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Asia Church Planting Field Story Thailand

God Knew It Would Hurt

I heard from the Lord that I needed to remind her of one main fact: God knew about the sacrifice, and chose to do it anyway.

“Can I ask you some questions?” Phii asked.
“Of course!” I replied, and Phii ran into another room. I turned to her daughter and asked in broken Thai, “Where did she go?”

“Oh, she is going to get you the book,” her daughter said. I thought, What book? But I knew I probably wouldn’t understand the answer, so I waited. Then Phii burst back into the room holding a slim paperback book. She placed it on the table and smoothed it out with her hand.

“I’m sorry,” Phii said. “It’s so dirty because I read it every day.” She flipped through the worn pages, showing me picture after picture of cartoon drawings. I began to piece it together. It was a book about the life of Jesus! She had two questions for me, “How should I say Bartholomew? And Gethsemane?” With a chuckle, I pronounced the words for her in my traditional American way, and explained that these words are very difficult in English as well. I then asked if she understood the story. “Yes!” Phii exclaimed, and launched into a summary.

As we sat just three feet away from her family shrine, my non-Christian friend told me the gospel! With my limited language abilities, I didn’t know how to respond. I prayed and asked God for what to say. (He knows how bad my Thai is too.) I heard from the Lord that I needed to remind her of one main fact: God knew about the sacrifice, and chose to do it anyway.

Phii paused, thought for a moment, and then continued summarizing the story of Jesus.

At the time, I didn’t understand why God had me share that little broken sentence: “God knew it would hurt, and He did it anyway.” Now I understand more about Phii’s culture and I can see why God directed me to share that fact. Like many of the Thai people, Phii doesn’t do anything that brings “shame” to herself. A God who chooses pain and shame challenges her worldview. It shows her that somehow, this God is different.

Much of my life in Thailand is like that moment with Phii. I find myself in situations that are far above my head and the only lifeline available to me is prayer. At times I try to solve problems in my own strength, but I am quickly reminded that only God knows the path I should take each day. Even though I might not quite understand in the moment, He holds the bigger story and directs me in the way that brings Him the maximum glory.

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