Pastoral Perspectives


When I pray, I often end my prayers with the phrase “Nevertheless, Thy will be done.” It is something I learnt over the years and I use it hoping that somehow, my ‘grocery prayer list’ would still be in line with God’s will. I had never given much thought to it, really.

Last year, our family had to look for a new helper and so we began praying and sourcing for a suitable person. After four months of sourcing, the Lord answered our prayers and the person arrived on Easter Sunday morning. Two weeks went by doing all the paper work and the necessary procedures that was required by the law of the land.

By the second week, we heard news that our helper’s mother was not doing very well as a result of the separation from her youngest daughter. As usual, we prayed and committed it to the Lord because we believed that our prayers were already answered. We got what we asked for- a helper! By the third week, we learnt that we had to send her back. I couldn’t believe that after all the prayers and procedures, we had to come one full circle.

I was confused, agitated and even angry that our happiness was short-lived. I tried to rationalize and bargain with God because it was tough being a mother of two young children and a full-time church worker. After much protests and disappointment, we arranged for her to go back, hoping that she might be able to come back after settling her mother’s anxieties. As the days progressed, it became evident that she would not be able to return. A lot of questions and thoughts ran through my mind. I became very upset.

A week before her departure, I sat down with her and was sharing some of the things about our faith.  By nature, she doesn’t say much but she decided to share what was happening to her life. She came from a Roman Catholic background and in the five weeks she spent with us, we prayed with her almost every day and got her to read the Bible as well.  We talked about confessions and praying to Mary and to Jesus. At the end of our sharing, she said this to me. “Aunty, after seeing how you all pray every night and how you read the Bible, I have decided that I will also do the same. I now realize that I don’t need to wait till I see a priest to confess my sins but that I can talk to God directly every day. I also realized that I can talk to Jesus directly and not through Mary. When I go back, I will look for a church as well.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Slowly I began to realize that God was doing “His will” and accomplishing something wonderful out of the situation. My sinful nature continued to protest and I even complained to the Lord “but I paid a lot of money to bring her in”. A still, small but sharp voice reminded that that money also came from the Lord. In the end, I had to truly repent for trying so hard to get my will done. The irony of my prayer “Nevertheless, Thy will be done” came back to me.

We often pray for missions- out there that God would bring people to Christ through the programs that we have planned. We also often pray that God would use us to reach out to people. I never imagined that God would use our situation to bring someone to Christ. Had I known, I admit, I would have been very reluctant to participate. After all, I would have wanted to do it my way. When I look back, I thank God for working out His purposes through our family to bring someone to Christ.

“I believe God intervenes in the lives of every one of us. He speaks to us in different ways and at different times so that we may know He is the author of our very personality. We may not fully understand His design as it takes shape, but we should not conclude that His design lacks a directing plan. We must recognise that divine intervention is nowhere near as simple a thing as we might imagine. For it to sustain us and give us staying power-to help us remain firm and see God’s hand at every stage of our lives- it must look quite different from what we would usually prescribe for ourselves. It cannot be only a journey of unmistakable blessing and a path of ease. To allow God to be God, we must follow Him for who He is and what He intends, and not for what we want or what we prefer.” (Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver, 11, 14.)

Isaiah 5:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Truly, God’s ways are higher and better. I can only say that I am so glad that He is God and still reigns!

Ms Loliro Sani

March 6, 2016