This is an article from the January-February 2017 issue: Nomads: The Challenge of Reaching People on the Move

Unknowns Create Opportunities

Unknowns Create Opportunities

As Westerners, we like to be safe, secure and stable—the things that provide a foundation to our lives. This includes things like job stability and how to provide for our families and our future.

There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. It seems sensible to us, given how our developed countries operate. The shock comes when we are exposed to those from very different places, who have no sense of where the next meal may come from. It can be shocking to realize how blessed we are and how often we take for granted what we have and how we lead our lives.

It is understandable that major changes in our U.S. political situation will create unknowns. While politics are downstream from culture, as Chuck Colson said, we realize that because of the election of Donald Trump, many people—here and around the world—wonder what changes that will bring. No matter what your opinion about him, it is clear to most people here, that if the election had gone the other way things would not have changed much from the direction they were headed under President Obama.

But what I hope we realize—and act on—is that this brings a tremendous opportunity to us. Uncertainty should drive us to God as should peace. But I fear that many Christians (especially Trump supporters) are sensing some level of relief, which can lead us back to complacency. We must be ready to listen to the concerns of those around us and love those who feel the unknowns the most.

I realize that I’m writing this just a week after the election here. I happened to be in Hong Kong when the results came in. I missed much of the reaction to the unexpected results on TV in the U.S., but saw things from the perspective of those “looking in on” our election, wondering what might happen and how it might affect them.

So what should we actually do? Here are a few ideas:

  • We should pray earnestly for opportunities for the gospel. Paul said it best when describing his situation in 1 Cor. 16:9 “because a door of great opportunity stands wide open for me, but there are many opponents.” Just after that in v. 13-14, “Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. Everything you do should be done in love.” He doesn’t specifically ask for prayer there, but I believe he intended it to fuel the prayers for the Corinthians.
  • We should pray for those in authority over us. As Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 2:1-4, “First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” We should do this for the leaders in place wherever we live as well as for leaders of other political nations.
  • It is right for us to stand up against any wrong words or attitudes that either side expressed. We must not hold back on criticizing someone even if they were “our candidate.” Believers should not be hiding behind our “positions” on something to the point that we ignore their flaws, sin and error. I won’t make a list here, since it is so publicized on both sides.
  • Talk with people. It should be obvious, yet I realize this is easier for extraverts than introverts. I’ve found several recent conversations with strangers to easily turn into opportunities for sharing Jesus and faith issues. Many people are open to it. If someone is not, just move on. Don’t let the fear of being rejected keep you from helping people overcome their fears of the events of our times. If we do, we are missing out on the opportunities God has placed before us.

Why not add your suggestions and ideas in the comments section of this article on the website.

*The NET Bible was used for all Bible passages quoted in this article.


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