Have you noticed how the Bible is so objective? It seldom describes the feelings of its characters. And when it does the reader may find it difficult to imagine those emotions. Abraham, for instance, when told by YHWH to sacrifice Isaac, rises early next morning to go do it. It is left to us to decide if he was sad, angry, depressed, eager, or something else (obedience not being an emotion).
This second series of posts was intended by me to follow the theme of my book and be about the Law, which is where my second chapter goes. At present however, I am undergoing one of the severest trials of my Christian, if not my entire, life. As such, the Holy Spirit has put it on my heart to write about these trials. The previous ones I survived, and will, no doubt, be brought by the grace of the Almighty through this latest also.
FIRST TRIAL: BIBLE COLLEGE
I became a Christian at age ten when I took confirmation vows in the Church of England. As a rejected child I was always drawn to Yahshua. The candidates received prayer and told by the presiding bishop to pray morning and night, which I did–mostly–even to this day. Thereafter I led an entirely worldly life steeped in praying the Lord’s Prayer as I lay down to sleep and on waking in the morning.
Fast forward twenty years. At a Barry Smith service in Garden City Christian Church I got ‘saved’. Walking down the aisle to the altar I felt like a bride. This was followed by several months of being ‘on fire’ for my Saviour. After six months in my church, I asked to go to a Bible College in Papua New Guinea to which my church sent students. I was ecstatic when allowed by my pastor to attend, losing no time packing up my four year old daughter and myself.
Bible College. Papua New Guinea. It felt like I was meant to be there, where I belonged. I lost little time falling in love with one of the PNG students. At first we became firm friends, but then over a private game of basketball our emotions got involved. We became secretly engaged because, of course, such relationships were forbidden at Bible College. One of our best friends let the cat out of the bag. Philip and I were called separately to the office. The head pastors, an Australian couple, had an aversion it seemed to blacks and whites marrying.
We were expelled. And not in a kind or gentle manner, but one which left me weeping and bleeding inside. At the time, I was dux of the college, an achievement of which I was immensely proud and coveted greedily. Philip and I, it must be remembered, had both been ‘born again’ Christians only seven months when we commenced college. We were tiny little babies in YHWH and a world of confusion. We’d barely begun our race. In fact, a couple of years later Father showed me even then I had not yet entered the starting gates!
The trial was mostly over that weekend of our expulsion, and for the remaining term of the college year. I was told emphatically to leave PNG within a week. It was a Friday. We went to change our airline tickets at the travel agent, but at the door the Holy Spirit would not allow me to enter. Returning to the college, we and many others prayed all weekend. Father told me prophetically Philip and I would be ‘three days and nights in the earth’, then He would raise us up again.
One thing I have learnt through being tried in the furnace, YHWH will keep the pressure on until the work in us is done. If He fails to achieve that aim, we will be tried again and again until His goal is reached. Most of Christendom refuses to submit to such heat and difficulty. They see an easy way out and take it. Usually it is through worldly means.
That weekend of fire was probably the first instance of sustained prayer in which I ever engaged. During it the PNG elders stood up and defended Philip and me. In church a visiting pastor preached about ridding our Promised Land (our lives) of the pagan nations one by one and not all at once lest the wild beasts become too numerous. I was convicted by this sermon of rebellion. When I went forward for prayer, the pastor’s wife who expelled me and before whom I had refused to defend myself, came over to pray for me. She also was convicted.
On Monday morning, Philip and I were again summoned to the office. It had been decided we would be allowed to stay, on several conditions. Among them, I lost the honour of being dux of the college, and we would not graduate. On this auspicious day two months later, Philip and I were required to mount the podium and receive a handshake instead of our graduation certificates. To the glorious sounds of the hymn Holy Highway, we submitted to this, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life to that point.
We were married in Australia two months later. My next trial was set in motion. But to that shortly. Philip and I were privileged, unlike Job, to discover the reason for our burning at college. Immediately following our honeymoon, we were led to a Christian couple living six hours drive north of us. The husband was a prophet and apostle of the Most High. They had heard of us and invited us to stay with them. After relating to the husband the saga of Bible College, he explained that Father did not want us affiliated through graduation with a particular denomination. Our calling was higher than that: to the wider church and the world.
When Father unveils our eyes to His greater purposes, we fall down on our knees and thank Him for fires that lead us to fulfil those purposes. We must never, ever judge His or others’ treatment of us. It is always for our good and His glory.