Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This post is a response to a letter written to me by a dear friend. Others who later ended up reading the letter said I should post it. I added the pictures just to have something to look at while you read.  They were taken last year from my back porch. So here it is....

We come into this world weak and helpless and continue that way all throughout our time here. Yet between the coming and going, we get caught up in the allusion that if we do enough, study enough, become spiritual enough or make enough money we will overcome our pitiful condition. The unalterable truth is; ... we cannot. The more I go on with God the weaker I become, or better put; the more I become aware of my inherent weaknesses.

It’s not at all in a "feeling pitiful" sense; but in the sense of needing His grace to do the slightest real spiritual thing.  As you have written, there have been many times in my wrestling with God that He touched my thigh (strength) and like Jacob, left me limping. Yet each time I became more of who He created me to be and less of who I thought I should be. Let me give you but one more picture of His "touching my thigh".

Here in Kenya the spiritual battles can grow fierce. I was supposed to teach the church last night so I spent most of the day seeking God on what He wanted me to say. Hour after hour I struggled with getting it down on paper. Teaching in a foreign country and in another language is difficult to say the least. While the translator is translating what you said,it helps to keep your train of thought if you have some sort of outline or notes to follow.

All the while I struggled to put my heart down on paper, terrible thoughts flooded my head of how useless the teaching was and how no one would even understand what I was trying to get across anyway. After what seemed like all day of desperate prayer, I finally felt that what I had written was needful and  important to their growth in this new corporate life. Soon my peace returned and the burden to "bring it down" lifted.

By the time we were getting in the van to go to the meeting the sky was turning black with storm clouds.

Last week we had some serious monsoon rains with hail come in the afternoons. It started raining with hail one hour before the meeting and washed inside our building. Many (and I don't blame them) didn't want to walk a mile or two in the monsoon. The six or seven that did come were greeted by a half inch of water inside  the building where they would set. Add to that man eating mosquitoes were everywhere, the lights began dimming and you get a little feeling of what it felt like arriving in such dreary circumstances and then trying to teach.

Yesterday, exactly one week later, it seemed as though it would be a repeat performance. The sky was growing blacker and blacker once again. As we started driving there I could feel the heaviness descending on my heart. The prospect of a wet and dreary night with just a few people to teach, amidst a room teeming with swarms of man eating mosquitoes is not faith provoking. Also the little mud building we meet in has a tin roof and when it rains or hails it is like being inside John Daniel's snare drum. 

 As we pulled up to the building it started coming down hard but upon entering the room I was shocked. There were thirty five people sitting smiling and watching us come in. Needless to say I cheered right up. I thought if they came in these conditions, I certainly could give them God's word; that is till I looked around and realized I only recognized one or two of them. Right after that revelation, George walked in and spoke something in Swahili at which point everyone began standing up and leaving! When all had left George explained to me he had let a group from the community use the building and they were supposed to be gone before we arrived.

Oh... I said despondently; looking around at the remaining two elderly ladies, a young man I didn't know and the Muzungus (Amy, Noah and Joy; Amma was hope not feeling well) that came with me from the house. George then turned to me, smiled his very toothy grin and said; OK teach!
Just then the sky fell and so did my courage. The rain and small hail on the tin roof was so loud I had to yell at George to make him hear me sitting 4 feet away. I said, George... I just can't do it. He looked at me inquisitively and yelled back and said… why?  At that point I felt the lowest I had ever felt in a very long time. Everything in me wanted to run. I turned to George and yelled; ....I just don't have the heart for it. George looked at the elderly ladies and said ...they have come to hear and you can do it, but you will need God's help. At that point everyone just stared at me. I felt absolutely and completely powerless. 

 It was at that exact moment I made a decision to turn to God and ask Him for help. I knew I had absolutely no motivation or strength to yell out a teaching for the five people sitting in front of me. I stopped and dropped my head, simply saying ...Father if you desire me to give this teaching, ... quiet the rain and give me your strength to teach. 

At the word... teach ...the rain stopped.  As I opened my bible and began to teach I felt completely energized and taught the whole lesson from beginning to end with amazing gladness in my heart. Who is like our Father and what can be compared to His mercy and love?

After leaving I was still a little discouraged at the turnout, but sufficed myself with the answered prayers and the fact that I knew I had done what He asked me to do. In my weakness we had all felt His strength. 

That night Joy came in our room and told me that the teaching tonight was one of the best teachings I've ever taught. and that Amy D. felt the same way. The next morning George and I went out for tea and George said the same thing. He began to tell me what He had heard God say and I was completely amazed. He had received more from that teaching than anything I have previously taught. He asked me to repeat it Sunday for the whole church. Oh; ... and that was the only night I never saw or felt one mosquito.

Now I tell you this story to confirm your letter's encouraging words to me. It is in our weaknesses that His strength is truly perfected in us. We are not to be concerned with having or not having the feelings of power; we are to let him be powerful. The way of power is and always has been the way of the cross and we can always depend on our Heavenly lover seeing to it that the cross  always "crosses" our path. Yet if it does, and we embrace it, we can equally be confident that His resurrection Life will  follow.

RCV Grandfather


  1. Keep it up, dear friend!

    The longer I live this life, the more certain I grow that we don't have any idea what holiness looks like. It's amazing how easily we think holiness is like what the Pharisees did!

    How does one leave an impact on a few Kenyans in such a way that the kingdom of God is advanced?

    Simply by setting an example of yielding to God in faith so that he can do whatever he wants, big or small, noticed or unnoticed.

    So you did that. I can't imagine anything else any more important than that.

    Congrats. The Life is growing.

  2. Abba,
    Thank you so much for your honesty and openness in sharing your own personal thoughts, struggles, frustrations and outlook. Here in America we are usually only given stories of victories and success. Leaders never show what they consider weakness, doubts or misgivings and it leads to a distortion of the reality of a daily walk of faith and constant reliance on His Holy Spirit. When I follow your blogs I am encouraged to seek Him more and lean on His strenght and ability not my owm. I am reminded of King David not in the victory dance after slaying Goliath but as he faces his own doubts and dreary circumstance in the cave of Adullam. I thought I was going to read your blogs so I could follow the exploits of "the man of God" and live vicariously through them. Instead I am rebuked by the sincerity and simplicity of casting all of my cares, doubts and frustration on the one who truly cares for me. Thank you for continuing to be an example in just being a man who needs God everyday like the rest of us.