Here is a great story from Rob Duncanson, who is currently in East Timor, on the work that God is doing among the church.
For our devotions before our meeting this morning we read 1 Timothy 2.
“First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Does God answer such prayers?
In Australia, we take a “quiet and peaceful life” for granted, but that was not the case in Paul’s world, and it is not always the case in the world of Timor Leste either.
In April 2009, Robert Benn, Gary Ware and I (Rob Duncanson) visited the very poor town of Besusu on the south coast of Timor Leste.
Before Christmas 2008, the Christians of Besusu had planned to hold their first service. Some of the local people resented their presence and threw rocks at the people and tore down the tent that they had erected for themselves to meet in. They told the Christians that they were not welcome in that district and that they would chase them away if they tried to meet together. In a very tense situation, the church decided that they would not act rashly, but would meet to pray quietly that God would provide for them. A few days later an elder from Same (a near-by town) went to visit the chief man of the district with a copy of the Timor Leste Constitution tucked under his arm. He explained that the Constitution allows freedom of religion in TL.
We arrived just a few months later when things were still very uncertain.
At Betano (maybe 30km away) we gathered together a small convoy to travel to Besusu. There were around 70 young people on a truck who sang songs all the way. We had a fleet of more than 20 motorbikes to escort us, and at the very front was a United Nations vehicle leading the way with its emergency lights flashing.
We arrived to a most unexpected surprise. There, in the gathering of the local people, was the leader of the local district! He spoke to the gathering, assuring us that the district council was very happy to have a Presbyterian Church in the area, and that they were welcome to send people into the schools to teach the children about Christianity.
How could a man in such an influential position back down so completely? Why would he change his mind?
“Pray … for all in high positions … that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Perhaps a better question would be to ask; If God tells us to pray this prayer, and He tells us the reason why we should pray it, “Why would we be surprised if we received such a wonderful outcome?
Of course not all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world will ever live on this earth with quiet and peaceful lives, and some of them will give up their lives or suffer deep grief over the loss of their loved ones due to the fact that they determinedly follow Jesus. Jesus promised us persecutions.
BUT, does a district chief control the circumstances of our lives? Does a President or any other form of human government or power? Of course not. It is God Himself who is the King of all things in heaven and on earth. He is the One who will bring quietness and peace, godliness and dignity. If our experience is not of these things externally because we live in a world racked by chaos, then He is the one who will give us the strength to persevere. His grace will be sufficient. He will in due course lead us on to our heavenly Home where these blessings are wall to wall and unassailable.
Maromak sempre ajuda ita. (God always helps us)