I specifically remember times as a teen when I would watch the setting sun and hope to return the world to God. That was quite a dream for an insignificant country boy on small mountain top farm. Though I dreamed, I had no clue as to how big the world is, how complex cultures are, or how many people have no interest in God.

Perhaps that was a significant motivation when Joyce agreed that we should move our young family to West Africa. The naive country boy learned enormous lessons in West Africa, lessons he fervently prayed God would never let him forget.

I learned how big the world is. I learned how powerfully people are defined by their cultures. I learned how complex we all are. I learned the meaning of faith in Christ. I was introduced to the relationship between patience and faith. I was made aware of the deep, incredible link between having faith in God and having the desire to repent. I learned that we can use religious motivations and agendas for many different objectives. I learned how much of America's culture and social values are incorporated in the American Christians' concepts of God's will and faithfulness.

I was greatly humbled by another understanding. God's intent was never to Americanize the world. God's intent was (is) to offer the world salvation in Jesus Christ.

No human can change the world. That power resides only in God, and He offers that change through Christ. Only in Christ resides the power for change.

Each generation accepts or rejects God's offer. Each parent learns that truth! Frequently we are reminded not even our own children may accept Christian values and concepts!

In each age our power is to model the value and privilege of God's molding. We knowledgeably share our faith in Christ. We prayerfully hope our children, friends, and world see in us the value and privilege of serving God. We earnestly, genuinely hope our children, friends, and world will see the reality of eternity. Yet, we grieve realizing many refuse to see the reality of eternity. These prefer "now" to "then."

If in Jesus' world many were not impressed with him, why should all in this world be impressed with him? Pessimism? No! Acceptance! Those rejecting repentance never recognize God. The greatest tragedy: many who could see God, respond to Jesus, and repent, either (a) never hear or (b) are blinded by Christians with good intentions but little faith.

Hebrews 11:13,14 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 31 August 2003

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