Anthony attended one day of the annual meeting of the Baptist Union in Uganda a couple of days ago. It was a good time to renew friendships formed in the ‘old days’ – aka 20 years ago! They reminisced of bachelorhood, and early youth work around the country. It is really something to be known and to know other believers.
At some point, the speaker mentioned that Anthony’s wife was sick, and asked him to come forward to update the group. I got a text that afternoon from him that read: “you were just prophesied for, congratulations.”
Someone prayed for me, and apparently included ‘denying my disease, I prophesy that the sickness has no power in the name of Jesus…’
One in attendance at that meeting is a pastor of a small church in my town. He knew Anthony from years gone by, and graduated from the seminary a number of years ago. His son is a current student at the seminary who has been in our home study group this year. This pastor came by to pray for me this afternoon.
In his prayer, he reminded us all of half a dozen scriptures about how God leads us, that what He began He will complete, that all is for His own glory. That when Jesus prayed for Lazarus and a boy, He raised His eyes toward heaven and thanked God for hearing Him, that when we call with a pure heart God is sure to hear us. He prayed for God’s ultimate will to be done, and asked that it be my healing for His glory.
If you know me, you know I know that God is able to do all things. But I do not believe He has to answer my way because I or anyone else use the right series of words and don’t like the current situation. Some who have not traveled to my home, do not understand the gravity of the ‘name it and claim it’ theology that has invaded so many churches here. It is a mixture of their cultural calling to witch doctors (still very much practiced). Something is done just right or often paid in return for whatever they want done by the witch doctor.
And I thought about something: the difference in these two prayers is not their sincerity, is not in whom they are praying to, is not one’s absence of love and concern. But the later has a better understanding of WHO God IS. The one who was trained has a foundation of knowing that God’s word lives and breathes in him. This pastor who prayed for me was a testimony to me of how important what we are doing here really is.
We do not want to leave behind a body of believers who think God can be called on to do our will, because it is so deep in their culture to see religion that way.
We do not want only to lead people to know Christ.
It is our heart’s passion to lead people to follow Christ. And moreso to train national leaders to take this passion far to where they are – further than we can go.
I told this pastor that we have come to realize some things this week.
Different individuals told each of Anthony and I they didn’t know what would happen to the places we pour ourselves if we leave. One said to Anthony, “You are our hope, what will we do if you leave?”
I did not want the attention of so many people knowing about my health struggle, I don’t like the attention. But now, so many people are watching and waiting. Many have thought through the realities of the real jobs we do being suddenly empty.
|At our church|
And I want everyone to see:
I know God’s got me. I know He has a plan for me. I know he leads me and will guide me to where our family needs to be.
God’s got these jobs too! Man is not the hope to do these jobs. How dare I continue to worry about how God will provide in our possible absence?!
I should not panic. And those around should not panic either. We are mere instruments and God is great.
He’s got this.
And if you’re still reading, I have a few more thoughts…
I read a passage in Isaiah the other day. Where I picked up the story is when the Israelites were being recorded as a stubborn and rebellious people. Don’t forget that they were God’s people!
Because they despised His Word
Because they trusted in human means (oppression, perverseness)
Because they relied on human means to come through for them
Therefore, they would fall, suddenly, when not prepared. Smashed ruthlessly.
“…And YHWH GOD, the HOLY ONE of Israel spoke more!
In returning or in repentance, and in rest you shall be saved.
(BEING) in quietness and rest: shall be your strength.
Want strength to do what is required and bear what is on you?
Keep a calm attitude, by continual dependence on God.
Yet will He wait / Therefore He waits
He waits for us! He is waiting!
He waits to show grace, to BE gracious to you,
And yet He exalts Himself to show mercy on you.
For the LORD YHWH is a God of justice
He is wise and just and true to His Word.
Blessed are those who wait—for—HIM.
Don’t wait for a result, for a decision.
Make God alone your confidence.
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry!
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teacher will not hide himself…!
And your ears will hear a word behind you,
Maybe you can not see Him, but He can still direct and prompt you
“This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or to the left.
Then you will loath…
…your sin, whatever has separated you from Him,
Whatever you have allowed to crowd Him out
to take your time away from BEING. From WAITING on Him.
Whatever has distracted your focus off of Jesus.
Do I loath my sin? Do I crucify my fleshly desires?
Do I abandon my selfishness and abide in Christ?
And He will give rain for the seed with which you sow in the ground
Till your heart soil!
Plant Him. Work at it.
Sacrifice and toil your heart soil.
God is waiting to grow mercy and grace in abundance!
And on every lofty mountain and every high hill
There will be brooks running with water
In the day…
That your enemy, sin, falls.
When your selfishness is slaughtered.
When your plans and your hope in man is no longer relevant.
In the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of His people…
You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept
Remember the times with other believers worshiping into the night?
And gladness of heart,
As when one sets out the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD,
To the Rock of Israel…”
Our rock. Our hope.