Early in our missionary work, God gave us many unbelievers as friends. We sought
them out, actually! We would go to school events, birthday parties, town festivals and
other activities just to meet people. Our being foreigners made it generally easier,
because having an American friend was somewhat popular. Whatever their motivation
was, was fine with us. Our motivation was to build relationships with people so that one
day we might share Christ, and God used our home to cultivate those relationships.
My wife is and always has been a very good listener. She also happens to be a great
counselor, but in the beginning of most of these relationships she would just listen,
sometimes for hours. Most of our ongoing relationships ended up being with women
and they would just show up sometimes, just because it was better than what was going
on in their home, and they needed a break.
Often, they would show up and sit down on our couch to talk and Brenda would get up
to offer them tea or coffee. When she would return, they would be fast asleep on the
couch. We would let them sleep and usually it could be some time before they awoke.
Slightly embarrassed, they would generally make some sort of comment about our
couch being really comfortable, but it wasn’t really the couch that was comfortable, it
was them, in our home.
In our house they saw a home filled with love. Brenda and I had an unusual love for one
another, and others that they weren’t accustomed to. Our children were kind and gentle,
our home warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere relaxing. There wasn’t stress or
tension in our home, only love and acceptance. It was an environment where they
sought refuge and found that in that they could rest. In our home they felt safe.
Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy
habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy
dwelling. Psalm 91:9–10 KJV
The Psalmist describes a similar, in fact more perfect example of finding rest when in a
place of refuge, where in that protected area, evil is restricted, and wounds will not be
inflicted. It’s where one would go in confidence so that their wounds would find time to
heal and no new ones would be tolerated. It’s where one could count on getting real rest
and true refuge. And the Psalmist again in this chapter reminds the reader that it is in
the presence of the most High God, we can find rest.
When we go to Him, we will find the rest that we all so much seek after. When we go to
Him, we will find our protection. When we make our habitation, the place we make our
“habit” to run to seek shelter, we will experience rest, not just one time, but every time.
When we make Him the place we habitually live in, we can expect a pattern, a “habit” of
rest. Maybe our inability to find rest is related to our habits of living outside His shadow,
out from under His wings all the while the Most High, God Almighty stands wings open
wide waiting for us to just make it our habit to live under His wings.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes, Jr.
President / CEO
March 13, 2023