Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romas 8:28)
WHAT SATAN HAS MEANT FOR HARM?
On my way to a store in a nearby city yesterday I drove past its central bus depot. Out in front was one of a certain national bus chain’s huge interstate rigs–the kind without windows for passengers to look out and passers-by to see in.
I wondered for a moment or two if this were one of those rigs filled with illegal immigants being allowed through our southern border with virtually no resistance, no vetting, little if any COVID checks–and sometimes no knowledge of their arrival by the local authorities in the cities to which they are transported.
But as I live all the way up here in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t give it any more thought.
On my way back home after shopping, I happened to pull up behind that very bus at a red light and noticed the Texas license plate.
Uh-huh, I thought. I bet I AM following a bus transporting illegals from the Texas border, and instantly, my heart went out to every single person on that bus.
Now, let it be noted, I am one with all citizens who are very concerned, for reasons cited above and more, over the flood of illegals permitted through our southern border since January 20th. It’s wrong, unconstitutional, and very harmful for ALL persons involved, “six ways from Sunday,” so to speak, as someone once said (but “God owns Sunday,” I would add, more on this perspective below).
Having taught many Citizenship classes for the local community college in the recent past I am also in solidarity with legal immigrants who are opposed to this policy because I know full well the reams of red tape, endless waits in their home country and in ours, the education requirements (my part), and the high costs of the process they had to go through. This goes for asylees, too, although their process differs.
And legal immigrants were definitely vetted thoroughly before arriving, even as my ancestors were.
My heart also goes out to them.
But despite the politics of it all, waiting behind that bus for the light to turn green I didn’t exeprience any anger or frustration, only a sense of urgency to pray for the passengers, especially the women and children many of whom likely have, are, or will, suffer greatly because of the human trafficking and high probability of being sexually assaulted on their trip to and through the border.
Some are exploited even after arriving here, experts in human trafficking tell us–the kind of news largely ignored, however, by many who, though they railed against every jot and tittle of possible, real, or presumed border abuse in the last administration are now curiously silent. And absent from the border.
No tears and Teddy Bears for terrified children this time, I guess…
The light changed and the bus took the I-5 North exit while I continued on.
WHAT GOD WILL USE FOR GOOD
There was a testimony at church today about a young woman coming to this country to marry a man in our congregation who finally recieve approval from her country to get a travel Visa after two many months of waiting AND four previous rejections though each of them meticulously filled out all the forms, waited the required period of time between various stages of the process, and paid all the fees.
As can happen in any country, the couple were not even sure why the documents were rejected the first times. From my knowledge it might be for any number of reasons, both historically and now, including quotas for immigrants from certain areas of the world and workforce needs along with the availability of sponsors here to help the immigrants adjust.
The man giving the testimony said he understands the frustration and anger by many in the U.S. just now over our current immigration policies, but the topic at the moment was God’s timing when it comes to answering prayers.
Sometimes, he said, it takes time to receive your answer–even when praying in faith and obeying the laws. Sometimes it just takes time.
But the point is, God answers prayer…
I was happy for him and his fiancee (last we heard of her situation, there had been an additional three months tacked on which is now eliminated), but I also had a flash of anger over the tragedy at our border.
Until, of a sudden, I came to understand that even in this seemingly lawless, hopeless mess of a world we live in today, here was another prime example of how, as the verse in the title (from Genesis 50:20) tells us: times when Satan means something for the harm of people and/or nations, God uses it for good.
It’s just that God often seems to answer prayers in ways that can seem quite mysterious–and frustrating–to us.
But while we are looking only at the troubling aspects of a circumstance (such as the timing element), He is working on the good.
In the case of legal versus illegal immigration just now that rightly concerns millions of us, tempts us to anger, and seems to only serve Satan’s biggest quest: divide, conquer, and destroy, and stir up as much mahem in the meantime as you can (“top down, bottom up, and inside out” I think is how they put it), consider:
- Given that we are the last remaining so-called first-world nation with the most freedom of speech (although political entities in the communications business are working to get rid of that as fast as they can),
- and given, as believers, we still have “work to do,” as in get the Gospel out so that
- “The fullness of the Gentiles (in our day, aka non-believers; back then, non-Jews) comes in” before
- God’s next, major prophectic event, and the fact that
- travel to and from many nations is becoming increasing restricted due to COVID,
- and although all this DOES look only evil for everybody involved here, there, and everywhere…
- from a spiritual perspective, it occurs to me that just perhaps
- GOD IS BRINGING THE HARVEST HERE, as in, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).
Granted, not everybody is coming here for the Gospel, after all, there has also been a huge uptick in the importation of drugs and other kinds of criminal activity due to the open boders which is why wielding every legal, peaceful means of stopping this tragedy is still required of all who wish to maintain a freedom-loving, lawful Republic.
But there are still millions around the world who will come into the Kingdom of God by coming here where we can still preach it.
And think about it: since many of the illegal immigrants are rushing over here from nations where even having a Bible app on your phone will get you in prison, or worse, how will missionaries ever get the Gospel over there?
God is never without HIS ways and means, however.
Witness the testimony from church. Although it is not known why previous interviews to obtain the fiancee’s Visa involved a long question and answer period going over the same information and documents–and much prayer– the final, successful interview lasted only one minute.
Witness, too, the fact that there will be perhaps millions among those who have come–one way or another–to what looks like the last bastion of free religious speech anywhere, the U.S., from places where they would be least likely to hear the Word of God. And hearing God’s Word is an important part of the salvation process because, as Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Thus, it could well be that despite the lawlessness permitted at our southern border (evil working its chaos and calamity), for many who get in it could end up being the means to a much different, eternal, refuge, perhaps even one they never expected until, maybe one day, they tuned in to a Christian radion station still permitted to broadcast in America–or a television show, or YouTube sermon not yet scrubbed–where they heard, for the first time, the answers to the questions embedded deep in their hearts about ultimate meanings, which we all have–wickedness and censorship in high places notwithstanding.
Because “God’s airwaves,” so to speak, are not traceable by even the most sophisticated broadcast mechanisms man can design. Consider this comparison:
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)
God will never be censored by anything our real enemy can do through his accomplices on earth because it is His will for “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
And the truth is in His Word.
To the bigger, eternal significance, perhaps what is happening at our border and in the lives of many permitted through it, is evidence of God “bringing those from other parts of the world to harvest” here, where there are still workers not yet forbidden to continue the “great commission” work we are assigned, but a very different kind of harvest “field”. A moveable one…
It could be His way of answering their prayers, too.