Reading. Philippians 1:12 ‘Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.’
The unrelenting heat, day and night, wore us down. This was especially true in a place we had gone to teach and have seminars. We stayed in a small compound, in a room of concrete with a tin roof. It was in Northern Ghana. Beneath our mosquito net, on a mattress on the floor we sweltered. There wasn’t any breeze to wander through non mosquito proofed windows,
Adding to our discomfort was the antics of a neurotic or nervous rooster. If he wasn't, then what he did all night was making Mary and I that way He had flown up onto the roof apparently to escape known or imagined danger. As he fell asleep so he would slide down the tin roof. I had never heard the scratching noise of a rooster’s claws on tin before. Unpleasant is a mild word for it. When he hit the gutter, he would scratch his way back to the ridge and after a short while the sequence would begin again.
Why didn’t I go out and stone the rooster?
In the courtyard were two dogs of unsound temperament. Combine the dogs with a dark night unsoftened by any natural or artificial lights and you have our dilemma. It certainly gave birth in our imagination to becoming a midnight snack for the dogs.
Needless to say it was a long night. When the sun rose weary Australians faced a new day. Villagers came from their homes and fields looking to us for spiritual nourishment and Biblical insights. We felt emotionally and physically unable to be of much use to them. Still, we set out to fulfil our responsibilities.
What took place made us rediscover an unfailing Biblical truth. It isn’t by might or by power our ministry (or anyone else’s) is accomplished. It is by the sheer grace and power of the Holy Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6) It isn’t how we feel. Rather, it is the fact we go, and leave the outcome to God. We were weak. We had nothing in or of ourselves in which to boast. Fortunately, God delights in taking such people in such circumstances to express His glory beyond the self-consciousness of His servants. (1 Corinthians 1:26, 27)
Amazed we were when people genuinely came up to each of us and expressed appreciation for what had spoken to their hearts and needs. All we could do was to acknowledge God’s grace. Later, tears of gratitude mingled with tears of tiredness as we slumped onto our beds, far away from that neurotic rooster.
Thank you, Lord Jesus for praying for us. (Hebrews 7:25)
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for praying and ministering through us. (Romans 8:26, 27)
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for those back home praying for us, undergirding us, lifting us up into your presence.
Looking back on that event, and some other similar ones, a smile creeps across the face. They have become good after dinner stories. At the time, Lord, we just wanted to scream. Now they have been used over and over to highlight the truth of ministry; it’s not what we do for you, but what you do in and through us that counts. Praise your Name!
Final WordThe weakness of God’s servant, is God’s opportunity to display His glory and grace.