After the lovely story of Paul’s road I’d like to share a modern version that I received from Cor van Rooyen about God’s interventions in a person’s life (author unknown and names changed):
I was in my workroom turning a piece of wood into something useful when my wife came in. She never ever comes there, but the day she walks in there normally means trouble.
“Look here,” she said and handed me a letter. My first thought was that it might be a summons. Sometimes things didn’t go so well with us.
When I opened it I saw to my relief that it was an invitation … to a wedding.
And Terry was the bridegroom.
Counting on my fingers I saw that this would be Mrs Terry number eight. And I turned a little green around the gills when I realised that it was Mrs Terry number one who was now becoming wife number eight.
Terry’s cell phone went to voice mail, but I couldn’t wait.
I had to hear this from Terry himself. I jumped into my bakkie and sped off. The brakes screamed around the corners until I got to Terry’s house. Before the bakkie even came to a standstill, I was past the dog and ran into the house. I found him out back in the lapa, Terry that is, not the dog.
“What is this?” I asked without greeting and pushed the invitation under his nose.
“O, that” said Terry when he saw the card. “Liesel and I are getting married again, that’s all.”
“Married” said I, “married! You who can’t leave any woman alone!” I’m shocked and angry and a couple of other things I can’t even express at what Terry wanted to do with Liesel again.
He saw this.
“Sit, pal” he said and pushed me down into a chair.
I sat. And I waited. And I said to myself, something has happened here and I don’t have a clue what it is or was.
“You know Piesang had invited me to go hunting”, Terry started.
I knew about it. Piesang and I had arranged and planned the whole thing, but we hadn’t had a chance to talk since their return. Piesang had sms-ed and said that everything was fine and we’ll talk later and so on.
“Everything was on the house. Apparently, Piesang’s business paid for everything. I haven’t been so excited in years. I haven’t had a chance to go hunting for some time and the safari was on the border of the Kruger Park. I oiled my gun and prepared everything that one should take when you go hunting.
We left early last Thursday. Gun, coolbox, everything we needed. The road was fairly quiet and Piesang didn’t hurry. We had time to chat. We talked about everything under the sun, but not about church and that kind of thing. Piesang knows what I feel about that.
On arrival I could see this was a well-organised place.
Neat. Some other men arrived later on and I thought this must be a fine safari. The farm must be quite big to accommodate so many hunters. I sat on my own tinkering with my gun. I couldn’t wait to get an impala or kudu in my sights. The others looked at me strangely, but didn’t say anything.
Some time later we had to go to another camp for some administrative arrangements, which was what I understood Piesang to be saying. We could walk there. When we got there, I could see we were on the banks of the Sand River.
It was nearly sunset.
Just as the safari guide started talking, a lion grunted upstream from us. Cold shivers went down my spine. This is Africa, I thought to myself. This is the BUSH.
The safari guide waited until the lion had stopped welcoming us. When he had moved on a little with the administrative arrangements – of which there were indeed quite a few – I realised this was not your ordinary safari. This safari started getting a churchy kind of smell. Indeed, hunting was not mentioned at any stage at all, it was church and faith and stuff!
I was annoyed. I looked at Piesang, but he pretended not to see. I settled down to listen and I must say, the safari guide who not only was a member of the special forces, but also a retired army chaplain, knew what he was talking about. What he said was based on his experience as a recce in the bush and on the border. He then introduced the other speakers to us: Arrie and Anton and Gerrie and an older blind man as well. Uncle Marius. He did the sound and recordings.
I was there, and I couldn’t leave. Piesang had the car keys.
I couldn’t leave on foot, because of the lions. I resigned myself to staying for the two and a half days of church and more church. I’ll think of other stuff. Maybe it won’t take so long and time would pass quickly.
First, I listened half-heartedly. Then I started thinking someone must have tipped the speakers off about me, because they were talking about all the things going on in my life as if I had told them myself.
Suddenly I was no longer annoyed at Piesang. Something was happening to me. First I didn’t want to acknowledge it.
Later, when we were alone, I told Piesang what was going on inside me. He grabbed me and gave me a massive hug on the spot. It was the first time that a man had hugged me in my life, but it didn’t feel at all wrong.
That hug said: “Well done, pal. I’m pleased for you, pal. I’m there for you, pal.”
You know, they talked about everything. Your marriage, your finances, your sexuality and much, much more. As I listened I, realised these guys had come a long way with the Lord. The Lord had brought them to the right road after they had lost their way along all the wrong side roads. They were people like you and I. Nothing affected or ‘you have to be like me’ kind of thing.
In-between there were hikes in the veld with some of the presenters, game drives, looking at the stars and quiet time in the veld.
On the second day the guys lent me a Bible. Because I hadn’t expected the church thing, you know. Saturday evening was the cherry on top. We had communion and I was totally overwhelmed.
There and then I decided to go to Liesel in Bronkhorstspruit on the way back. There was a couple of things I wanted to say to her.
That wedding invitation is the result of what I wanted to say to her. The children are just as pleased.”
There was something in my eye.
“Pal, you’re looking like a different Terry”, said Terry and wiped some wetness from his eye as he pushed a new Bible aside.
I pulled him up from his chair. “My pal,” I said and hugged him.
May you and I do the same wherever we go.
Where can you make an impact on someone else’s life?
Father, You are almighty. Nothing is impossible for You. With everything that is in me I want to witness to You wherever I go. Please help me stand against the attacks of the world. Please help me to be a vehicle that You can use to make an impact in the lives of others. Amen