Saturday, May 10, 2014

Help - I Need Grace

"Stephen, a man full of God’s grace…." Acts 6:8a

An appointment had been arranged to meet Iman at her home but when I got there no one was there.  I waited in the car for fifteen minutes, left a message on her phone and then returned home. The next day she called and apologized and gave her reason.  Another visit was rebooked.  She opened the door with some nervousness. I knew she was embarrassed about forgetting before.  This was my opportunity to show grace and show acceptance of her.

The next day I visited Masooma who is often quite frazzled emotionally. The visiting time had been arranged but when I knocked on her door she didn’t answer. The same thing was happening two days in a row? Impatience started rising up.  Putting my ear to her door I could hear the shower running.  After waiting fifteen minutes I knocked numerous times and then left a message on her phone.  Still no answer.  Disappointed I walked back to my car. I was just about to drive off when she called.  Returning to her suite I prayed for grace and forbearance.  Masooma  braced herself for an angry reaction. Praise God He helped me.

Karima didn’t show up at my party even though invited. No apology was given. She would have been very upset if I had done the same to her. When I saw her next I asked what had happened. Someone else… her “enemy”, was invited, too, and she couldn’t bear the sight of him nor be in the same room as him, so she decided not to come. I had to watch my words and attitude carefully as I responded to her.

Zahra, a Muslim background believer, shared with me her observations about a certain ministry situation. She was closely watching the leader’s response to the injustice and insensitivities which he was the brunt of.  That wise leader knew there is more lasting spiritual work   accomplished walking through suffering with grace and humility than when everything appears successful. The people we are ministering among are watching us.
Perhaps we may be wrongly accused, used, attacked, spat on, rejected, ignored, despised, betrayed, swindled, unthanked, misunderstood, or deported. Such situations loom painfully magnified to us but much bigger things than those is when a loved one has been murdered by a zealous misguided Muslim; something unfathomable and unknown to me personally.  My mom and dad, who were pioneer missionaries among the Somalis, walked through numerous stressful situations. We were not stoned, like Stephen, but I remember many stones being thrown at us and at our house. Not only Somali Muslims and believers watched their reactions but I, their child, watched them, too.  I am so grateful for their godly gracious lives. They loved the Somalis unconditionally. Learning how to be a gracious Christian is really picked up more by observation and experience than from books, dvds, or classes. Sometimes I blow it in ministry.  I haven’t graduated yet from the School of Grace. I am the undeserving recipient of abundant grace from Jesus. Thank you, dear Savior!  Grace is a beautiful gift to receive and to give.

Dear heavenly Father, help me never to stop giving gifts of grace to others. Make me a woman FULL of grace. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.