Martin is a young man currently on BCC’s international exchange program. He works and lives here closely with many other Christians of the same age. Challenges can mount up quickly, as well as some unexpected reactions.
It is a damp and grey afternoon. The rain has stopped but the ground is still wet. It is quite calm and it looks like it’s shaping up to be a quiet evening. I’m on my way to dinner. Today’s work is finished and carried out to the standard expected of us.
I reflect once again on our good effort despite the weather. It went fairly well. The day was ok so far; I just wish my colleagues had been a little more keen. I did a good job today. I am among the few certified tradesmen and I have good leadership skills. If only they had just done what I told them to right away; it wastes so much time otherwise. If only they had humbled themselves a bit more. I brace myself as I take the first steps down the stairs toward the dining room.
I don’t need a prayer meeting
After dinner I head over to our house to shower and make the final preparations for the evening. There’s Bible Study tonight. I just hope that the boys aren’t going to have a prayer meeting afterwards. Something tells me that there’s going to be exactly that. I know I need to pray, but I do it better alone. I can pray by myself after the Bible Study.
It’s now seven o’clock and Bible Study is underway. Only one thought is going around my head: I hope there won’t be a prayer meeting afterwards. I could just go straight to bed and pray by myself. I don’t need to pray with the others. Do I? It’s not for sure that there will be a prayer meeting anyway. I hope not.
The teacher wraps up the lesson. Now I just have to stick it out until a little after ten. It’s then that the messages about prayer meetings usually come.
Pling! Oh no. A message. And it’s a quarter after ten. That can only mean – yep, prayer meeting for the boys at ten thirty. Are you kidding me? I almost have to go or else I’ll never hear the end of it. And deep down inside I know that maybe it’s good for me to humble myself before my friends and colleagues. And before God.
The prayer meeting
I walk away. I’m not thinking about anything in particular; everything is just whirling around in my head. I think about nothing, and at the same time everything. I drag my feet on the way to the living room, and sit down on a leather couch there. I think the façade is working. I may smile and look pleased, but I’m poor and empty on the inside.
We stand up and start with a song. I sing quite well, in my opinion, so I sing wholeheartedly. So does the guy next to me. But he is singing in his own language. I feel it boiling up again. My gaze darts between him and the songbook. I become hot and bothered – why in the world can’t you sing in the same language as everyone else? It would be better if you just remained silent. Of course I don’t say that, but I can’t concentrate anymore. I stop singing.
Then it hits me like a bolt of lightning. What am I doing? Who do I think I am? I am far from being as good and perfect as I want to be, all these thoughts that come up are just disgusting! Full of evil, mold and rotten odor that comes out in every situation where I am not focused and concentrating. At every possible turn I find a way to judge the others, put myself above them, or drag my colleagues through the mud.
I feel judged
The song is over. But we all stay standing. I feel judged. Crushed. Am I really so horrible? Is it so easy for me to judge even my best friends? Is it so important for me to be something? Who is it that I’m living for? Myself? I can’t continue like this! Tears run down my face. I need to pray!
I step forward and stand in the middle of the ring. It’s completely quiet. Now I’m supposed to say what I need prayer for, but I can’t make a sound. I’m crying. Tears are running down my cheeks. My otherwise proud face is buried in my hands and all my greatness crumbles down with the humiliation that comes from standing before 40 boys and crying. I open my mouth and try to say something, but the only thing that comes out is: “I need help!” The rest is lost. Lost in the prayers of the 40 faithful friends that stand around me at this moment – they are praying with all their might that it will succeed. I pray as well!
That I can be free from judging everyone I’m together with, free from high thoughts about myself, free from standing before the face of man and caring about what they think, and to really come into the service of the Holy Spirit every day. Only then can I do everything with my whole heart as a disciple must and as it’s written in Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” That means every single thing I do! Everything I say, think, and do. Everything we do is to be done as to the Lord and not to men.
Faith is born
The voices around me fade. The hands drop. I dry my tears and go back to my spot. There is an indescribable peace in my heart. A desire to serve and use every single opportunity! Every single thought will now meet resistance! From now on the war is on! Faith has really been born in my heart!
But how do I fight against myself? For me, it requires full focus every day. In every situation I have to pray to God for help and strength – not just in the huge, really obvious situations, but in the small seemingly insignificant ones as well. The situations that come up when the screw just won’t go in, when the hammer hits my thumb with full force, and when communication is just not working as it should. Insignificant situations? Far, far from it! “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10.
Thank You God that You gave me grace to put my life in order and to overcome! I open my Bible and read. It’s become a new book. I’ve had this Bible for around 3-4 years and I’ve read it consistently, but never before has it been so living as it is now. Something new has happened this evening. From now on I am resisting – I have received new eyes! I can see! I believe in victory!