Can We Trust God?

Over the last few months as friends and family members have offered their condolences on the loss of my mom, a number have quoted the Scripture verse from Job 1:21 – which is the well-known response of Job on hearing the terrible news that his servants, his children, his wealth had all been destroyed. This is what Job’s response was:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The Lord gave and Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

This completely unsettled me as it conjured up a picture of a God who played games with people lives and this was not the picture of God we spend our lives sharing about throughout Micah Network. For example, when I read Jesus’ words spoken in John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Coupled to this, we read in Hebrews 1:3 that “Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word...” 

Seeing the character of God through the life and testimony of Jesus challenges the way we have been using this quote from Job and demands we re-read Job in the light this knowledge.

In Micah we always insist that theology and practice belong together and that the whole of the Bible needs to be re-read using the lens that our God is a missionary God, whose heart and mission is to redeem his world. The framework we use as we come to study God’s Word is that:

1. We need to re-read Scripture through the eyes and knowledge that Jesus is the exact representation of God. This shows us that God is a God of love, willing to sacrifice himself for us to take away our pain and suffering. Christ’s life and his death on the cross are what we test Scripture with.

2. We need to always contextualise the passage we read and try and understand what was happening at both the big picture level and the detailed events level.

3. We need to read Scripture in the light of what it says throughout its pages and look for consistency. It is amazing how we normally find a summary or conclusion of what lessons are being highlighted at the end of each section.

4. We need to recognise the various genres that the passages are written in and look for analogies in both the Old and New Testaments and see how we can apply this to our own contexts.

Taking this framework to re-look at Job 1:21 – we see a very different understanding arising.

The style and prose suggests Job is a sort of poetic styled parable. This means that before we get down to the details of verses we need to understand the main point of story. Why was this story being told, and what was the bigger picture meaning behind it? For me the bigger picture of Job is an insight into the spiritual battle that is going on all around our world; how we respond to it theologically and practically; how we engage with God in and through the crisis and what we believe about him.

Satan is using bad theological reasoning – he says believers will naturally praise and worship God because he protects them and gives them everything they want. He implies that we are not really free to choose God because God coerces us into following him. Satan is challenging the very nature of God, the purpose of His creation and His redemptive mission. God’s response is important. God is not the one who destroys or takes away – it is Satan. God simply states that Satan is wrong in his accusations, and indicates that Satan has also freedom to do what he chooses. Satan is the one who then goes and tests and destroys.

The responses we read from Job and his friends are on how they begin to theologically and practically deal with the events. We know from the conclusion that Job also had to repent for his poor theological reasoning, but he is commended because he never loses faith in God. Job’s friends  are reprimanded because their guidance and poor theological defence was wrong and actually supported Satan’s theory of cause and effect.

If you want to explore this further, Greg Boyd has done a session on this and you can listen to the teaching here.

Reflecting on all of this I come to the conclusion that when we go through suffering, when we see others go through suffering, we cannot always know the reasons behind it all. We know that there is a spiritual battle going on around us. We need to hold on and deeply immerse ourselves in the truth about who God is as seen in Jesus, that he comes to seek and save and longs for all of us to have life in all its fullness. We need to therefore hold true to God and be wise and loving friends to one another and to all who are going through pain and suffering. We need to - with all our energy, capacity and in a united effort - respond to the disasters our world is going through; knowing that the author of these disasters is not Jesus.

As we pray together this month, may we speak truth and love to one another. May we join in our united intercession against the devastation Ebola has brought, the destruction that the Syria and Iraq crisis is bringing and the loss other crises we know of bring -  trusting that Jesus came to bring life. This is our aim too in our work.

Sheryl Haw
International Director, Micah Network

The Urgency of Obedience

“The Urgency of Obedience” is the theme for the Wycliffe World Day of Prayer 2014 observed on November 11. “In our relationship with God, loving Him and obeying Him are practically the same…Intimacy with God, however, does not preclude His desire for us to be conformed to His will. He delights in our obedience as well.”

On November 11, 1933, Wycliffe founders, Cameron Townsend and L.L. Legters, received permission to cross the border from the U.S. into Mexico because God answered the prayers of hundreds of people who believed that God’s Word should be available to people in their own languages. It was a major step forward for Bible translation and also the beginning of what eventually became Wycliffe.

Wycliffe staff, partners in Bible translation movements, and churches around the world observe this day as a time to pray for the work of Bible translation around the world. Stop and take a moment on this day to pray for the people who are still waiting to know that God understands them and speaks their language.

Bible translation declaration: Indonesia

Five key Indonesian church leaders recently created a declaration for Indonesian churches and Bible ministry organizations: to translate and use local language Bibles and scripture portions, to use various forms of media in local languages, and to train and educate believers starting at an early age in moral values using appropriate creative and innovative techniques. They agreed to work together in synergistic partnerships between churches and organizations to support mission programs on the field that use local funding sources. Pray that God would grant wisdom so these organizations and churches can effectively fulfill this declaration in Indonesia.

