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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)

TITLE: Deepest darkest Africa … but what about the woman next door?
By Suzanne R


“I am willing, Lord. I will go anywhere, do anything, write powerful books and live for you. MY will means nothing to me. I only desire YOUR will for my life.”

“That’s the attitude I love to see, dear girl. Do remember, though, that I know your heart.”

“My heart is willing. Lord. I will go to deepest darkest Africa for you. I’m willing for my body to be sawn in two like those ‘heroes of old’.”

“Are you willing to go to that cranky lady next door and invite her over for coffee? Look, she is in her garden right now.”

“How embarrassing! She’d only bite my head off. Remember the evening we had a group of friends laughing outside and our music playing loudly? Please….”

“Are you really willing to go anywhere? Are you willing to have my heart? I am not willing for any to perish, and that lady needs to hear the gospel. I’m only asking you to go next door, not Africa.”

“Lord, I’ll try. At the moment, though, I just don’t have time. Those books to challenge the church, convert unbelievers and raise up an army of missionaries for Africa need to be written. I must set aside time every day. My time is precious.”

“Oh, daughter, you make me laugh. I can use your writing, but it is ultimately my Spirit that moves in people’s hearts. For now, just stick with the FaithWriters’ weekly challenges – you need more practice. Stay focused on me, and when the time is right, I’ll give you the topics and the content for those books. Right now, pour your energy into the job you have. For a start, how about showing real love to your boss without grumbling?”

“My boss? You know her heart too, and it is not nice. We workers have to support one another. We need to communicate about what is happening – it’s not really grumbling. Please understand.”

“Watch your attitude, daughter. Yes, I know her heart, and I care about you both. Remember, though, that you are my ambassador. My will is that you love her and constantly go the extra mile. Now, remember you were asked to pray about a leadership role in that Monday night Bible study programme? What are you doing about that?”

“Mondays evenings are fine, Lord. You know that I just can’t handle the early morning leaders’ meetings on Saturdays. It is my one chance in the week to sleep late. I need adequate rest – it is almost a medical need – please don’t deny me this. Besides, I thought it better to hold off in case you send me to train church leaders in Africa sometime soon.”

“I know your needs, beloved daughter. I designed you, remember? My will is that you trust me. If I call you into this ministry, be assured that I will provide rest for you at other times. My will is that you train your spirit like an Olympic athlete trains his body. Your early mornings are nothing compared to athletes in training. I am concerned about the training of the church leaders in Africa, but right now, I want you to train Christians here at home. Perhaps I’ll send some of the people you help equip to Africa, and since you have that good job, you can financially and prayerfully support them.”

“Oh Lord, it is too hard. I AM willing to be your woman, to have your heart, to empty myself of my will and live according to your will. I would willingly do the big things, but as for the little things, I struggle.”

“That’s more like it, beloved. Don’t worry – it isn’t all dependent on your willpower. My Spirit works in you to will and to act according to my good purposes. I love your willingness to live my way, even though you struggle at times. I know that you will do what is right regarding the things we’ve discussed, even though you feel far from confident. Later, after you’ve proved faithful in the small things, I just may ask of you something big. In the meantime, could you use the word ‘I’ a little less often and focus on me. After all, I am the ultimate ‘I AM’, and you certainly need my Spirit if you’re to live my way. Now go, put on that coffee, and ask your neighbour over.”

“Yes, Lord. Please help me.”

“Good girl. I will fulfil my purposes for you, don’t worry.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lori Othouse 02/28/05
This is a great illustration of "Bloom where you're planted", which is sometimes the most difficult, especially when we have larger visions and dreams. Great writing!
Lynne Gaunt03/01/05
I enjoyed this very much. I could be looking in a mirror for parts of that conversation. So wonderful to be reminded that God will help us serve him - if we'd only get out of the way and let him do it (guess that's the hard part!).

Great entry, keep up the good work!
donna robinson03/04/05
The character here was one that most of us can relate to. I think it is the woman next door who is the greatest challenge sometime! I love the human qualities you gave this person
Debbie OConnor03/07/05
Oh Suzanne, this is GREAT! I loved every too believable (and familiar) line. Awesome job! If the competition wasn't so incredibly tough you would be in the book. A winner with me. You might try to have it published elsewhere. I think many will relate and benefit from this truthful, well written piece.