The challenge of walking with the God who knows me  

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Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.

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Copyright © 2012 by Derek Leaf . Not to be copied for commercial purposes.  Permission is granted to copy the unaltered, attributed page for non commercial purposes.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Matthew 5:44 - 45

 “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  That you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Whenever there was a sharing time at church you could guarantee that she would stand up and share something.  Not only that, but her sharing would take ages.  It used to drive me up the wall.  I could hardly bare it.  So this good sister too would grate on me.  It was much the same issue as with Richard, I was being over sensitive over an issue which no one else seemed upset about, and it involved speech.

One Sunday, this lady shared how she had seen all the children in her area playing around on the streets and how the Lord had put in on her heart to start a Bible club for them.  She would have them round to her home.  There, they would play games and have Bible readings and share the gospel.  She later invited someone from a children's ministry to come to her house and lead the meetings for a week.  It seemed that God was in this and the children were responding.

I began to pray for her and for her ministry.  As I prayed, I found an amazing thing happened.  I began to develop a deep appreciation and concern for this lady.  When we had fellowship meals, I would sit with her and ask her how things were going and it seemed an encouragement to her that someone took an interest.  When she was speaking in the sharing times, I would listen without irritation, interested and concerned in order to pray.  We were in a sense together in the mission and Jesus had knit our hearts together.

I noticed after this that if I had a problem with someone, with one of my brothers in Jesus, then if I prayed for them, my heart would go out to them and I would stop having a problem.  These are not the sort of prayers that are asking the Lord to set them straight and impose my agenda on them, these would put me in the place of God.  Rather, they are prayers to their heavenly Father, and my heavenly Father that would seek his kingdom to be revealed in both of us.  I cannot claim to have been successful all the time.  There have been times when I have been so angry with someone that I could not pray without this anger welling up inside me.  My prayers in such times would be completely against the injunction “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”(Romans 12:14 NIV)  Yet if, by the grace of God, I was able to pray a prayer of blessing upon them and to be thankful for them, then in some sense the Lord is able to bring me to a place of having a peaceful and quiet heart not disturbed by bad attitudes and resentment.  It seems that in this place of quietness that the Lord is then able to take a further step, richer than all that has gone on before, he can bring me to the place of salvation and the knowledge of the truth.  (1 Tim 2:2-4) This salvation is just as much salvation from difficult situations as it is ultimately salvation from an eternal death.