Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD.”
God is never taken by surprise.
Acts 12 records that in the days of the early church, Herod Agrippa sought to bolster his standing as Rome’s king over Judaea and took action against two of the apostles. Though Herod intended death for both James and Peter, God orchestrated Peter’s escape from prison and execution. For James, however, God allowed fulfillment of the prophetic words of Jesus (Matt. 20:23) and permitted him to suffer martyrdom. Both men served among the leaders of the early church, and God used both the escape of Peter and the blood of James to help the church to thrive. In fact, the same chapter that reports Herod’s ill intent toward Judaean Christians records that the Word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24).
Recently, in the troubled provinces of Cameroon, the same God who kept a number of veteran missionaries from bodily harm, allowed the newest of their number, a missionary of just twelve days, to be martyred. Last Tuesday, October 30, Charles Wesco travelled into the city of Bamenda with his wife, one son, and a fellow missionary. He may have been targeted in the area’s on-going civil conflict and was killed when shots were fired at their vehicle.
While we may not understand God’s providences, we must rest in His Providence. We live in time. God lives in eternity. For James and Peter, it’s all in eternity now. God was glorified in James’ faithfulness unto death as well as in Peter’s supernatural escape—and He will be glorified in the death of Charles Wesco.
Charles loved the Lord along with his wife Stephanie and their eight children. He had given his life to serve as a missionary declaring the good news that Jesus saves from sin. I have known Charles and Stephanie since before they were married. Endowed by God with a brilliant mind, Charles desired to do God’s will. When they were on deputation, raising support to go to Cameroon, Charles brought his family three consecutive years to a conference we hosted on accessing Christ as your life. He loved the truth of the Spirit-filled life and desired to be a channel of Christ’s life to those in need.
One thing is certain. God is powerful enough to use the life and death of Charles Wesco for His glory, and He will. Our hearts go out to Stephanie, the children, and other relatives and friends at the loss of this dear man. He will be missed. Concerned for others and desiring God’s glory, Stephanie has been, by God’s grace, a picture of grace. May the God of all comfort bring peace and His all-sufficiency to Stephanie and the family as they go forward, and may the Lord of the harvest use this perplexing turn of events to further His cause and kingdom.
John Van Gelderen