Don’t cry in the ears of friends…Part I
The year to date has been a very busy and stressful time. My friend Gerrit’s illness; Anita’s foot operation and all the planning of the new sportsgrounds at the Eduplex – where will the millions come from that we need for the development? All I could do was pray. I was even more busy before I left for Europe in May for a combined short holiday and conference. I needed the break.
The danger of being so under pressure is that although I still had my quiet time, I felt stressed and my time with the Lord was often rushed. I forgot the words “Only in returning to Me and waiting for Me will you be saved; in quietness and confidence is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15)
But God knows our stresses. He also knows our hearts. He knows that there will come a day and a place where we will have time, where our knees will bow again in quietness and confidence. On the evening of my flight to Europe I was refused boarding and had to wait for the manager. “Sir, I am sorry but we are overbooked. I had to choose one person to upgrade to first class and I choose you”. I was amazed. God knows we all like to be spoilt and I appreciated this gift from His hand more than I could express in words. But there was more to come.
The day of my arrival in Zurich I was having dinner in a restaurant and my host and I were ready to leave when I felt a cool, soft hand on my neck and cheek. I turned around and saw a very good Swiss friend and his partner standing behind me. “I thought you were in Portugal?” I cried as I was not expecting them there. “No, we are flying tomorrow. We walked past the restaurant and saw you sitting here and thought of joining you”.
Over a glass of wine my friend asked “How are the sports field development coming along?” I explained the progress to date and then he said he wanted to help us. He will send a person that design world-class pump and mountain bike tracks to come and give us some advice and even design a track for us. He asked about a swimming pool and I said we would love one but could not afford it. “I know what a pool costs. I will help you with R15 million – no conditions, you can do with the money what you want.” A meal, a friend walks past, a glance in the right direction, a simple question on how things are going and God works in my friends heart to help us with a fortune. “In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.” (Proverbs 21:1 NIV)
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)
After my return from Europe in May I read in my daily devotionals (Spurgeon’s Cheque book of the bank of Faith May 23rd) that I should not cry in the ears of friends, the nearest way is to go straight to God and that I should make my double need, my double plea to God. This is exactly what I tried to do, even in my haste, before I left – even if it was only in desperation.
God heard my cry and He provided unexpectantly, just as he promised He would do on the day I was baptised (20 May 2007) from Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” On that day Spurgeon said that the Lord himself will do the impossible for us, and the unexpected shall be a fact. 5 April 2010 I was again reminded of this amazing verse and over the years again, and again, and again. What an amazing God we serve, that goes to all the trouble to not only give us a promise from His word to cherish in our heart, but to remind us time and again of the promise He gave.
I started realising that I was not spending enough time in the Word. Anita and I listen to a recording of Ed Young one morning when he quoted from Ps 119:105 “Your word is a flashlight to the path ahead of me.” We needed to take big decisions in the days ahead, how I needed God’s guidance for the road ahead and I decided to do just that and spend more time in His Word. The next morning, after my time of prayer, I opened my Bible and the first verse I saw was Ps 119:105 “Your word is a flashlight to the path ahead of me.” As I read further I saw in verses 124 and 169 “Teach me to obey. Give me common-sense to apply your rules to everything. O Lord listen to my prayers. Give me the common-sense you promised.” (Life Application Bible)
I then read Ps 121:1+2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Finally I started reading my daily devotionals. Spurgeon (13 June) said ‘you will receive gracious watering’ … and it started to rain outside…in winter! I then read from God Calling ‘Looking to Me all your thoughts are God inspired. Act on them and you will be led on. They are not your own impulses (confirming the ‘common- sense’ word from Ps 119:124 and 169.) And then at the end of the devotional the verse from scripture Ps 121 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
This is the way God speaks to me as I continued reading while feeling greatly encouraged. It was clear to me that God will give me His ‘common-sense’ if I keep my eyes on Him and cry in His ear for help rather than in the ears of my friends. And then I read more than twice in as many days that God was engineering our circumstances, that I should cease from self-effort and surrender all my rights and demands to God. (Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest 13, 15 and 20 June)
Then, and only then, will the Lord do the impossible for us, and the unexpected will be a fact. Let us not sit down in coward fear. Let us press onward in the path of duty; for the Lord has said it “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight…” Ours is not to reason why; ours but to dare and dash forward. It is the Lord’s work, and He will enable us to do it. (Spurgeon Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith May 20th)