I just received a letter from a dear girl I met last summer at the Tabor English Camp. She has written to tell me that the troubles and searching of this last year have led her to God. “I got the present of God,” she wrote me. “I’m Christian. I believe. During E[nglish] C[amp] I decided to be and I am. It is true. I am his daughter.”
My heart is flying. Here is a beautiful young girl, flowering into womanhood, with a mischievous smile and trusting heart. God has been working, and He has made her His.
Two years ago this girl, whom I’ll call Marketa, had heard very little about God or Jesus. She had a friend in the youth group who invited her to camp last summer. Seeds were planted. She heard about Jesus; the cost of her sin; the grace of our God. She experienced the love of a vibrant Christian community. I shared some of the pain and mistakes of my own life, and told of God’s provision. She listened, and, like Mary, pondered these things in her heart. I received one letter from her over the school year and prayed sporadically; meanwhile the youth group in Tabor continued to be a resource of community and teaching. Now she has entered into new life.
In John 4, Jesus has finished a long, hot day of travelling. He sends His disciples into town to grab some food while he rests by a well. I can guess how he felt, because it’s how any human would feel: tired, hungry, and ready to cash in and call it a day. You know that point when you are just trying to survive until you can go to bed? That’s where Jesus is at. Except that Jesus has disciplined his body and his mind, and he has thirty years’ practice at tuning into the Holy Spirit and obeying. So when the Holy Spirit sees an opportunity, in the form of a lone woman, Jesus is ready for it.
Their conversation is odd, even awkward. But when all is said and done, the woman finds that her soul has been exposed and forgiveness has been found. She bounds into town and returns with an entourage of curious people. Meanwhile, Jesus’ men have returned with food. They’ve just been in this same town, but they were focused on food, not people. They are bewildered by the abrupt change of plans as their quiet evening turns into an evangelistic crusade.
I relate to the disciples. My personal needs and interests, my to-do list, often veil for me what is really valuable. When I consider Marketa, though, and the new power and hope in her life, and God’s joy in her as His daughter, I am motivated to change. What is all the daily work and toil for, anyway, except to make room for eternal things to move? I pray that God will help me trust Him for my needs and stand ready to do His work.