HEARTS AFLAME: DIVINE PROTECTION
Do Not Fear, For I Am With You
By BISHOP TERRY KEE
“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant”; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:8 – 13
I remember a mission trip many years ago in India. I was excited that day, as I was finally assigned to a team of OMers after spending a week of summer camp in Mumbai. The team comprises members from Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. We then embarked on a trip which took us more than 3 hours on the road, and arrived at a church on the outskirts of Pune where we would spend the night.
The following morning, after breakfast, morning devotion and a briefing, we were grouped into twos and given our assignment for the day. My partner and I were assigned to distribute Gospel tracts at the nearby market and to reach out to the locals.
As we eagerly headed out to the market with the directions provided, suddenly many questions started to flood my mind. With no knowledge of the local language nor the local community, we were entering an unfamiliar neighbourhood. What if I got separated from my partner? Although he is an Indian from West Bengal, what if he also cannot understand Marathi, the local language? Hundreds of “what ifs” created a sense of anxiety within me.
Finally, we saw the market and began handing out the tracts to whoever we met as we made our way through it. After some time, I noticed a man across the road signaling for me to go to him. So I ran towards him with excitement, and gave him a tract. That was before I began to sense that there was trouble.
The man was sitting on a metal railing with a few people standing around him. Although it was only morning, the stench of alcohol around him was strong. He threw the tract back into my face, showed me a knife tucked on his side and said in broken English, “This,” pointing to the tract, “I no like, I see you give it again, I kill you…Go!” His friends laughed. I was so frightened that I could not move. It was only when he shouted “Go!” a second time that I managed to walk back towards my partner across the road, with my knees trembling.
Seeing how shaken I was, my partner prayed for me right there by the roadside. I was not sure if I had the courage to continue with the outreach the next morning, but that night God used the reading of this Scriptural text to assure me of his protection and help: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.” (Isaiah 41:10-11)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
BISHOP TERRYU KEE is the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Singapore and served as the past president of the National Council of Churches in Singapore. He is also a member of SCGM advisory committee.
SCGM 40TH ANNIVERSARY DEVOTIONAL CAMPAIGN
40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!
Through their devotional reflections, we pray that our FRiends of SCGM40 will bless and encourage many to reflect upon God’s Presence, Protection, Provision, Purification and Power in Missions.