When God laid on my heart to go to Kenya in Africa I broke out in a cold sweat! Sleep was almost impossible! I kept thinking about the ‘what ifs’! I had a family of five to care for. I had a secure job. I had a hefty house mortgage. I had elderly parents. I was content with life – well almost! Why would God call me to Kenya? What could I possibly do in the city of Nairobi? It was so difficult to even contemplate taking my family to deepest darkest Africa! Yet, God had clearly called, not only me, but my beloved wife Janet. I thought of doing a ‘Jonah’ but realized how futile that would have been. So we went filled with many fears and even more questions. It was a long flight to Nairobi but I had plenty of time to think… question… worry!
After six months or so in Nairobi I found myself in a slum named Kawangware that housed over 250,000 people. I remember walking down through the filth of Kawangware one morning and crying out to the Lord, “why have you brought me, a Chief Town Planner, to a place like this? It is overcrowded and smells and the poverty is unbelievable! What can I possibly do? I am nothing!” Remarkably, God heard my cry and in a matter of minutes His still quiet voice reached my soul. He simply said, “Steve, I want you to be like my Son Jesus. Love these people. I will enable and empower you.” Suddenly I had great love for these poor people. I was burdened for them. I shared with them the message of the gospel. Every week God opened the door for Janet and me to share Jesus with over 1500 children. O how I loved these children and young people. God said go and we went and it was the greatest blessing I have ever had!
We find Jonah this morning on dry land. The word of the Lord came to him a second time. “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. There he proclaimed God’s word just as it was given to him. The city’s residents were humbled. They repented and in God’s grace the city was saved from destruction. Amazing!
We have been given a message by our Lord Jesus to take to the nations. If only we took this serious and were obedient! I have just read from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!”
May you remember this every day as you go forth in obedience to the Lord!