Coming Out of Hiding
By: Naomi Jackson
Imagine scurrying through the garden of Eden in desperate search of a hiding place just after eating the forbidden fruit. What would you have noticed as your perfect home showed the first signs of deterioration? Perhaps the sensation of discomfort as you squint at the sun's rays. Or maybe trying to wrap your mind around how the petals of a daisy could fall to the ground in decay.
Death may be a part of life on this earth, but it is far from normal. Due to the sin problem and out of His matchless love for us, God saw it fit that "one Man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish" (John 11:50). Every corner of the cosmos has been affected by that fateful decision of the first Adam and that faithful determination of the second Adam.
Jesus came to remind us that we should never grow accustomed to sin and suffering, though it has become commonplace. His death and resurrection have made it possible for us to come out of hiding and look forward to our home "far beyond the sun." All heaven emptied itself so that we could experience Eden restored, but we only have so much time left. "Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2b). Today is the day to choose life.
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
When I was an adolescent, God instilled in me the desire to do something great for His kingdom while reading through the writings of Ellen White. By the time I entered university, I was most interested in studying bacteriology. However, the Lord’s providence shifted my focus to education.
After many failed attempts at working with various organizations, my husband and I were led to establish a school in Soacha, Colombia, in 1998—Liceo Maranata. The aim was to provide children with a chance to learn about Jesus in a world headed in the opposite direction. Throughout my high school and university careers, atheism was constantly promoted. I wanted Colombian children to know the God of heaven and earth.
Over the years we have had many reasons to rejoice, especially when our graduates become useful members of society. But we recently experienced our most difficult trial.
Ximena Alarcon was a first grader when she came to Liceo Maranata six years ago. With the passing of the years came a new challenge: her parents’ separation. Her little heart had been wrestling with a number of emotions at the time our school held an evangelistic campaign. When the speaker invited the children to accept Jesus as their Savior, Ximena and many other children were moved to answer Jesus’ call.
In spite of the difficult times Ximena encountered in her family life, the Holy Spirit worked on her heart. Within the next two weeks, she was noticeably friendlier with a milder disposition. She asked her classmate Oscar for forgiveness and reconciled with her friend Esteban. God was clearly changing her young life.
A few days later Ximena was roller-skating down the street to pay her cousin a visit when she was violently hit by a speeding vehicle. In an instant she was gone. Witnesses were shocked at the severity of the accident. The story made the news, and social media was abuzz with a campaign to protect and preserve the lives of children. Even the name of our school made it into the newspapers.
We were continually reminded of the painful blow our entire student body had experienced. But it was especially heartbreaking for Ximena’s brother—a university student who had made attempts at suicide. Two days after her death, he attended her burial, where 300 people had gathered. He testified that Jesus had presented Himself in two dreams, sharing that Ximena would be among the saved at the resurrection and that it was necessary for him to be prepared to meet her. The young man publically accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and expressed his solemn decision to be reunited with Ximena on that day.
When I was a girl I never dreamt God would ask me to run a school. Today 450 students receive primary and secondary education, of which 60 percent are not Seventh-day Adventists. But seeds are being planted in their hearts. Whether in times of joy or grief, my hope is that these same children will lead others into God’s kingdom, where sorrow will be a thing of the past.is the director of Liceo Maranata, an OCI member ministry in Colombia. To learn more, click here to go to the OCI website.
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