When was the last time you read a book that had a powerful impact on you? I have been an avid reader since I was able to put the written word into coherent thought. Reading is a passion that I feed regularly. From the Bible, to good fiction of all kinds, to non-fiction about life, business and God, to studies and blogs of all kinds I am always reading something. As a child it was a way to escape from the toxicity of my home life, as an adult it is as necessary as breathing to me. So when I read something that is life-changing and paradigm shifting I want to share it with everyone who will listen.
Recently I was given a copy of The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. This book took me into parts and people of the world that have never been really real for me. From the horrors of Somalia to modern China and many places in-between I was transported into world that I really didn’t want to know existed. But God had other ideas.
The story starts in Somalia in the early 90″s. You may remember the devastation that was taking place there. The civil war among many of the tribes had pretty much destroyed the country in all ways. There was no food, no safety and no hope. Enter Nel Ripken (a pseudonym to protect him and others) heeding God’s call and having no idea how far it would take him. The book records his experiences and travels around the world, into the Persecuted Church in Africa, Russia, China, and so many other countries that do not not have the freedom’s we have in the US. His journey was frightening and rewarding. He tells of the millions of hidden believers in China and their challenges to worship and reading the word. A Bible will be torn into sections and passed around (secretly) so Believers can have access. He tells of families torn apart in Russia. He does not make this a pretty book. It is insane. The insanity is not really of God but of satan’s battle to take over.
Following is a quote from the book. If it opens your heart to reading then click on the citation and it will take you to the Book Store. It will be very rare that I make recommendations in the blog for things to purchase but this is a book that needs to be read by every Believer who reads Matthew 28:19, recognizes that it applies to them, and wants to follow through.
And I quote:
Many of the stories that I heard in Russia celebrated God’s faithfulness and provision.
One pastor was arrested and placed in prison, while his wife and children were sent to live (or die) in Siberia.
One wintry night in their remote, dilapidated wooden cabin which now served as their home, the three children divided their family’s last crust of bread, and drank the last cup of tea in the house before climbing into bed still hungry. Kneeling to say their prayers, they asked, “Where are we going to get some more food, Mama? We’re hungry! Do you think Papa even knows where we live now?” Their mother assured them their heavenly Father knew where they lived. For now, He was the one who would have to provide. They prayed and asked for God’s provision.
Thirty kilometers away, in the middle of the night, God woke up the deacon of a church and instructed him, “get out of bed. Harness your horse, hitch the horse to the sled, load up all the extra vegetables that the church has harvested, the meat, and the other food that the congregation has collected, and take it to the pastor’s family living outside the village. They are hungry!”
The deacon said, “But, Lord, I can’t do that! It’s below Zero outside. My horse might freeze and I might freeze!”
The Holy Spirit told him, “You must go! The pastor’s family is in trouble!”
The man argued, “Lord, you’ve got to know that there are wolves everywhere. They could eat my horse and if they do, they’ll then eat me! I’ll never make it back.”
But the deacon said that the Holy Spirit told him, “You don’t have to come back. You just have to go.”
So he did.
When he knocked loudly on the door of that rickety cabin in the pre-dawn darkness the next morning, the banging must have terrified the mother and her children. But imagine their joy and amazement when they fearfully, hesitantly opened the cabin door to find one very small, very cold member of the Body of Christ standing on their front step. His food-laden sleigh was behind him. He held a huge sack and announced, “Our church collected this food for you. Be fed. When this runs out, I’ll bring more.”
Long after I heard that story I kept thinking about God’s final instruction to the deacon: “YOU JUST HAVE TO GO.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO COME BACK. YOU JUST HAVE TO GO.
As it turns out, he did come back. Even so, the instruction is clear. You just have to go. You just have to go. Even if there is no clarity about your return, you just have to go.
The memory of that deacon’s courageous obedience lives on in his story. The story has been told by his family for generations. And the story is also told by the extended family of those who were saved by his gift. The story celebrates one man’s obedience and God’s miraculous provision.
Heavenly Father, how can We say thinks? How can We share as You want us to? Speak to us. Lord! Open our hearts to Your desires. Make it so Lord.