At a prayer meeting I almost skipped one morning, a Nigerian sister electrified my faith. Kimi prayed not as if God can do all things but in assurance that He will do all things. God's promises are her food. God's promises, as many as she can count, are surer to her than the sight of her eyes. If there is a discrepancy between what the Word of God says and what the eyes in her head sees, she still goes with the Word of God. She is patient and willing to wait.
After prayer meeting, we got to talking and she encouraged us to be very careful of the words that come out of our mouths throughout the day. She said that words released into the ether never simply evaporate away like dew, but people remember our conversations after they have gone home. And whether we said worthy or worthless things, those words will bear fruit---worthy words unto eternal life, and worthless words unto destruction.
That was a good exhortation for me because I don't usually think of someone remembering my words after we have parted---in spite of the fact that I know full well I always remember others' words and carry them around in my heart to my harm or my strengthening. The most casual of comments sow either to good or to harm.
Kimi also said she has come to realize that life is a series of challenges. And to know that is to walk with eyes open and in the light, and to be prayerfully ready to meet these challenges with the weapon of faith. She said God sends challenges as opportunities to flex our faith, to its strengthening, since there is nothing we can ask Him for that He wants more for us than to grow in faith. This is how all "unanswered" prayer should be seen.
Then Kimi lifted up her large handbag off the table by way of illustration and said that if you meet a challenge (like lifting a weight), you find that it ceases to be a challenge forevermore, because you have overcome it. Now you go on your way strengthened to that degree, and the past challenge met in victory becomes the stepping-stone to future and greater challenges.
Kimi also told the rest of us about the time she was on a packed bus in Nigeria. The Spirit moved her to open her mouth and say something to these people. She did not want to, out of fear, but finally did. And when she obeyed and spoke about Christ to this parcel of strangers, she saw several people on the bus crying.
There was another time, also on a bus, when she did not speak up at the Spirit's urging. I was amused to hear the reason: She happened to be wearing pants that day, and the Nigerian people have the idea that a Christian woman should wear dresses, so Kimi reasoned that if she were to speak up, her testimony would be disqualified. Still the Spirit urged her.
Then a man on the bus spoke up instead, and Kimi was ashamed that she had not. She joined in with the man, but was aware that she had forfeited the primary blessing. She also realized that day that one of the ways of God's working is that if one of His children refuses to obey a prompting, He will not abandon the project but go to another who is willing. This is no more than what Mordecai told Esther: "If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place . . ." (Esther 4:14).
I never cease to be amazed by the rippling effect of spoken words that are in sync with God's own Word: Kimi revived my faith that morning, and because of that, my own interactions with people will be different---and on and on in these ever-expanding concentric circles. Now I write this little column, and perhaps someone out there online is blessed by my report of what Kimi said. And the Nigerian woman will know none of this till the Day when the books are opened and all secrets are revealed.
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