I have often thought about the meaning behind the saying that an unguarded strength is a double weakness. Frequently we pray about something and when God answers us, we immediately start implementing what we have prayed about, sometimes continuing over many months or even years, without even asking God what He had in mind now that He gave the go-ahead. I’d like to share with you two specific incidents that made me understand more clearly the meaning of the above.
The first example will be about the enlargement of The Eduplex – our mainstream school where we include 5 deaf kids in every class of 20 normal hearing children and where the deaf acquire normal spoken language without any sign language, but with the help of modern technology (hearing aids / cochlear implants and FM personal communication systems). The Eduplex was a vision or instruction from God to me in 1992 … “I want you to make a difference in deaf education.” I have devoted a whole chapter in my book “What does God know about Business” on the school and the vision God gave me and will not elaborate on that now.
Nov 25, 2009 the Lord gave me an instruction to enlarge our school’s territory and to develop a second campus, which would include a high school. He confirm these instruction through a devotional I read that day (Os Hillman’s Today God is First Volume 1) He reiterated that morning that it will happen not through might nor through power, but through His Spirit and that the financial mountain before me, will become a plain (Zechariah 4:6+7). The requirement on my part: trust Him. For months I waited for the money to arrive as it had happened with the pre-school and a part of the primary school. I did not realize that this time the Lord wanted me to move out in faith rather than knowledge. When you have knowledge (e.g., money in the bank) faith is no longer needed.
Nearly 7 months passed and on June 20, 2010 I again prayed about the second campus and read that morning in the daily devotional, God Calling:
Wait to hear My Will and then obey. At all costs obey. Do not fear. …..Remember I long to work miracles, as when on earth … but the same condition holds good. I cannot do many mighty works because of unbelief. So only in response to your belief can I do miracle-works now.
I clearly felt the Holy Spirit say to me “If you don’t start (building the high school) it will be an act of unbelief”. I realised my waiting for the Lord to provide financially before I start planning was actually unbelief. I had to start planning in faith as if I already had all the money and I immediately instructed our architects to begin planning the high school on the sports field next to our Primary School. We finalised the building plans and a few months later obtained City Council approval for the construction and we were ready to start … except the money did not come. We even had a turning of the first sod ceremony … in faith … and the money did not come. The architects and City Council plan approval fees cost me nearly R1 million (at the time around US$150,000).
Then doubt and despair set in. I asked God why He did not supply. I did everything in faith as He instructed me to do and eventually my doubt and despair led to introspection. What did I do wrong? Where did I act outside of God’s will? One can have introspection until you are nauseated by yourself and all the questions drive you crazy … until one morning when I asked why? why? why? I heard the Holy Spirit say “Because I can’t trust you.”
I was so shocked and said “God, what do you mean you can’t trust me?! Look what I have done for You! (construction all the school buildings the past 10 years) … You know I will not take one cent from our donor’s money, how can you say You don’t trust me!” And then I heard …
“My son, it’s not about the money, it’s never been about the money …. it’s all about the vision.
I can’t trust you with the vision because the vision is in your head, not in your heart.”
I don’t think I have ever been so shocked. How can God not trust me with His vision? I shared this revelation with my wife Anita and she said “Today is a happy day in this household. I have been praying for this day for many years. You see, I know you don’t have the vision in your heart because the school buildings are more important than the deaf children.” I was shocked to the core but deep down in my heart I knew that she was right and in the months that followed I had to repent, rethink and re-plan the second campus.
God made available first two houses opposite the school we could buy, demolish one for a play ground and refurbish the other for 4 high school classes and currently, we are busy construction another 7 classes on 3 adjoining plots of land alongside the first 4 classrooms … approx 100 meters away from where we turned the first sod.
I would have saved a lot of money had I only asked God …
- “Lord, where would you like me to start?”
- “Lord, what would you like me to do first?”
- “Lord, please protect me from my own “strengths!”
Clearly my strength in “getting things done” became a double weakness as I just rushed off and started getting things done in my own strength rather than asking God what He would like me to do first. An expensive lesson learned.
Please come back soon to read part 2 of this post.