by Jen Haddox, ECO Director of Global Engagement
After being invited to share my testimony at a women’s conference in Southeast Asia, I sat and listened as various women from the nearby hill tribes shared their stories of how they came to faith in Christ. One by one, they told how a Christian evangelist came to their village for the first time, proclaiming God’s love and power with the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Each testimony had unique contours, but all of them had similar themes. Each woman heard the Good News of Jesus through a person who had quite literally traveled over the mountains to bring a message of salvation. Each woman shared about how the Gospel’s power was made real to them through signs of healing or reconciliation in their families. Lives were saved. Marriages were transformed. Families were healed. Peace and salvation came with the Gospel.
Then each woman shared the pain of persecution that followed. Husbands jailed and fired from their jobs. Children forced to beg. Families excluded from the communal work in the fields and the shared harvest that follows. Threats, homelessness and even beatings. As I listened to one testimony after another, I was overwhelmed by the expression of peace and even joy on the women’s faces while they spoke. Finally, I interrupted and asked one of them, “How can you smile as you share the story of your suffering?”
I watched and listened intently for the translation and will never forget her response: “Because Jesus is so much better than all we had before. For Jesus, it’s worth losing everything.”
In this season of Advent, may we receive the gift of peace that comes in the person of Jesus Christ. Despite conflict or turmoil in our communities, our relationships or our hearts, we can receive this peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Receive this gift of Jesus, and be at peace.
Follow along with our daily devotional series for the Advent season.