God Story
The cure for discouragement

Darkness lay over the African city that my family had called home for three years. After years of prayer and preparation, we were going to bring the good news of Jesus to an unreached people group far from the city.

As the sun rose over the sparse landscape, our new home came into view. We had already decided we wanted to live like the people we had come to minister to. But when I saw the house we were supposed to call home, my heart sank. It didn’t look finished, much less habitable.

 

Dismayed

The roof was an old, corrugated tin sheet. The walls and floor were bare concrete. There were no doors, no windows, no running water. We found only layers of dust, mouse holes, spider webs, and ant nests.

Having no other choice, we cleaned the house and unpacked. The stifling heat inside was unbearable. When we finished unpacking, we were dripping with sweat.

Together, we hauled water to the outhouse behind our new home. We bathed ourselves and the girls.

Following our local neighbours’ example, I dragged our thin foam pads to the dirt yard and struggled to set up mosquito nets. The girls fell asleep immediately, but I could hear my wife weeping quietly as she lay beside them.

I flipped onto my back as tears streamed down my own face. I could get through the night, but tomorrow we would have to pack up and head back to the city.

Sadness, shame, and discouragement pressed into my heart as the darkness closed in around me. After all our preparation and language learning, we had failed to make it through more than a single day.

 

Still small voice

But as I stared at the night sky, studded with the light of a thousand stars, I remembered one of my favourite stories from Genesis. When God called Abram into a strange land, the man of faith trusted the Lord enough to follow, even when things were difficult.

Then I sensed His still, small voice in my heart, asking me to stay among these people so that many of them could one day worship Him.

A sense of peace flooded me. Yes, Father, I silently answered. He was worthy to be praised by this people too. I would stay here so they could know Him.

 

Gratitude

Careful not to wake the girls, I moved next to my wife and shared the conversation I’d had with God. To my surprise and joy, she was also sensing a similar call to stay.

I suggested we try to find one thing to thank God for. We struggled to think of anything at first. Then my wife said we should thank Him that we had been able to lie down and try to rest amidst this people group we had prepared so long to live among. We thanked God for this and immediately thought of something else to be grateful for. More and more reasons for gratitude came to mind.

The next day, the rising sun washed the desert in light and colour. We survived that day, and another, and another. We’ve now been living in the desert for seven years, taking every opportunity to share the grace God has given us.

(The original article was shortened.)
Source: Frontiers

 

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