The following is contributed by a B4T worker in the Middle East.
Can you imagine this scene: you’re standing in HEAVEN with Jesus. Your heart is pounding with excitement and you feel like it will explode out of your chest with joy. You’ve just been reunited with all your family and friends from church. After all the excitement, you’re enjoying some alone time in the actual physical presence of Jesus (at long last!)
And then, in the distance, coming down the sunlit path, you see HER… and her family. Wait…. is that HIM? I thought he…. your mind races to the last time you saw him. Just behind them you recognize another long-lost friend. And they’re with their children! You gasp out loud, remembering how those kids had wanted nothing to do with anything Kingdom-related. You squint- hey, isn’t that my funny old neighbour who always dropped by for tea unannounced?
In shock and amazement, you turn to Jesus. You catch him watching the on-coming crowd with a certain twinkle in his eye and a grin from ear to ear. He seems to be in on this. He chuckles, like someone who’s just pulled off a huge surprise party.
“Jesus,” you begin, “who brought them…? I knew them years ago but… I thought… I mean, I never knew… we lost touch…” your voice trails off, as the tears of joy stream down your cheeks. You realize the One standing beside you smiling from ear to ear is the One who brought them here. With a grateful heart, you fall at his feet all over again. You are Lord! You are good! You are faithful! You keep all Your promises!
This is a scene I imagine when I read,
Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’” Isaiah 49:21
I think of dear friends; some I’ve lost touch with, others I just saw last week. Most of them have not expressed faith in Christ as Savior yet, despite seeds of the Word having been planted in them.
Yet I choose to imagine, dream …and believe. I’m learning to press into verses like Isaiah 49:21 to help me when I’m discouraged.
So, I choose to believe (again!) for my local friends, that their families are the Foundational Generation of many other multiplying disciples who will follow after them.
I believe for the moms, dads and kids that have grown up with my sons for the past 27 years.
I remember past employees who read with us for years, those who dreamed dreams of Jesus, those who watched The Jesus Film. I believe that at least 10% of our office staff will become radically on-fire believers in Jesus. I’m even beginning to think that number is way too low.
Isaiah 49:21 dares me to trust that not only will I never be put to shame for believing, but I will also be blown away! In unexpected places and with multiple people, I will see that the seeds actually sprouted and grew– it’s just that this farmer never knew how (Mark 4:27). God did it.
Isaiah 49:21 calls me to get up when I’ve had a bad day and when everything seems hopeless, and stand beside Jesus, looking into the distant future. “Bring them, Lord,” I pray, “bring them.”
God can do anything — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Keep imagining. Keep trusting.