Intrusion? Or Mercy?

Our God is merciful. Every day He lovingly provides for the needs of His children. With the unusual situations they face, missionaries are in a position to be keenly aware of these daily mercies.

Martha Wade is a Bible translator in Papua New Guinea. The village where she lives is located deep in the jungle, accessible only by canoe or helicopter. Her ministry among the Apal people includes hosting Bible studies for the village young people, giving them opportunities to explore God’s Word and understand the way of Jesus.

One evening Martha was scheduled to host the boys’ Bible study. A storm was brewing. The angry clouds sat right over the village. Thunder clacked impatiently alongside flashes of lightning, frightening Martha’s dog into a corner of her kitchen.

Martha was tired. She hoped the storm would keep the boys from coming so she could have an evening off. But the Lord had other plans.

The “Intruders”

Eventually the storm let up slightly, and the boys showed up at Martha’s door. Still tired, she said they could have their study if her generator would start. (It had become very unreliable, so she was still holding onto hope for an evening off.)

Somewhat to Martha’s dismay, the generator sputtered to life. So she waved the boys inside, and they held their Bible study. Afterwards she served popcorn as the boys began to leave.



“Snake!!!” shouted one of the boys. “There’s a snake outside the door!” Martha ran to get her machete, and one of the boys expertly dispatched the would-be intruder.

In that moment, the boys’ presence in Martha’s home changed from an intrusion to a mercy from the Lord. Martha knew that if the storm had kept the boys away, she would have had to try killing the snake herself — and it most likely would have “escaped” from her porch into her house.

In that moment, the boys’ presence in Martha’s home changed from an intrusion to a mercy from the Lord.

How about us? How do we respond to inconveniences and disappointments? How long does it take us to look for God’s mercies when things don’t go as planned? How easily do we recognize and acknowledge them?

May we cultivate the habit of looking for God’s mercies in the midst of interruptions and intrusions. Every day. All day.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Eunice Herchenroeder
Eunice served in Papua New Guinea as wife, mom, missionary care facilitator, and in many other roles. She now leads a team of writers and editors at Pioneer Bible Translators’ International Service Center in Texas. She and her husband Mike have three adult children.
See All Posts by Eunice Herchenroeder

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