"For the sprinter, the thrill is going fast, but for the distance runner, the thrill is the journey in-between the start and the finish line." This quote from an anonymous cross-country runner describes the discipline of running on an open-air course over natural terrain. The ability to gauge an ever-changing speed effort on ever-changing terrain proves one of the greatest challenges of cross-country racing. Runners describe the effort as "building endurance, keeping momentum, planning for speed and stride changes, disciplining oneself to not quit in the midst of pain, and struggling through horrendous conditions."
The diverse terrain might involve knee-high mud, torrential rain, snowy plateaus, and unstable gravel. The myriad obstacles may include sharp turns, logs, creeks, narrow bridges, steep hills, and unexpected slippery slopes. This bone-crushing discipline can be described in one word — endurance. Endurance, the ability to sustain agonizing stress, hardship, sport, or any activity for a prolonged period, implies a long-term journey filled with unexpected challenges. Capable of producing patience, strength, and stamina, endurance also cultivates humility, maturity, character, and unhindered tenacity within the one who endures. God tested the hearts of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament by allowing them to endure the unexpected challenges, training, and ever-changing conditions of their 40-year journey in the wilderness.
In the first four chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the Israelites of everything they endured during their cross-country journey. Notably, in chapter two, Moses recalls that along their journey from Kadesh to Moab, God instructed His people to pass by Mount Seir, where their brethren, the Edomites, dwelled, but to leave them in peace. Then He stated in 2:7, "For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand; he knoweth thy walking [trudging] through this great wilderness. These forty years, the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing." The key to their journey relied not on Israel’s endurance but on God’s faithfulness.
God's faithfulness led the nation for 40 years. They witnessed firsthand how His presence, power, protection, and promises sustained them during their prolonged journey in the wilderness. They underwent testing and humbling in order to see God's goodness (Deut. 8:2, 16); but their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell (Neh. 9:21); and their eyes saw great wonders from the hand of the One who led them all that way (Deut. 29:3-5).
This year, 2021, Bibles International celebrates its 40th Anniversary. We rejoice with the same testimony…
These forty years, the LORD our God has blessed us in all the works of our hands.
He has been with us. We have lacked nothing.
We give glory to God, who has led us these forty years on this incredible journey. He has sustained us through challenging terrain, unexpected obstacles, and ever-changing circumstances while testing our faith and endurance all along the way. He has graciously provided for all our needs, so that we have lacked nothing. He has answered prayers. Believers who waited and prayed for years have received translated New Testaments, Bibles, and Scripture portions in their heart language. Our people worldwide have endured political upheavals, financial challenges, loss of personnel, religious persecution, jihad conflicts, various dangers, agricultural destructions, and a global pandemic. Yet the LORD God has sustained our people so that His work would continue. Quitting has never been an option, and the call from the Lord of the Harvest has remained clear. God has been faithful these 40 years! Rejoice and celebrate with us in 2021 as we highlight this journey, for we have lacked nothing.