Have you ever prayed a prayer and then been amazed at how God answered it? Sometimes it’s not in the way we expect at all. However when God does answer, we must be ready to hear His promptings at ALL times. Be it in a place of joy or a place of fire!
As you read this incredible story, reflect on those in your life that you have been praying for. How can you speak the word of truth in desperate times to them? It’s only when we face the most extreme circumstances does the truth of the Gospel come into focus.
We are God’s mouthpiece for this generation, His hands and feet wherever we are – Whether with Crocodiles, snakes, friends or enemies, know that God has placed you there for His purposes.
The transcription to the teaching starts here:
I just want to share one small experience with you that I had. As I said before, I wanted be this servant and I’m still working towards it, that brings the gospel of salvation, and “Lord” I’ve said so many times “wherever you send me I will preach the gospel.” Sometimes we’re so spiritual, sometimes we give such great lip service yet when God brings our heart into the place of action we back off and say “Not right now Lord. Maybe in a week’s time. Let me have some more preparation time.” You know what I’m talking about? We are all in a continual learning curve with God and thankfully God is the kind of God who is continually taking us by the hand.
One of these occasions was as I was on fire for God and I said “Lord, I want to be an evangelist for you. I really want to share the message of the gospel. And I had been trying to witness to my family and they were mocking me and rejecting me and I still continued to pray for them. And I said “Lord, I really want to be this messenger for you.” So I went back to Zimbabwe, the country where I’m originally from in Africa and my family is still living there. And that morning I woke up and I said “Lord I really want to do something effective for your kingdom. I want my life today to count for something in the kingdom of God. It doesn’t matter that my family is unsaved but you are the God who saves. So that morning we were going to go on a nice little holiday and went to the lake called Kariba And this is a great big lake, one of the largest man made lakes in Africa where they just literally filled up this expanse with all these trees and everything with this water possibly about 60, 80 years ago, and we went along, a bunch of young people, my sister and her husband, my brother, his friends and my cousin. And off we went.
We jumped into the boat and we started towards the gorge, about two and a half hours on a speed boat. Here we were merrily fishing away, and that morning when I woke up the Holy Spirit had spoken to my spirit and He said to me: “My faithfulness will your shield and I didn’t know what that meant but I said “Great Lord, I’m going to preach the gospel and You are faithful to your word!” It’s amazing how often we misinterpret the scriptures of God. Anyway, we went out on the boat and we went fishing and we didn’t catch anything and I began to sense this uneasiness in my spirit but I actually ignored it. We carried on for about another half an hour and I said “I think we need to start going back because it’s getting late and we must get back to the island where we were staying.” We came out of this gorge and we hit a great storm. In the boat that I was in, was my sister and her fiancée at that time and myself.
I was the only Christian at that time and this lake, what I forgot to tell you – the most important part – was that this lake is totally crocodile infested. In seventeen days 39 people were eaten by crocodiles. So you can imagine, it’s not the nicest things when you’ve been caught in this storm and the possibility of your boat capsizing. And that’s exactly what happened. We got caught in this and eventually with the storm and the wind and the waves the whole boat flipped over and here we were in the water with the crocs, with the storm, with this upturned boat. And I remember as we landed in the water they shouted to me “Pray, pray, pray!”
Now I want to advise you, this is not the way for evangelism but it was the way that God was able to break the barrier of lip service in my life to bring me into a place of saying “God, with my heart I serve you, not with my mouth. Now I remember as they cried out “Pray, pray, pray!” and being the person that I am I shouted “No, pray yourself! Everybody for himself”. Well, they said “We don’t know how to pray” so of course I began to pray and eventually after half an hour the capsized boat sank and it was now getting dark and the other boat we couldn’t see, we didn’t know where that other boat was, and here we were left in this water, with these crocodiles, with ourselves, with the rain, the lightning and the thunder.
I remember saying in my heart “God, you closed the mouth of the lions for Daniel, you can close the mouths of these crocodiles for me. Father you’ve said, your faithfulness is my shield. “We began swimming and I remember we swam right behind each other and literally on the right hand side of us, only a few meters away from us was one of the largest crocodiles I’ve seen. Now I tell this story very boldly today but I can promise you that my heart was beating a hundred and eighty miles an hour. Inside that water I was shaking like a leaf but in my spirit I knew that God was faithful. We were swimming, we swam for about two hours, we didn’t know where we were swimming, we didn’t know where we were going to spend the night and eventually we came to this camp of trees that had been standing in the water. Now you can imagine they’ve been there for 60 years, they are hollow, they are not the strongest trees, and remember climbing up this one tree, and I got on that one tree and my sister and brother-in-law were down in the water and I thought “Great, I’m safe” – until the next wave came and that tree went…
Anyway, my brother-in-law swam to another other tree and he jumped up to this tree and he said, please swim over here, and after a long debate I got back in the water and I swam but now I couldn’t reach on the top of the branch because it was quite a bit out of the water. You know, God is so faithful to get us moving. I think he just stuck a little bit of tweak under my foot and I shot right out of that tree so fast that I nearly knocked them out of that tree. And here we sat and remember saying “Thank you lord that You are faithful, that You are our shield, that you are our bulwark”. We sat there for a few hours and my heart was getting tired and my body began get tired, and I had tried to share the gospel with them and in my heart I said “Lord, please wake up Suzette Hattingh”.
I don’t know if any of you know Suzette, but if you do that she’s known as a woman of prayer. So I said “Lord, please wake her up, I can’t pray any more, I’m really exhausted”. And God being as faithful as he was, woke her up in Kenya and said to her “Pray now, Gayle’s life is in danger”. And Suzette prayed all those hours without knowing what had happened. The duration that we were stuck there, eleven and a half hours on that tree. And then I thought this is my opportunity to share the gospel.
And the Holy Spirit spoke in to my heart and said, “Are you really going to be a bond servant that is set apart for the gospel of Jesus?” So I said to my sister and my brother-in-law “Listen, I’m really happy to be in this tree tonight” By now they thought I had really lost all my marbles, and they said “You’re going nuts!”. “No”, I said, “I’m really happy”. They said “Why are you so happy?” This is the way I don’t advise you to do evangelism, unless the Holy Spirit leads you. I said “If this tree collapses, and there is a very real possibility and we’re going to land on that water and the crocodiles are going to eat us but I’m going to heaven, and I’m really sorry for you guys because you’re going to hell.” “No!”, they said, “We don’t want to go to hell, we want to go to heaven. How do we come to heaven?” Well, that was my opening, and I said “Only through Jesus”.
And here I had the privilege to lead them to the Lord, because of our situation, and God saved us. I remember coming out of that situation, I said “Lord, looking back, it wouldn’t have been the way I would have chosen for them to get saved, to get to know you. Couldn’t you have found a simpler way to Lord Jesus?” And again in my heart the Holy Spirit spoke “I’m not looking for lip service, I’m looking a heart of action, a spirit of vibrance, a life that is prepared for the Master to prepare the way to set the destiny, to set the course, to give the direction and for us as a servant to go and say “Yes, Lord. Whatever you say Lord”. Now it does not mean that many times we won’t have difficulty with it, but God is faithful.