Armed with Prayer

LEADERS ARE CHOSEN WITH PRAYER

The two most difficult and important choices for me were to become a servant of Christ and find a mate for life.  I spent much time alone in prayer and more than eight years for someone who was willing to help me make choices.  I owe these two choices to Some One far more than myself.  I am certain that it was the Good Lord who chose for me while I prayed.  Jesus promised to pray for us (Jn. 14:15-26).  Jesus also withdrew into the hills to pray before he chose his twelve disciples and Judas was one of them (Lk. 6:12-16).

Jesus’ most crucial choice was the selection of the twelve disciples.  Each of these men had a specific role to fill.  Perhaps the hardest was that of Judas the traitor.  It was his unpleasant task to hand over a friend as the sacrificial lamb for man’s sins.  Is it any wonder that to pick such men, Jesus sought the solace of his Father in the hills?  There is something mystical about the hills.  The Psalmist lifted his eyes to the hills from whence came his help.  The hills declared or honored God.  Moses, before he could deliver his people, had to flee to the hills where he met God and received his instructions on how to deliver his people.  Christ, our Lord, likewise went into the hills and emerged with twelve names to succeed him.  Like our Lord, we ought to consult God on all replacements of leadership.  No one should delegate any authority to anyone until it has been prayed through on some lonely hill.  Of course, most of us have little to say about others except ourselves.  We all have to make decisions regarding our own lives that require some serious solitary consultation.

The story is told of Woodrow Wilson that before he consented to accept the nomination for the presidency, he withdrew from everybody.  On the final day, he and his family sought the lonely place for twenty minutes.  Wilson kept reporters, friends and party members waiting because he sought divine guidance (La. 302).  One day a lazy student accidentally looked through a microscope. He watched tiny organisms pass from one generation to another.  Suddenly, it dawned on him that each one was an important link in a chain of events.  He awakened from his lethargy and said to himself: “I see it now.  I am a single link between the generations before me and those who come after me.  I will no longer be a rotten link in that chain”(Wa. 186).  It was that lonely moment that helped the lazy student see his role in the reproductive cycle of life.  Who can tell what we may see when we withdraw to be alone with God?  When we have to make important decisions, whom do we consult? 

I had some experience in being consulted and consulted others.  My life was turned upside down by an accident and I had to find a new way of surviving in this world.  I was instructed to consult the experts and they were marvelous people with multiple ideas that confused and disillusioned me.  The profession I was aiming at was in their opinion a bit irrational and more than an injured person could handle in public.  They were correct in assessing me for my physical handicap did keep me out of the competition with people that were looking for pastors.  In retrospect, I am thankful that they passed me by because our ministry would have been clouded in doubt. Those that had counseled me against becoming a pastor did have my best interest at heart.  Why then did I do what these wise people advised me against?

Their counseling disturbed by conscience my heart and my soul.  God had saved my life against all human odds and I was being led to abandon him.  I was placing my trust in humans and not in God.  I was not consulting my inner self.  I had no peace in my soul or in my mind.   The moment I began to trust God, I also began to trust in myself, and doors opened for me to pursue my goal.  It was when I was alone with God in Christ in Toronto General Hospital that faith within me helped me look past my infirmities. 

It also led me to people who helped me pass my inadequacies and saw in me potentials that would take years for me to discover.  I began to learn English with the help of a retired English lady and she predicted that I would write some day.   Imagine what my response was.  Years later, I was defending my third post college degree and one examiner rejected my four hundred plus pages of work because he wanted to know more about what I could do rather than the one-hundred fifty experts I was defending and agreeing with.  Reluctantly I produced a work of my own and he was pleased with the comment that I publish it and predicted I would be heard from in the future.  This is where I am at the present.  It all began when I consulted my conscience at a time when I was alone with God.  That is when I found peace and a purpose for my life.

Loneliness is not for everyone.  I was troubled with being alone.  My physical injuries hampered my courage to seek female companions.  There were sympathetic young ladies that would have considered marriage just to render service to God.  And I do admire those that have been willing to share their lives with handicapped mates.  I did much praying in secret and God did lead me to a young lady that was willing to take on the challenge of being my companion for life.  From day one we began to learn to live together and after fifty–four years, we are still learning how to do things together.  You may find this strange but I did not have the nerve to ask her to marry me.  I had asked her whether it was all right to go out with me, and she took it to be a marriage proposal and I was overwhelmed with joy when she announced that we are getting engaged.  It was not by chance that we met.  I had decided to study Biblical Hebrew at Princeton and spent weekends with my uncle, and he took us to a resort with a widow and two daughters.  The widow, my uncle and my aunt encouraged me to take the older girl for an ice cream and from then on our relationship began to grow.  We were of the same background and had no difficulties adjusting to each other. 

God had in mysterious ways brought us together for a purpose.   We may be of similar cultural and religious persuasions but not of the same mind.  We differ in thoughts and temperament.  We do things differently and we criticize and correct each other in love.  We do not compete against each other but encourage and blend our efforts to enhance our marriage.  Our marriage is not based on looks, although my wife was and still is very attractive at seventy-five; neither is it depended on material means, but on doing what is right at a time when marriage is under serious pressure to dissolve.   Moses did allow men to change wives, but Jesus did not and neither did the Creator.  Jesus said this, “at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mt. 19:4-6). I believe firmly that God did the choosing while I did the praying.