The book of Revelation tells us God places two "witnesses" on earth who are powerful prophets or lights of the gospel in the terrible time of great tribulation (11:3ff). They will have miraculous powers to defend themselves, change the weather, bring judgment and convince others of Christ. They will do miracles much like Moses and Elijah. But, "When they have finished their testimony..." the Beast overcomes and kills them (11:7). However, they are resurrected and their testimony is a final opportunity for many to repent in those days.
These two witnesses had a three-and-a-half year window of opportunity in history and used it well. When their time was up they could no longer do miracles and were killed. But in God's plan it all worked out for good.
I think of the window of opportunity our church had in 1994 when Caleb and I had our first opportunity to go to Ukraine. The U.S.S.R. had fallen and the door was open for ministry. I had heard many stories of the persecuted church suffering. Should we go and risk it? Or, should we stay in the comfort of America?
You know the rest of the story. We went, our eyes were opened, we were humbled, and I sensed a continuing call to "come over here" as Paul did. That resulted in groups of people from Discovery going on mission trips. Then my daughter Rachel felt God's call. She left her local teaching post and became a missionary 8,000 miles from home...and met her future missionary husband. Caleb also felt the call and followed a few years later. I continue to make many trips there, meet many pastors, support some, encourage believers and promote that ministry here.
It was a window of opportunity that I am glad we didn't close. The country is one of many in great need. But it is a key place we were led to. Today our two witnessing missionary families are having an impact on pastors, youth, churches, refugees, the war zone, soldiers and many other Ukrainians who have now heard the gospel. We also support the Sagadeyev and Motovilian Ukrainian families as well as the Kaletniks in Moldova. How long will the window stay open? The recent war casts a shadow but we know God is in control.
I like windows; they let in light and show you what is out there. But some homes keep the shades closed. It has been said, "When the window of opportunity appears don't pull down the shade." The two witnesses used their window of opportunity. How about you? What opportunities are coming your way that maybe you are pulling the shades on; sickness, new job, job loss, unexpected guests, new neighbors, cults knocking at your door? Use the opportunity while you have time. Don't pull down the shade.
This Sunday we'll hear about the open window in Ukraine as Mike and Rachel Gustafson, sent from Discovery, report on that ministry in our service at 10:30. There will also be an ice cream reception for them at 5:30 at Homestead Park just before our final church softball game. Go Patriots!