The sun rose steadily through the early morning mist. Dawn came as it always does, bringing with it the anticipation of our day's journey. We eagerly packed up our belongings in preparation for our drive to another location in Asia. The sounds, the smells, and the beauty of this land encouraged me as we looked forward to the next three days of scheduled activities. Our plans were made. Our goals were established. However, less than an hour before our departure, I received a text from the States. With one single announcement, life was about to take a radical turn. Within four hours, all our appointments had been cancelled, and we found ourselves on a plane, equipped with face masks and hand sanitizer, headed back to our home in Michigan. I sat there quietly. What had just happened? Where were our other missionaries? We were about to enter a "providential pause" in our ministry.
God often redirects His servants. Periodically, life pauses for reasons we don't fully understand. The sons of Korah wrote Psalm 46 during a time of war, conflict, turmoil, or catastrophe. Although we don’t know the circumstantial details, the writers address a global audience. They call out to both believers and the nations. They describe God as our refuge, strength, and help. They explain that He is our fortress, mighty and impenetrable high tower, and very present help in time of trouble. They assert that He is the Most High God, the Lord of Hosts, and the God of Jacob. Then, they call on the nations to cease striving after other gods and to turn their turbulent affections to the one and only true God. Trust in Him. Stop pursuing empty cisterns that can hold no water.
Be still, and know that I am God.
In God's sovereignty, COVID-19 suddenly caused many of us at BI to terminate our international trips and required some of our missionaries to return to the States for an indefinite period of time. Within one week, we witnessed travel bans, closed borders, cancelled flights, medical screenings, changed plans, self-quarantines, travel restrictions, chaotic airports, and a global pandemic that has swept across every major continent on the planet. Since then, we have experienced "stay at home" orders and the temporary closing of our BI office, which continued for almost 3 months, followed by protests, riots, violence, political upheavals, venomous accusations, and suicides. And yet the voice of the Most High assures us when He declares, "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10b). This "providential pause" does not lack purpose. It calls us to look up and behold.
In Psalm 46:6, we read that the nations rage, but God utters His voice and the earth melts. Nations are raging during this global pandemic today. Their deafening voices threaten to overwhelm and extinguish all hope. But it remains God's voice through His Word that they desperately need to hear. This is the motive for our ministry at Bibles International. We are continually gripped by this passion that causes us to tenaciously and unapologetically labor so God's voice can be heard in every tongue.
The world needs the Scriptures now more than ever before. The nations are raging. The time is short. The work is eternal. The vision is clear. The church is called to carry out the Great Commission. The tool needed to carry out this global task is the Word of God. Yes, we have had a "providential pause." Why? That we might be still and know that He is God.