This week the Lord has taken me through the fire of relationship restoration. He has shown me that it doesn’t matter who you work with, whether of the world or of the Kingdom, it is always the way of love that will soften even the hardest of hearts and knock down the thickest of walls. I think most of us work with at least one person who is like a thorn in our side and we cry out to God, “Lord can’t you change this person? Can’t you send me somewhere else? How can I work with this situation?” There is always a reason for the thorn He says. Let Me prick your heart to love no matter what, to have mercy no matter what. Can you do this?
When we go into full time ministry/missionary work, so many of us think, “Finally I get to work with these wonderful people who are just like me with the same vision!” We have such high hopes and such big plans to save the world and then a thorn pops our balloon – BAMM! I passed out a hundred balloons today after church and the children had such joy on their faces looking at all of the beautiful colors and enjoying the day. But as soon as it touched a pointed barb – Bamm! – the joy is gone. Ha!
Mmmmmm, this week the Lord told me, “Remove the log from your eye Carolyn so you can see as I see. My best friends, when I walked the earth as man, they wanted to kill people, Peter and the disciples wanting to call down fire. They wanted to send people away who were hungry instead of feeding them. Another friend was planning to kill Me! Still I looked through My Father’s eyes of love.”
Wow! Who am I kidding? Jesus never left a place or His friends because it wasn’t full of lalalalalala Christians. He was surrounded by unbelieving disciples half the time! Hmmmmm, eat My flesh, drink My blood…..” John 6. No, Jesus had many thorns in His side yet He stayed and He kept teaching and He kept loving and He kept walking that hard road as co-workers and friends were talking behind His back. He didn’t quit when all the disciples left Him after the flesh and blood deal. He just kept on about the Fathers business.
The Lord asked me if I was willing to suffer a few thorns and perhaps lose a few of my own balloons in my life for the sake of the cross? Was I really willing to die to my self, to actually die to my flesh that cries out for justice God, for this thorn to be removed God! Be thou perfect as I am perfect. Be thou transformed into the image of My Father, of Me. My grace is sufficient. Will you take it and apply it to that thorn?
Jesus was on the mission field with the Pharisees and He had to daily encounter their unbelief, their mockery, their judgmental ways. He never quit and walked away. He stayed the course, He kept teaching even when they were in the crowd mocking Him. He didn’t quit! God says, “Do not weary in well doing! Do not let someone steal your zeal! You stay the course beloved because I will never quit on you. Now have that same mercy on the one you want to quit on and watch My grace pour out.”
This week I stayed the course and poured grace on that thorn. Many of my balloons have been popped by one person since I have been here. And just like alcohol on an open wound, it stings. Just like a thorn in my side, it pierces. And God did an amazing thing. He restored that which was broken and pricked and mangled and seemed beyond repair and He has made all things new! It is amazing what can happen when we let love run the course set before us. When the time was right I confronted the issue and the person in a non-confrontational way, the way of love, laying down ALL my pride and becoming as a little child, I loved and listened and opened my eyes, after I removed a small log from within. I looked through His eyes. I daily thank God for His patience and long suffering with me!
Another amazing testimony –
Every time one of our drivers goes on the road I pray a safe journey over Him and that the Lord goes before them and be their rear guard and I plead the Blood of Jesus over them. Two weeks ago a young man had to go home to his village because his mother had died unexpectedly. He was so sad and so I laid hands on him and prayed peace and prayed over his journey. He came back this week and told us an amazing story.
Most people here take these minivans to travel long distances in. It is public transport. There were 12 passengers in his “matatu” and they were headed down the road. All of a sudden the vehicle started flipping end over end and finally landed on it’s top, upside down. Ten passengers had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The man right next to him died. This young man walked away, just up and walked away, praise Jesus! He knew it was that prayer that saved his life, actually that prayer answered by the Lord being His rear guard and going before him.
People are coming to me during the day now and asking me to pray for them, for health, for family, just things! And then this week the heavens opened and brought the revelation of answered prayer to these people here on the compound. They are seeing weekly answers to prayer and are finally beginning to believe it is real, God is really listening and He really does care!
Wednesday night my finger started hurting for no reason and swelling. The next day I began to experience solid and constant pain in my finger. As the day progressed it got worse, the pain and the swelling. Puss started to form and this blood and puss ballooned up on my finger. The ladies were telling me that it was a parasite from the river water, our laundry water. We are no longer getting treated water to do laundry and for cleaning and so we use river water, which is where people bathe and defecate and urinate and animals doing the same.
This parasite was now living in my finger and the ladies were saying that they either lost their nail, one having to go for surgery, another’s bone shown through, all these horror stories!
I was told by them that it would be a minimum of seven days before the pain even subsided. I said NO! I called on my prayer team in the USA. Then I took communion twice a day, even at 3:00 a.m. because I was in so much pain. I took communion believing in His Blood poured out for ME. And I started on antibiotics. I was crying and hadn’t slept in two nights and all I could do was call upon the name of Jesus and His Blood! All I could do was call upon Him to save me! He came…….. In just thirty six hours my pain was completely gone! I had had only two antibiotic tablets and so it could not have been that already. The ladies came from all over our compound to see. I was tapping my finger against my desk, I was slapping it to show them I had no pain!
They were saying, “It can only be a miracle! This cannot be! Look at my scar, I know!!” they said. All day I told them how Jesus came in the midst of my pain because I was like the persistent widow crying out until He came (Luke 18:1-8)! I had no other to save me. He was my only hope! The doctor stuck a needle in it and nothing would come out so even he could do nothing. I cried and I called and I hoped and I never quit calling. I fell asleep with His name on my lips. I awoke with His name on my lips. He came! He came!
When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8
This week I have just gone through two of the greatest times of testing in my entire time in Africa, serious. I thought about the Israelites in the desert, “I can’t do this. It’s just too hard. I want to go back to Egypt where I at least had lentils!” And my spirit kept crying out, “You cannot quit! You just call upon the Name of the Lord and believe and HE WILL COME!”
I want to encourage you today, if you are going through a trial, a test, a fire, don’t just try and make it through. See Jesus in the fire with you, with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. See the angel in the lion’s den with you, with Daniel. God always comes at the cry of His children. Will He find faith there when He comes?