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Termites, Scorpions, and the Promises of God (by Jason Rishel)

During the different times I spent in Burkina, I had several opportunities to preach and teach, especially among the teens. Perhaps the most memorable time was the first evening of the teen camp. As soon as I got up to preach, a swarm of termites (drawn by the light) invaded the building, covering everyone and everything and forcing us out into the dark night to finish the service. After we calmed down and finished the service I went back to the place I was staying. There I found that the room has been invaded by several large scorpions, which we had to trap and remove before we could go to sleep!
I remember laying there that night and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?!” In High School, I had drawn out a game plan for my life. It involved college, scholarships, a career, and a successful life in America.  Africa and an unusual number of bugs had no place in that plan. But as I spent time in the ministry in Burkina and allowed God to work in my life, those plans began to change. As I saw God work and saw lives being changed through the Gospel, I wanted to be involved. And though I knew I really had nothing special to offer, no great talents or abilities for God to use, I chose to have faith that my mighty God could use my life if I would allow Him to.
That night, as I drifted off to sleep, I prayed, “God, no matter what happens or what I face, I will follow you. I cannot trust in my plans or my circumstances anymore. All I have to trust in is You and Your promises.” And I slept well knowing that His promises were all I would need.
So often during my travels, I have lost that simple, childlike faith. As I preach and present at churches to return to Africa, I slip into my cold, calculating mindset. “If I call churches and set up meetings and travel and preach, I will get the job done!” But in my zeal to do the work, I fall back into trusting in my own strength and ability. Thinking that, somehow, I will be good enough to get the job done. But when I get stuck in the mud and don’t seem to be going forward, I am reminded of that night in Africa. And I remember that all I have is my faithful God.

 

Perhaps that has been the most important lesson on the road for me. The lesson that without God I can do nothing. But with Him, I can do anything. A lesson to always hold fast to His promises in faith, nothing wavering.

 

John 15:5,7 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing…If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

 

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