“As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord,” (Acts 13:42-44).
We had this happen over the summer: they asked us to read them the Bible!
We were down in our summer village , where we go every year. And they asked, “Why don’t you come down to the piazza in the evenings to read the Bible and explain it to us?”
It was back in 1989 that we started going there, and I have to say that little by little we have seen interest in God’s Word slowly growing. It’s been joyous to watch.
But never did we expect to have the people ask to hear the Word!
No, the whole city didn’t gather, nor even nearly the whole city. But night after night, Hubby and I had a group of about 15 gathered in the main piazza for the reading of the Word, and to hear it expounded. With even more listening from balconies. They listened attentively, asking many questions.
It took nearly 30 years. 30 years of patient sowing on our part. And on the part of others, as well. For there is a tiny church there, and has been for 95 years. The members total 4 elderly folk: all well over the age of 70. Plus the pastor and his family who travel an hour to bring them the Word on Friday evenings. One of the reasons we go there is to encourage these brethren.
30 years of prayer and waiting — by us and lots of others — for the people to allow the Lord to work in their hearts. And when this happened, we were in shock, wondering if we’d heard correctly. When, in all actuality, we should have thought Finally! It’s happening!
Because sometimes, we don’t truly believe for the things we pray for.
We don’t really expect them to happen, though we hope they will. And when they do, we can hardly believe it. Sure, a part of that is because things like this are miracles. This is definitely something that only God could do. And God’s miraculous power leaves us in amazed wonder, as it should. But our faith is often much smaller than our prayers.
So may this wondrous work the Lord has brought about teach us:
- To exercise our faith so that it may match our prayer requests.
- To believe that nothing, absolutely nothing, is too difficult for the Lord.
- To wait patiently, because the Lord’s timing is not the same as ours.
- And to remember that he is always at work.
Rejoice over what the Lord is doing. These informal gatherings are now continuing under the pastor’s care. One person plants, another waters, but it is the Lord who gives the growth.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor, (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).
And please pray with us that the Lord will make it possible for us to get down there more frequently!