When is it going to change?

That is the question I hear most often about Cuba. Is change happening? As I traveled there again last month, I began thinking on this question; why are we so interested in change? And a kind of realization settled over me—perhaps we focus on the hope of external changes in things like the economy and politics because, really, so many of us are asking God the same question about situations in our own personal lives; “when will I see the change I long for in my own life?” Even the Psalmist cries out, “How long, oh Lord?” (Psalm 13:1)

This is the Christmas Season, and one of our most cherished passages of Scripture at this time of year is from Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6,

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

But at the time that Israel received this prophecy, times were very difficult, to put it mildly. God’s people were oppressed on all sides and, what made it worse, they were putting their trust in human solutions—their own strength and treaties with their neighbors—instead of trusting in God. Doesn’t that sound familiar, isn’t that very much, at times, like our own personal reality?

God wants us to come to Him for the Counsel and guidance we need; to let our Mighty God fight the battles we cannot win; to embrace our true Father, the only one who will never leave or abandon us; and to exchange the chaos and strife of this life for His Peace. Those names of our God truly are marvelous, meaningful and powerful—only God can change what must be changed in every heart.

I am happy to report that in Puebla and Chiapas, Mexico, and throughout Cuba lives are being changed every day! Every time a child, a young person, a man or woman surrenders completely to the Lord Jesus Christ, magnificent change happens. No earthbound, momentary change in our circumstances can bring the kind of joy we get to see and experience on each trip to Cuba and Mexico when people embrace Jesus and trust Him without reservation. There really are no adequate words to describe how privileged I feel to work together with you in this expression of God’s missionary heart we know as Gospel Relief Missions. On behalf of my family and our Trustees, please accept our heartfelt appreciation for your prayer support and financial gifts this year. May you be blessed in every area of your life in the New Year 2013!

Merry Christmas!

John Northrup