“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2)
In 2006 I went with my pastor friends Jorge and Sabina and 3 young men from their church in Lima and a youth pastor from Iquitos to visit some village churches along a little river. In Bretaña, there were 3 churches, so our group split up to minister in each one. I went with Sabina and Michael, the youth pastor, to one, and we each had something to share, one building on the other. From this experience, Sabina likes to call to mind something I said, based on these passages - that our response should be, "Gloria a Dios, estoy en pruebas!" - Glory to God, I'm in the midst of triasl! It's something that brings me a little smile now and then in the midst of my own. Or those that I share with loved ones.
At present, Levi is facing a major battle. I think it was precipitated by the mother of his younger daughter finding out that he is engaged to a gringa, and that she must think that he has access to a lot of money. HA! So she had this complaint lodged against him, akin to a summons, which was delayed in reaching him, because it wasn't delivered directly into his hands. NOT HIS FAULT that he knew nothing about it until the time had elapsed for him to show up - thus causing him to be penalized. Add to that she's making all kinds of false accusations against him for which she wants money for "psychological damages", as well as an unreasonable portion of his meager pay ( and at present he is unemployed) supposedly to support her daughter but actually to live high off the hog. Perhaps she figures I can and will do anything to rescue him, including paying off her demands. But as I told Levi yesterday when I called him and he was telling me all these things, my hands are tied. And so, if the judge can't see through the woman's avaricious lies, Levi may have to go to jail for some 3 years. And of course, this may very well affect the possibility of his ever getting ANY kind of visa to the US.
So...Naturally I've been praying. And throughout this situation, I see God's goodness.
Levi was experiencing a horrid headache when I called yesterday, and at his request I prayed for him. I think the stress is elevating his blood pressure. He may end up having a massive stroke, even a heart attack. He may die. But if he does - he goes to heaven. So - not a bad ending.
His elderly parents are frail - this is stressing them too. But for them, also, heaven awaits.
If Levi survives all this and goes to jail - Joseph son of Jacob was also wrongly accused. In fact, God could have rescued Joseph from the cistern when his jealous brothers threw him in - his brother Reuben had that in mind. But God let him be sold into slavery. God could have rescued Joseph from prison - Potiphar's wife's false accusations landed him there (which in itself is God's grace, because by rights the man could have had Joseph put to death.) But no - there he was. And we are blessed to have the account of the happy ending that came to him, because God was in control.
And I believe this is true for Levi. He has the gift of evangelism. Who knows but that the Lord wants to use him to reach the lost. Even if not, there is always something we can learn from any experience, and something God can utilize in our testimony. Because we are His, we can count on ALL things working to our good (Romans 8:28).
Levi has told me on a couple of occasions, "I can learn a lot from you" - from my experience as a missionary, from my years of being with the Lord. But I believe I have something else to show him which he has not experienced - the faithful love of a committed spouse, who won't cut and run just because things aren't going the way I want them to. I'm not going to say, "Oh, well, this is too much, I didn't bargain for THIS." By the grace of God I stayed with my first husband till he went to his heavenly Home. I am also committed to Levi. For better or worse.
So...I'll probably have hip surgery this summer. If in God's mercy Levi escapes the snare of this fowler, we'll try to bring him up here this year. If things go another way, I hope to return to Peru next year, to minister in churches I've visited before, perhaps some new ones - but also to visit HIM and the family in Pucallpa, and to encourage him. And who knows, if he's got his documents, and I go prepared with an apostille as well as a hot-off-the-press birth certificate and such for MY part, signed, sealed, stamped, ribboned, glittered by the embassy and Peruvian bureaucrats, and if they allow marriages in jail, we can do that too. God knows. And I can trust Him. Because God is good.
I think this is going to be my theme song for a while.