by Gayle Francis
I was blessed the other night as I read chapters four and five in Mark’s gospel. One evening Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and headed toward the country of the Gadarenes. On the way there, He calmed a storm at sea and in his anxious disciples. Upon arrival, He was immediately confronted with a demon-possessed man and delivered him. That miracle upset the people so much that Jesus had to turn around and quickly make the return boat trip. There was still no time to rest because a large crowd was waiting for Him. Before He had a chance to stop, he healed the woman with the issue of blood and raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead.
Then I mentally rehearsed my day. First my devotions were interrupted by a phone call from a friend who explained difficulties over which she seems unable to get victory. I had just returned to my quiet time when the phone rang again. The man for whom we had been “dog sitting” let us know he was ready to come get his pet. During the six weeks that we had kept his dog, my young daughter had become attached to the animal and the parting produced tears. The time needed to calm her torn emotions and change her mind-set took the remainder of the morning. Before I realized it, I was involved in the necessary push of preparing lunch. That afternoon was filled with the line-by-line condensing and editing of study material to be translated into the language of a country where there is a famine of available printed scriptural data. Then there was the dental appointment for my fourteen-year-old son to be fitted with braces. Later more time was spent in working on an article for publication. Evening found us attending Bible study and intercessory prayer time at a local assembly.
The activities of my day seemed pale in comparison to a day in the life of my Example. Although we are in the rainy season where we live, there had been no severe weather storms to calm that day. I had not encountered a demon-possessed man, nor a critically ill woman, nor a death in the family.
In the quietness of the room, I sat with my eyes closed contrasting the two days. I felt that I had not quite measured up. Then I suddenly sensed the whisper of a quiet, still voice within say:
“My child, I was there with you as you helped to calm two emotional storms in lives today. You brought reassurance and comfort to a friend and kissed away tears from the face of one of my little ones. I took time for little children, even taking them in my arms.
“I was with you as you prepared nourishing food for your family. I always enjoyed eating with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. And I always left their home refreshed, ready to minister to those in need.
“I watched you as you edited the material for translation, a means of bringing life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. I have been grieved for these people for whom I died as they are being destroyed for lack of knowledge. During intercessory prayer, I heard you interceding for a country struggling under the bondage of ungodly leaders who rule in a realm of spiritual death. Puny attempts of men cannot stop my Word from penetrating seeking hearts as it is sent forth on wings of prayer.
“Calming emotional storms, feeding the hungry, sending forth life to the spiritually dead–not bad, my child. And now as you have diminished your supply in giving out to others, thanks for coming back to me for a refilling. I am pleased.”
Every so often I seem to go through a time-crisis. Either I feel guilty for not doing more. This causes me to sense that I am not quite measuring up to what is expected of me. Or I feel harassed because there is so much to do and so little time to do it. I remember moving to a new field and having to feel my way slowly in new territory. It felt like Joshua’s days had retruned and the sun was standing still. And then a few weeks later, doors on every hand began to open. I recall remarking to my husband, “Our time-car seems to have only two gears–neutral, where we are standing still; or jet, where we are racing.”
Though living a lifestyle in which I do not have to punch a clock with an earthly boss, I still yearn to be a good steward of my time each day. Here are a few things I saw about how Jesus accomplished so much in such a short amount of time:
- He did not waste time worrying. What trust he had! I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time believing that I would be soundly asleep when a storm was so violent that the boat was already filling with water!
- He kept a good attitude. If all these events took place within such a few hours, how tired He must have been! It would have been easy to have complained. His goal of pleasing the Father and helping others strengthened Him. How much valuable time we lose with negative thoughts. A merry heart does good like a medicine.
- The spirit of wisdom, counsel, and understanding rested on Him, helping him make the right decision at the right time. He had the mind of the Father. We can have the same mind in us that Jesus had to help us know the will of God and to be able to make correct decisions.
- Jesus realized that power had gone out of Him after the woman with the issue of blood touched him. We can be assured that before many hours had passed, He had found time to be alone with His Father. There are times in the press of ministry that we do not have the moments to tarry one hour as we desire. I strongly believe in getting on my knees in my prayer closet. Yet on days when the phone starts ringing even before I get out of bed, and similar interruptions continue the entire day, I remember that prayer is an attitude, not a position. Otherwise, how could we heed Paul’s challenge to pray without ceasing.
To be time-wise, I must have the leadership of the Holy Spirit. There are times I must say a momentary “no” to my family. And I also realize that often what seems to be an interruption is really God’s plan. I desire that whatever I do or say, my actions will be in the name of Jesus.
This article was first published in Peter’s Wife and sent in print in September, 1990. Almost 20 years later and the truths still apply! Gayle and her husband are still involved in serving the country she had such a burden for all those years ago.