Although I am an unworthy servant, the Lord has graciously given me a ministry that since the year 2000 has taken me to some of the spiritually darkest nations on the face of the earth. Last August I led a team of 16 believers to Egypt where with Campus Crusade we held the largest evangelistic Campaign in its history. The following November, with World Vision, I held the very first mass evangelistic Campaign in the history of Niger, West Africa, where over 99% of the population is Musl__m. In these Campaigns, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the poor hear the good news. Amazingly large numbers of Musl__ms have come to Christ.
The fruit of this ministry has given me much reason to rejoice, especially in the meetings when we witness God’s miraculous power to heal and deliver. However, Scripture tells us….
Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. …9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” …20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Excessive rejoicing in earthly accomplishments and giftings, even ministry giftings, is a prelude to pride and idolatry. A preoccupation with miracles and the attention that they can draw from people can gradually lead to pride and the “worship” of miracles instead of the One who does the miracles. To avoid this pitfall, Jesus reminds us to rejoice that our “names are written in heaven.” It is our salvation through our relationship with Jesus that should be our primary focus. Nothing can bring us experiential peace in this life except for peace with God through a living relationship with His Son.
Although a believer does indeed have continual peace with God through Jesus Christ, I have found that my most delicious moments of peace are when I am alone with Him. Different believers have different venues for this; mine are experienced at night walking along the deserted bayous of my community in Houston, Texas. As I gaze upward at the nighttime sky or at a stark, leafless tree outlined in front of me against the horizon, my heart overflows with adoration to the Lord. He’s the Creator of all this, He made me, and He’s given me the pure pleasure of enjoying His creation and Him at such times.
Yes, we are busy with the activities God has given us to do. And there are times when we are blessed enough to enjoy our accomplishments. Yes, God has indeed given a measure of authority to every witness of Christ to heal the sick. These miraculous healings are for the purpose of confirming the gospel to watching and listening unbelievers. Yes, glorious miracles can and do take place through ordinary believers as they preach the gospel (Mark 16:15-20). Souls will be saved!
But we know all these things will eventually pass away when we have completed our time on earth. The only thing we can take with us to the next life will be our relationship with Jesus Christ. Spending time alone with Him here on earth is going into the eye of the storm where we find such sweet peace. But it also builds the foundation for us to inherit the life that is truly life!