For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9
In my last post I promised to narrate two incidences in my life where I have witnessed God’s grace – here in the form of His unsolicited mercy – in my life. Well, as I was meditating on these experiences I came to realize I had spoken hastily: there are actually many more occurrences in my life where I have seen the Lord’s grace working in my life than I can narrate. Probably these two stood out more prominently, but the others are no less spectacular.
Time and space does not allow me to narrate both incidences here, so in this post I will narrate only one. If I find the grace to narrate the other one, I will in a later post. Everything, though, is geared to give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me begin by saying that I was educated in a British school. That doesn’t mean that I went to Britain, no. But our African school had a British principal and we were taught by many British teachers. I remember names like Mr. Kirkwood, Mr. Shaw, Mr. James, Mr. Pragnell, and many others whom I cannot now recall. This school and the teachers built into me an appreciation of the things of God, for which I am eternally grateful. The teachers weren’t necessarily saved, but they had that deep-rooted tradition of worshiping God. Every day we would sing Christian songs, and pray. This kind of lifestyle had a big impact on my later life.
But not everything about the British is praiseworthy – and I hope by saying this I will not be receiving a summonses from The Hague! The flip side of my British upbringing was that I took on a certain trait of not wanting to be disturbed. Later on in life I found that I highly valued my privacy, something that was set to put me on a sure collision course with society at large because Africans generally have few reservations or barriers in their relationships.
It was with this rather egotistic mindset that I moved to Musoma in 1993 and the first morning after I arrived I was subjected to the rudest intrusion into my privacy that I had ever met. Exactly at 5 a.m. I was woken up by the loudest noise I had ever heard at that hour, which I later learned was a Muslim ‘crier’ calling the faithful to prayer over a loud-speaker.
I had never been subjected to such an experience before and I was livid. What right had anyone to wake me up at such an unholy hour? And if he had any right to yell into a microphone at that time, I also had the right to sleep!
Mind you I was saved, but had you shone a flashlight into my face at that moment, you would have turned to stone. I could feel my eyes and they were icicles! I lay there in bed seething and thinking of which appropriate authority I should go see first thing in the morning. At that time I wished I was a lawyer – then I could know the precise clause in the Constitution which guaranteed my right to sleep without interruption! The thought even crossed my mind that I should write a letter to some newspaper editor to highlight this great social injustice.
But the morning light dispersed many of these thoughts and I was not even sure then how I would present my case to a civil authority. I decided to persevere and await the end of the matter. One way or another, I was certain there would be an end to it!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, let me say that I really suffered as my ego was pounded morning after morning, day after day. I could have moved to another location in town, but in Musoma there are mosques strategically situated in every part of town. The agony went on for quite a long time. I don’t recall having the grace to even pray about the situation. Whenever my thoughts turned in that direction, I would be anything but a fine, young, born-again Christian man.
Then one day, I woke up and it was gone! The condition that had troubled me for so long had simply, in an instant, vanished from my heart. I remember clearly that I just woke up and I felt this deep peace in my heart. It was like someone had come in while I slept and cleaned my heart – literally. I hadn’t realized how much of a burden I had been carrying! I found myself having the softest, most loving thoughts towards the Muslim crier. At that moment I truly loved him. I felt clearly in my heart that I would even welcome it if they were to affix that loud-speaker to my bedroom window and direct the horn towards my bed!
And that has been it up till today. I have my challenges with regard to the Muslim faith, but I have never had a problem again with the crier. Never. Whatever time he decides to make his move, or however loudly he calls out, whether he be far or near, my heart is always at peace.
I want to make it clear that it is not that I decided to accommodate the situation, or something as simple as that. No. This was a supernatural transformation that occurred in my heart one morning; and it was so tangible that I knew immediately the Lord had touched and helped me.
I did mention that I did not pray about this temptation. That does not mean we should not pray. I would not encourage any such thing. Indeed, we should pray very hard to be delivered from temptation and trials. But I am sure God delivered me even without me praying just to show me His abundant grace, which is not dependent on a formula or any principle.