Jesus Shows Up

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A few years ago a friend of mine was in Juba, South Sudan with two other Americans who were asked to travel to Torit to see a project some nuns were doing to help over one-thousand children. This is the story he shared. 

Early on a Friday morning the three of us left with three nuns and a hired driver to make the three to four-hour drive through the bush to the village of Torit. In less than 20 minutes, we had left the paved streets of Juba and were bumping along a red dirt road. Twice in our journey, we rounded a corner to find an army tank on the road with the barrel pointed in our direction. Fortunately, no one was “home” in either case.

We arrived in Torit, saw the work, met the Bishop (a wonderful brother), and had a light meal before starting the drive back to Juba. We didn’t know until later that our driver had phoned his boss to inform him that the vehicle was low on fuel (the rental price included fuel). His employer informed him that he had enough fuel so there was no need to purchase any. Honestly, we would have been happy to buy the fuel but we didn’t know this was an issue. 

About two hours into our return to Juba you can guess what happened. As we were coasting to a stop in the hot African sun, one thought kept repeating itself in my mind: “The work is believing the person of Jesus. The work is believing the person of Jesus” (cf. John 6:28-29). At that moment, the work was not finding fuel (but we needed some). The work was not finding cell phone coverage (but we’d really like to have it). The work was not avoiding bandits (but we didn’t want to meet any). The work was believing the person of Jesus (not a promise, principle, or concept). 

As the car rolled to a stop and I opened the door and put my tennis shoes on the red dirt road to stand up, I whispered, “I’ll do the work. I’ll believe (trust, rely on) the person of Jesus. I will do the work.” Truthfully, I didn’t know exactly what that meant or what exactly I should do to do the work. So I walked to the front of the SUV and just stood there “doing the work.” 

We hadn’t seen another vehicle on the road for the past two hours. But standing there, almost in disbelief, I saw a car coming our way (heading toward Torit). I didn’t know what to do. How does one flag a car down in South Sudan? What if the car was occupied by bandits? Should I be waving or running?

Instead, I chose to just stand and do the work. As it turned out the car was owned by the Archdiocese of South Sudan. In the car were a priest and five others on their way to see the Bishop we’d just been with. Of course, they couldn’t have known about our visit, but we had three nuns in full habit standing by the vehicle – it was better than road flares! Immediately, the car pulled off and the occupants all exited and asked if everything was in order (the SUV was just sitting there, no flashers were on and neither was the hood raised). After assessing the situation, they offered to ferry our team about 30 kilometers back toward Torit to a small village where there was cell phone coverage. We could call for help from there. 

Before this plan could be enacted, we saw a second vehicle coming down the road. It was a huge transport truck with red dust swirling behind it. It drove past our SUV and the Archdiocese car and then pulled off the road and stopped, though no one had signaled, waved, or whistled. The truck driver got out and walked up to our group. Before anyone could say a word to him, he spoke and the first words out of his mouth were: “I have 20 liters of gasoline. Would you like it?” “We’d love it and would love to pay you for it,” we replied. The fuel went in the tank and the SUV roared to life and we were on our way back to Juba. All of this took 15 minutes! I came home believing that the work really is believing Jesus. 

Jesus wants to show up in your life. As my friend so aptly says, we like God to provide in 2 ways; the 1st and the 15th of the month!  But, God has infinitely more ways he can provide.

What do you need to be trusting God for?

“The work is believing the person of Jesus.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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