work from those who participated in OPC short-term missions in 2019. You might be encouraged in re-visiting these moving testimonies at OPCSTM.org/get-inspired/.

May we give thanks to the Lord for his many blessings and his continued presence in our work, even in the midst of significant sorrow this year.

Read the full S.T.O.R.M. Report.

Photo: From the photo gallery of Jonathan Walker who served as a summer short-term missionary in Uganda in 2019.

David Nakhla
OPC Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response Coordinator
Administrator, Committee on Diaconal Ministries
david.nakhla@opc.org
Primary Phone: Cell (562) 760-7606
Secondary Phone: Office (215) 935-1006

 

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