Building partnerships: Slovakia

The Wycliffe Slovakia team visited Bible translation and literacy projects in Kenya during the summer of 2013. After their visit, they prepared a new project funding activity called ‘Partners in Hope’ (Partneri v nádeji). This activity consists of building partnerships between Christians and churches in Slovakia with churches and mission projects in countries where translation is being done. Pray for God´s wisdom and leading of Wycliffe Slovakia workers as they present opportunities to join ‘Partners in Hope’ to the Slovak public. Pray that God Himself would build these partnerships.

Impacting the World Together: Americas

COSECHA 2014 is an event of COMIBAM International scheduled for November, in Bolivia. The objective is to present specific opportunities for collaborative work between the Latin American church and organizations that have experience in missions. The participants for the event will be leaders of mission agencies, denominational departments for global outreach, sending churches and mission movements. The meetings will focus on inspiration, information, intercession, working groups within specific regions and personal contact between participants. Pray that this event will result in advances in world missions, including Bible translation.


Nancy Duncan
Communication Consultant
Wycliffe Global Alliance

Funding Partners

There is not a week that goes by in Micah Network where we don’t receive a request from someone (a national aid or mission organisation, an individual, a local church, an alliance) asking us to help fund a worthy cause they are prompting, responding to, advocating for. We empathise fully. We are in a similar position in Micah – we see so many important opportunities and needs and are also on the lookout for ways to raise the needed finances.

Then, suddenly amongst all this asking an e-mail arrives raising the alarm of an evolving crisis in Northern Cameroon and Northern Nigeria. Our newspapers, TVs and radios are full a major disasters and needs are confronting us on every side. Can this small voice reach through to us? The truth is amongst all the asking and news reports we may fail to hear this plea. I have often wondered how Jesus was able to feel the need and touch of one small woman in the crowd that surrounded him (Mark 5: 24-34). The answer is we so need the Holy Spirit to help us discern in a good way every ask, every need and every interaction we have with one another. Somehow Jesus was able to feed the 5,000 as well as see the one in special need.

So, thanks to members in Northern Cameroon and Northern Nigeria we are raising the alarm that the suffering of the increasing number of displaced because of the Boko Haram atrocities and insecurity is intense. 

Please, in your busy schedule, take a moment to ask God for his mercy and help in this. Be in a slow hurry and invite His direction on how you can help. This is not just about sending funds – this is about hearing one another, discerning together and responding as led. For more information about this emergency and links to members in Nigeria and Cameroon, contact:

Democratic Republic of Congo


Devastating reports of recent violence targeted at civilians have recently come from the town of Beni in the Province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 100 civilians have reportedly been massacred in recent weeks by members of the rebel group ADF-NALU.

Let us cry out in solidarity with the communities affected by these atrocities:

Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress..."
Psalm 102:1-2

Lord, we pray:

 - for change in the hearts of the rebels who are carrying out these devastating acts of violence; that these attacks would stop and civilians would be able to live without fear.

 - for your love and comfort to be shown to those who have lost family members and friends in these attacks.

- For the local church to be able to able to speak a message of hope, love and reconciliation into the communities of North Kivu.

Persecution in Pakistan

The tragic news of a young Christian couple brutally murdered by an angry mob near Lahore, Pakistan yesterday reminds us to continue to lift up in prayer our brothers and sisters who experience persecution because they are Christian.

The young couple, who had three children, were attacked by a mob following accusations on Monday that they had desecrated the Koran.

God, our hearts break with the pain of this senseless murder. We pray that you will comfort the children and family of this couple. We pray for the police and judiciary in Pakistan that they will be diligent and just in their work for all citizens, regardless of their religious convictions.

We lift up Pakistan to you, a country with so much potential yet locked in fear, propoganda, violence and mistrust. We pray for the leaders who need to lead by example. Lord we pray for your healing presence to come alongside Pakistan.

Tati and Matteo

Tatiana, one of our wonderful volunteer translators for Potuguese language at Micah, seeks prayer for her family as her son Matteo has been hospitalised and is undergoing tests for medical complications which cannot currently be adequately explained by medical staff.

Please pray:

 - For healing in Matteo's body and strength in Matteo's mind as he is experiencing the struggles and fear associated with this medical condition.

- For the strengthening of relationships within the whole family as they are experiencing this stressful time.


Micah Events and Transition

G20 Leaders' Summit

Pray for Micah Challenge Australia as they take the lead in advocating for a more just international economic system in the lead up to the G20 Leaders' Summit next week in Brisbane, Australia.

Lord, we ask that our world leaders would hear our cry for justice and compassion, as they mnake decisions which have significant ramifications for porr nations.

10 days of solidarity in prayer for the advocacy campigns at the G20 start on the 7th November. Please join in.

You can use these resources to work through ten days of prayer with your church or small group.

Micah Transition

We praise God for the progress that is being made towards the transition of Micah Network and Micah Challenge to become a single, united entity: Micah.

We encourage you to join us in New York at the Micah Summit where we will recognise the progress and ongoing challenge represented by the Millennium Development Goals in the global fight against poverty; and where we will officially commence the transition process to Micah.

Lord, we ask:

- for your continued guidance; and for our own obedience to your will and purposes as we undergo a time of significant change.

-  for wisdom and courage as we continue to make strategic decisions and plans for the future.