Ebola, the disease that has killed over 900 people in recent months in West Africa is causing great concern world wide.  We know it best from the return to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia of Doctor Kent Brantly and missionary, Nancy Writebol both stricken by this deadly disease. They were infected while working at a clinic for Ebola patients in Liberia. Both are part of a missionary response team sponsoreed by the Christian relief organizations SIM USA and Samaritan’s Purse.  They remain in serious condition at the hospital in an isolation ward.

Kent Brantly told the Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis before leaving for this work, “In October, my wife, Amber, and the kids and I are moving to Monrovia, Liberia, to work as medical missionaries in ELWA Hospital…I have never been to Liberia but am going because God has a call on my life.  God did not give us a spirit of timidity, he said, quoting the Apostle Paul.”

Both of these people have a deep faith willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.  They are doing what Jesus asked, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13
They are trusting in Jesus promise, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:39
As Christians, we are to live unselfish lives, seeking to be a blessing to others.  Life here in this world is so short and “only what is done for Christ will last.”

Bad things happen to all people because we are sinners who live in a fallen, sin-cursed world. There are many possible answers to why suffering?  Some might be:
Bad people cause trouble.
Bad luck –  being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Bad choices which we make and are responsible.
Bad health due to the fact that we are mortal, human beings, living in a world of inflexable, natural laws.

I want you to know that we are all involved in the tragic possiblity of suffering. Every intelligent person knows that he lives every minute of his life on the brink of disaster.  Life is transitory, perilous and potentially horrible.
Times of adversity show us how much we need God.  He asks us “to live by faith not by sight.”  If everything would be so good here in this life time, there would be no reason to want to leave it.  If this world were heaven, what would heaven be for?  As Christians, we look forward to that day when we can climb down out of the cab of time and walk the flowered bordered avenues of eternity.  It is my anticipation of Heaven that keeps me going here.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”   Hebrews 10:35-36


  1. Well said Max.Smith. These are people doing God’s work in God’s way in God’s world. Who are we to criticize?

  2. Max, this is such a good reminder of what we Christians should be about, I am still so blessed by these devotionals And also the Bible study lessons each Sunday that you teach. If we can’t go, we can Pray and Pay so that others can . We all can do something .
    Thank you for your service to FCC and most of all serving Jesus !

    Love, and Praying for you, Joann

  3. As I emailed last week, there is a blessing that since these 2 missionaries were sent to Atlanta, they are in the process of being healed, a new remedy had been discovered from the leaves of tobacco, this had to be a blessing. God knows. We can thank Him that there has been a remedy of ebola. I believe it was only discovered when the missionaries were healed. I guess I do not get too much out but I never heard any complaining about these missionaries, their work, or their improvement of this terrible disease. May the rest of us thank God for this blessing.

  4. Max,
    Thank you so much for the daily devotion. I am up at 5:00 am everyday for my time with God. Your devotion is a big part of that time.
    God Bless you,
    Roger Drake

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