AN UNSETTLED TIME
By Dr. David L. Robbins
We are in a season of intense warfare in India. The COVID-19 virus is
affecting 2.46 million as of August 14th with alarming community
surges. One of our partners tells us that incidents of persecution of
believers in India are up 40.87% this year in spite of the recent
four month nationwide lockdown. Restricted international and domestic
travel has been imposed indefinitely.
Indigenous leaders are reporting these compounding problems with
clarity. For example, Pastor Santosh Thomas wrote from the state of
Jammu and Kashmir on July 29: "These past four months were the most
challenging time in the history of our ministry and likewise it may
have been for you also over there....but I wanted you to assure you
that your constant prayers and generosity have not been in vain."
Pastor Raman and Pastor Danish are missionaries in North India that
AIM supports who both confirm. The God of Elijah, who fed him with
food brought by ravens each day, has provided similarly through our
relief packages already received. These testimonies cause us to weep
with joy. We are so glad we responded immediately.
Our Covid-19 relief began with a goal of $10,000. It soon grew to
$30,000 with each goal exceeded quickly. By August 11th AIM has
received $70,749 with other large gifts already coming. Our
leadership is prayerfully seeking to send $250,000 by December 31
because the need is so immense (see article "How our Partners are Faring Through
Pastor D.B. Hrudaya reports that difficult to reach areas are
responding dramatically to the love and prayer focused. "In one
part of Odisha 84 families have received Christ as Saviour." Pastor
Philemon Chhetri sent pictures from Nepal of such joy as Pastor
Habil provided 10 kilos of rice to 152 families. Sadly 78 families
had to go back to their remote villages with no rice in their hands
as the supplies ran out.
The New Testament was written in an unsettled time, as well.
Slavery was common. Oppression and false religious systems abounded.
However, the Body of Christ was established. The Church grew and
grew with the strong winds of opposition in her face. The striking
opposition to the Apostle Paul was no different.
Paul the Transparent
Second Corinthians contains a wonderful glimpse into the heart of a
man who is fully committed to serving God and others. Two incredibly
amazing lists summarize the marks of the ministry in 2 Cor. 6:4-10
and the sufferings of Christ in 11:22-29 that Paul gladly endured to
take the Gospel to the unreached. How well these lists describe the
indigenous leaders and their missionaries that we know.
I counted 28 marks of Paul in his service to Christ: “(1) in much
patience, (2) in tribulations, (3) in needs, (4) in distresses, (5)
in stripes, (6) in imprisonments, (7) in tumults, (8) in labours,
(9) in sleeplessness, (10) in fastings; (11) by purity, (12) by
knowledge, (13) by long suffering, (14) by kindness, (15) by the
Holy Spirit, (16) by sincere love, (17) by the word of truth, (18)
by the power of God, (19) by the power of righteousness on the right
hand and on the left, (20) by honor and dishonour, (21) by evil
report and good report; (22) as deceivers, and yet true; (23) as
unknown, and yet well known; (24) as dying, yet behold we live; (25)
as chastened, and yet not killed; (26) as sorrowful, yet always
rejoicing; (27) as poor, yet making many rich; (28) as having
nothing, yet possessing all things.”
Paul had the credentials, equal or beyond, of the remaining
detractors in the church of Corinth. He was a Hebrew, an Israelite,
and of the seed of Abraham.
However, these so called ‘ministers’ did not have the 23 sufferings
of Christ to recommend them that Paul did: (1) in labours more
abundant, (2) in stripes above measure, (3) in prisons more
frequently, (4) in deaths often. (5) From the Jews five times I
received forty stripes minus one. (6) Three times I was beaten with
rods; (7) once I was stoned; (8) three times I was shipwrecked; (9)
a night and a day I have been in the deep; (10) in journeys often,
(11) in perils of waters, (12) in perils of robbers, (13) in perils
of my own countrymen, (14) in perils of the Gentiles, (15) in perils
in the city, (14) in perils in the wilderness, (16) in perils in the
sea, (17) in perils among false brethren; (18) in weariness and toil,
(19) in sleeplessness often, (20) in hunger and thirst, (21) in
fastings often, (22) in cold and nakedness - besides the other
things, what comes upon me daily: (23) my deep concern for the
The COVID-19 virus, intensifying persecution and severely restricted
travel call each of us to utter humility when we consider hundreds
of millions being tested so severely.
Come and serve. Come and suffer. Give yourselves to prayers and
fastings on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays (joining together with AIM
staff), while our untouchable and outcaste family members in Christ
are being tested. Walk with us in our daily "deep concern for the
churches" in India and Asia today.
May the hand of the Lord enable us to be a blessing to them during
this unsettled time. Amen!
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updated September 23, 2020