May 25, 2009


Hebrews 11:11-19

They were longing for a better country.
Hebrews 11:16


It is always hard to bare one’s heart in public, but today I do so knowing that we all have sorrows to bear. And we can encourage one another in Christ, knowing that “as [we] share in our sufferings, so also [we] share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:7).

While we were in language school in northern Japan, we were out driving far from home one day, and our eight-year-old daughter Elisabeth suddenly died. She had not previously shown any symptoms. Her heart just stopped. We tried CPR and called an ambulance, but by the time help arrived, it was already too late. An autopsy revealed that a rare virus had infected her heart.

Reflecting on his own work in missions, the apostle Paul said, “We do not want you to be uninformed … about the hardships we suffered … We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life… But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

In our sorrows and troubles, sometimes we feel we just can’t take anymore. But situations like these teach us to cast ourselves on God, to long “for a better country.” The words to a beautiful melody from India come to mind: “I have decided to follow Jesus—no turning back, no turning back.”

When we do not know how to pray, Holy Spirit, pray for us “with groans that words cannot express.” We ask for your comfort and peace—and courage to keep going. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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