Last week, the guest preacher was a missionary from the "armpit of Africa", Equitoral Guinea. The man and his wife came and spoke about missions and the effect that they have on the people around the world and the effects that need to be had. Some of the staggering statistics he shared were:
~There are 6,900 world languages, and 2,100 still need to start to have the Bible translated into their language.
~The percentage of all missionaries who work to serve the unreached is 2.5%.
~There are more Evangelical Christians in China then there are in the United States.
That last one-that one stopped me in my tracks. I could not stop thinking about that statement, how the country best know for it's opposition to America, liberty, freedom and democracy had so many people that were fighting against the norm, the accepted, the 100 million-plus strong Buddhist juggernaut. Not how a country where labeling yourself a Christian could result in persecution, harm and even death could still have so many people willing to do that, but how I lived in one where labeling yourself a Christian did not result in that most of the time, and we had less willing to "take up the cross."
Is America the blessed nation of Christians that we think we are? Sometimes, it is easy to think or even say that God blesses the USofA, but to what extent? More than other countries? There are more people proclaiming and practicing Christianity in China-are they a blessed country or people also? God is not an American. He is also not Chinese. He exists and lives and functions outside of our walls or country lines or divisions.
On the brink of destroying the people God had set them to do, Joshua sees an Angel of the Lord, and has this conversation with him:
"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied..." Joshua 5:13-14
Neither, he says. Not on their side and not on his. God wins, ultimately. We cannot expect Him to line up to our side, and we must be willing to line up to His.