God, your friend ….

by | Nov 20, 2015

It has been a rough and extremely busy year…I am not always sure whether all the ‘good things’ I have been busy with were all ‘God things’.

Jan and I recently travelled to China and Singapore, where God opened some astounding new doors.  I could share God’s vision that He entrusted to me…to ‘make a difference in deaf education!’ with hundreds of principals and staff from Chinese schools for the deaf. Planting the seeds that there is ‘a new way’ and thanks to modern technology, today’s deaf children can speak – provided that these deaf children identified and fitted with amplification. The key is early identification and the necessary support in a language rich environment, such as a mainstream school. In my life, I have experienced God opening many doors for me along the way. It became the expected, the norm…slowly God, my First love, became not only my Friend, but also my ‘mate’, my ‘chum’.

Our country is currently experiencing a severe drought. I pray for rain regularly. On Tuesday evening, Anita and I attended a school function and arrived home late. I was anxious about having to get up at 04:00 the next morning for my quiet time. The trainer arrives at 05:00. Part of our lives in South Africa is locking yourself up at night. Motor gate closed? Garage closed? Front door security gate closed? Front door closed? Passage gate closed? Bedroom ‘rape gate’ closed? Feeling safe and secure, Anita and I shared a nightcap before we fell down in bed and slept… at last!

The sound of thunder approached, invading my deep sleep. I was irritated having to get up to go and close the passage and living room sliding doors.  These doors are always open during summer to allow the fresh evening breeze through the home – yes, they also have security gates in case you were wondering. I looked for the bedroom ‘rape gate’ key in the dark – not wanting to disturb Anita. As I fumbled in the dark for the key, I knocked over Anita’s glass…still full of ice… standing close to the keys. The glass fell over, smashing into bits with chards of glass and ice all over and around my feet.

Anita woke up and switched the light on. I sleep naked and here she saw her naked husband trapped amongst pieces of glass (a sight for sore eyes). I carefully removed all the glass, opened the rape gate, and while walking down the passage to unlock the passage gate and get the vacuum cleaner, I swore quietly to myself about ‘this f-ing storm’ disrupting my sleep. I moved the dogs, got the vacuum cleaner and cleaned up the mess. All done, still in the nude. I then went back to the room and closed all the gates…the thunder was now close. I decided to close the window halfway (I am usually a completely open or complete closed type of person) just in case it might rain in. I turned around, heard and then saw a massive bolt of lightning strike horizontally right across our garden. The crash of thunder lifted me almost a meter high into the air, without striking me. The bolt was so close that our security lights in the garden came on – a first ever. I was shocked and immediately thought about my words a few minutes before.

Just as I lay down, I heard our intercom buzz. It was our wonderful maid, Elizabeth, reporting that our garage doors were open. Can this be? I personally closed it. Again I got up, opened the bedroom gate, the passage gate and the front door – still naked. Only my car’s garage door was open, on the other side of the house, away from where the thunder struck. I tried to close the door with the remote control without success. Shall I quickly try to close the door in the nude? Sanity prevailed and I walked all the way back to the bedroom to fetch my gown. This is now becoming a very long and busy night.

Eventually, after a long struggle I managed to close the garage door manually, locked all the doors and gates behind me and flopped back into bed whilst thinking of all the events that have just happened.   It dawned upon me that I prayed for rain that very same morning and cursed the storm a few hours later when things did not go ‘my way’. God sent a bolt, out of heaven, to get my attention and show me my foolishness. Just in case I thought it was incidental, He also opened my garage door to make it clear that the message was for me, and not for Anita or just a mere coincidence. He wanted MY attention and He got it.

I then heard God say to me … I am your Friend, but I am NOT your mate!

Revelation 19:6 (KJV)

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

  • Thank you for all your comments and encouragement the past year.
  • May God bless you and your loved ones during this Christmas season.
  • May you experience the love of Christ in your home and your heart like never before.
  • May His peace be with you throughout 2016.
  • May you and I strive to know God, our friend, better in the New Year… however, let us respect Him for who He is.

 God the Almighty, the All-powerful, the Omnipotent, Creator of the Universe…our friend…but not our mate.


  1. Anton Swanepoel

    One of the things I really enjoy about you Nico, is your absolute honesty when it comes to one’s own ways and thoughts and how God always reminds us how our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. This is a classic Nico van der Merwe story which reminds us of your humanity, but also setting an example for your friends of being humbled by our Heavenly Father and sharing that with us. For 2016: May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you… Numbers 6:24-26

  2. Louis Wilsenach

    So aand kan mens laat klippe kou…
    Lekker gelees aan jou blog….nou sit jy erens ini lug
    en smile tevrede as met jy jou vdmerwe spannetjie opreis is…
    seker om jul 30 jaar in styl te vier…welverdiend.

    Werk het maar sy pyne maar jitte so trippie maak op vir al daai dinge..
    dis een van Sy groot seeninge…om so met jou familie te kan reis…ontdek en geniet…ek kry skoon lekker net om te dink hoe lekker dit vir jul gaan wees. so shalom trippie. dankie Heer vir al U seeninge…groetnisse!

  3. Deon Farmer

    Thank you for sharing this “shocking” experience! I am so aware of the intimacy of our relationship with a holy God and how easily I forget about either or both depending on the circumstances. Thank you Jesus for continueously interceding for us! Live love! Deon

  4. Francois

    Thank you Nico, my friend and my mate, for this well-written and powerful reminder of an absolute fundamental.

  5. Gerrit Wolfaardt

    Thanks for another powerful word and timely reminder that we indeed serve a mighty God who is above all else in the universe that He created. He usually speaks in a still small voice to us, but sometimes He needs to send a lightning bolt to a naked man to remind us who He is.

  6. Mike Wannenburg

    Vriend, Jy is ‘n ander kerel. Maar waar,Hy is ons Vriend,ons Pa, ons Metgesel maar sekerlik nie ons “Pel” nie,

    Ons bid gereeld vir julle.


  7. Heidi Taylor


  8. Sarel

    Love it. 🙂 Great read.

  9. Celeste

    Amazing, almost a visual piece of writing!

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