This past Thursday found me in Veles once again. I was sitting in the taxi with three of the women from the church here, my dear friends, my sisters.
We were winding our way up the narrow, brick covered streets on the side of the mountain, so typical of Balkan towns. In a sudden flash I was taken out of that moment and in my mind saw a picture of a larger expanse of time, reaching back into the past, stretching into the future.
Looking back in time I saw the years of war, the devastation, the suffering, all the places satan has wrought havoc. Walking these streets, sitting in these homes, talking to my friends, I can see the affects of it in their daily lives. The broken relationships, the economic disaster, the suffering that war brings.
Then I saw the hand of our loving Father, how through it all He never left. He has been pursuing all this time, planning for how He will bring healing, planning to draw His children to Himself. I saw how He invaded the lives of the people who are now my brothers and sisters here. He chased them with His love, overtook them, and now they are His.
And then I saw how I got placed right in the middle of this whole story, something I consider to be a great honor and privilege. I get to share what Jesus has done in my life, and watch Him do the same for them. I help show the way to plug into Jesus as their source of life. I pour into them out of what God has poured into me, I tell them about who they are. We push each other to build a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father so we can walk more fully in the inheritance that has been given to us.
Looking at the bigger picture I see how little by little the transformation has been coming. From a place of slavery, they have begun to find their position as daughter's of the king, princesses. This has led to a realization of the authority they possess, which has caused them to begin changing the circumstances they are in as they start to exercise that authority. Fear has collided with perfect love and thus turned to faith. Provision and healing came as fruit. The pain of past hurts has been met with redemption. God is gently putting his finger on areas of bondage, bringing freedom. Sorrow and discouragement has been replaced with hope and joy. The expressions on their faces are different now than they were a year ago. They are beginning to stand up and take the position that they were given, to be leaders who affect the lives of the people around them in a way that brings life. Together we have faced cancer, financial difficulties, relational problems, lyme disease, and many other major life issues. And all of these things have had to bow to the name of Jesus. Darkness has met the light, and the darkness has had no choice but to flee. And I am confident this is just the beginning. I begin to realize there is no limit to what can be accomplished when I believe God to do the impossible.
I looked forward and I saw where this will all lead. These women will be, and already are, wives of the leaders of the growing church in this country. What they learn and start living now, they will go and spread to everyone who they meet. And thus I saw it spreading throughout the whole country of Macedonia, throughout the rest of the Balkan region and into the whole world. In the end, I saw the kingdom of God advancing like an unquenchable fire, restoring the brokenness of generations of devastation, bringing new life and hope. I saw Jesus riding forth like a warrior dressed for battle, not content to see his bride continue living in bondage, and there is no stopping Him. And so I prepare my heart to receive more of His love, and to continue being a part of what He is doing. Nothing compares to the beauty of it.