One by one they came and God healed them all. Pastor Paul was asked to come and pray for a woman in a village some seventy kilometers from the city. They met in the field where it is safe from dark eyes of Muslim leaders who would oppose such a thing. From morning until evening the people just kept coming. They heard that God was healing people through the prayers of a man named Paul. Each one who came got an earful of the Gospel and a church in the Lago district was born. They were undeniably touched by God in the name of Jesus Christ. Their lives were instantly impacted and most, if not all, decided to follow “Isa” the One they had only known previously as a secondary prophet to Mohammad.
Up until this last week fear had kept them in the bush. They met together in a field with a make-shift structure made of a few tree branches and dried cornstalks for a shield against the hot sun. But their joy was not doused. I met with them once in that place. I could hardly stand up under the cornstalk ceiling because it was so low; but they stood, they danced, they sang the praises of their new Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They testified how their lives had changed and what God had done for them. New in their faith they continued to grow and meet together. Some would come from miles away, through forests, over mountains, up and down valleys because the Word of God was spreading, and is still spreading all over that region. Many cannot read but through the use of an audio bible they are spreading the Gospel, one story at a time. What they learn about God they are eager to share with others.
With all these converts from Muslim to Christian, the resistance began to grow. The new church wanted to find a place in one of the three villages from which they had come, but word got out to the local Muslim chief and he sent out very real threats of physical harm if they continued to speak the name of Jesus. In fact, they were ordered to stop preaching in that name! Sound like anything you’ve read before? Exactly. Due to their immaturity and fear they stayed their distance from the chief and the village, still meeting out in the bush. But they continued to pray, and Pastor Paul continued to encourage them toward boldness.
Remember The Three Little Pigs story and what the wolf did? When the first two little pigs refused to open the door of their straw house to the wolf, he said: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your stick house in.” Then he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and he huffed, and then he blew the house down. Similarly twice a very strong wind came and destroyed the little gathering place the church people had made of sticks. But as the little pigs story goes, the third little pig built his house of bricks and the wolf was unable to blow it down. I think you get the spiritual parallel here. Read what has recently happened:
Last week the chief’s daughter was diagnosed with HIV, and told that her stomach was “rotten”. Not sure what that means but it was bad. They essentially told her to go home and eat porridge as there was nothing they could do for her (don’t worry I won’t go into the story of Goldilocks here). Well, guess who called Pastor Paul for prayer? The chief! He knew that God heals and wanted Paul to come pray for his daughter. Paul agreed on one condition: that he could share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. Paul reasoned that this was the order of things. Jesus had told his disciples to go and preach and then heal the sick. So that’s what he did. He went for about four days and prayed for the chief’s daughter and by the end of his prayers, she was eating solid food. God had healed her!
Can you guess what happened next? The chief told Paul, “Now you can go anywhere you want in my district and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Paul said, “Thank you very much but first I want to begin with you. Allow me to come and teach you about God.” I don’t know for sure yet how that will turn out, but Paul said his goal is to win this man to Christ and teach him how to lead others in a Discovery Bible Study.
Miracles still happen. Hope this makes your day, ‘cause it made mine. Jesus lives! He moves! He heals! He Saves! I encourage you to believe once again in the God of the Bible, not the god of your limited theology, experience or lack of it. I read somewhere that with God all things are possible (the Bible). Believe Him for the impossible this Christmas. It is a season to celebrate His life, His love, and His power and His glory. Those things have never changed because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Merry Christmas everyone.