Dispelling Doubt

I Almost Missed Out on a Blessing!

Following God is a process of developing a relationship with Him. Although His  gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ is free to us, we are the ones who must choose to accept it. We are the ones who must choose to believe it. When we do choose to accept it and believe it we must understand that we then begin a whole new adventure in trusting God that grows and strengthens throughout the rest of our lives. It doesn’t happen over night. There isn’t a magic formula. As we adjust our lives to be more obedient to Him we grow stronger and more confident in our relationship with Him. It is a process, and as I have stated before, I am very much still vitally in the process. What does this mean? How does this translate into my daily life? It basically means I do not know everything! I don’t have all the answers! I don’t have it all figured out! I still have doubts! But I am learning to trust in the One who is trustworthy. This story actually happened in a village in south central Albania. Despite my doubt and inadequacies God was glorified by His own hand, and that is what it is all supposed to be about in the first place.

One afternoon as our team was  going from house to house in a village to invite people to come watch the Jesus Film in the town center that night we came to a house that had a crowd of people on the front porch and on the front lawn. It was obvious that the house was also full. As I walked up through the crowd a man approached me and said that we could not come into the house because there was a woman dying inside. We gave our condolences, apologized for the intrusion and respected the man’s wishes and left. As we did so we said a prayer for the woman and the family, and then went on to the next house.

We had a great number of the villagers come to the film showing that night, and afterward our team was split up with the guys and girls in two different houses for a meal and a place to sleep. The next morning we were on our way to the next village with all of our equipment tied to the backs of two horses, and two young men from the first village leading us. As I walked along side one of the young men leading a horse I was excited to learn that the night before he had prayed during the film to become a follower of Jesus. He then stated that he was a friend of the family of the woman who was dying the day before, and that he was in her house when we arrived. He told me that the woman had wished that we had come in to see her because she was very afraid of death, and she wanted to here what we had to say. I asked him if she was still alive and he said that she was, but that they expected her to die at any moment. I felt this panic come over me like I had missed an important appointment. I immediately pulled our team together in the middle of the road, including the two young men, and we prayed that God would give the woman life until we could get back to the village. We had already been walking for nearly two hours and we were nearly to our next village, so we decided to trust God to honor our prayer and we went on.

By the time we got back to the woman’s house it was late in the evening of the forth day since our initial visit. I went with only my co-leader, Arnida, and when we arrived at the house we found four people sitting on the front porch. We approached timidly, but an elderly man beckoned for us to come up and sit with them. He said that they had been expecting us. This in itself was mind-boggling to say the least. The man was sitting with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and his wife. All stood and greeted us in the typical Albanian fashion except for the wife who remained motionless under a heavy pile of blankets. As Arnida and I sat down across from her we could see that her complexion was pale and ghastly, and she had very dark circles around her eyes. Her husband explained to us that she had an inoperable stomach cancer, and the doctors had sent her home to die. He went on to tell us that she had stopped eating several days ago. He then repeated what the young man had told us on the road, that she was afraid to die. With tear in his eyes he asked if we would pray for her to be healed.

Now this is were the story shifts to my own lack of trust. I have read over and over again about how Jesus healed people in the Bible. I have read about how His followers also healed people in Jesus’ name, and I absolutely believe every word of it. My problem was in knowing my own weakness and failings, and feeling like why on earth would God chose to use someone like me. I was at a real crisis of belief. I didn’t want to promise the man something that I could not deliver, nor did I want to get his hopes up if his wife was going to die anyway. As you can see even though I have been a follower of Jesus for many years I am still a mess. But… the great news is it is not about me! It is about God and His glory!

I looked over at Arnida who was watching me expectantly. I said to her, “Arnida, I need to have you translate my prayer word for word.” She nodded her affirmation, and I turned to the man and said that I could only pray that God’s will would be done. I then watched as everyone present, including the dying woman,  immediately bowed their heads. I paused for a moment which made Arnida squint up at me with one eye open and say, “You need to pray NOW!”

I am not going to repeat my prayer because there were no magic words, just a simple plea to Almighty God to heal this woman for His glory, a simple prayer broken into short phrases for Arnida to translate. After I finished I was too afraid to look up at the woman, so I slowly opened my eyes and turned toward the husband. I had no sooner done this than he grabbed my hand in a vise like grip. I saw his mouth drop open and his eyes grow wide as he stared in the direction of his wife. I slowly panned the brother-in-law, and sister-in-law before my gaze came to the woman. Arnida’s response was Lavdi Zoti, which means Praise the Lord in Albanian. There in front of us was the woman sitting up from her slouch. The blankets had been tossed off. Her complexion was clear and the dark circles were gone from around her eyes. She ran her fingers through her hair and exclaimed, “The breeze is so pleasant coming off the river this evening.

The husband leapt to bis wife and embraced her with tears running down his cheek. They all hugged and kissed and cried, and then… turned their attention to Arnida and me. The husband said, “You must tell us more about God. We were told that there is no God, but now we know the truth. I was overwhelmed. I was speechless. The power of God that I had had faith in since I was a kid was tangibly manifested right before my eyes. I suddenly felt foolish and ashamed for my own doubt, and my own selfishness thinking that the out come had anything to do with me.

We talked until well after dark. The couple wanted a Bible, which we had back in our gear at the house we were to staying in that night. The husband asked if we could come back tomorrow with a Bible at 8 AM. I really don’t remember the rest of that night. Arnida and I were absolutely buzzing with excitement. She went to the home of the women and I went to the home of the guys to find that villagers  who were followers of Jesus had been praying the whole time that we were at the woman’s home. WOW!!! God has a plan to bring glory to Himself. What a humbling honor to get to witness His power.

The next morning Arnida and I walked up to the house with several Bibles under our arms. We found the healed woman wearing a dress, her hair was done up, and she was sweeping the front porch. When she saw us she stopped sweeping and came down the steps and hugged and kissed Arnida and me. Her husband bound down the steps—yes, bound down the steps—and embraced us and begged us to come into his home. He proudly pointed at his wife and said, “She ate a good supper last night, and a good breakfast this morning. God has been so good to us!”

We entered the home to find the living room packed with relatives and friends—some who had come from other villages. The husband introduced me as simply Robi, and then said, “They have come to here about God.”

I don’t know why some people are healed and why some people are not. All I know is what I witnessed that day. God chose to heal this woman in this small village in south central Albania, and because He did a whole lot of people became followers of Jesus. My process of developing a relationship with God and trust in Him completely took a huge leap forward that day. I pray that you too will see your life in the perspective of God’s Glory.

May God Bless you until next time!

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