Doubt overwhelmed my spirit that year. I was clear that the procedure was necessary, yet the thought of lying again in a hospital bed helpless offered no reconciliation nor consolation for that matter. Like morning dew eclipsed by a scorching sun, my peace of mind was slowly dissipating. This was the same procedure that forced me into emergency surgery in 2005, nearly ending my life. Anyone who knew that surely would have reasoned that my doubt was unquestionably justified. However, the more Pastor Holman exegeted the scripture, the more holes he poked in my new doctrine and I thought to myself I’m so happy to be in Africa right now. I so needed to get away and focus on something else other than myself.
I remember that particular lesson in Matthew 9:24 vividly. Jesus told the men the young girl was not dead, but asleep and they laughed at him. After removing the men from the room because of their unbelief, Jesus took the young girl by the hand and she got up. As I sat in front of that soothing fireplace during our evening debrief surrounded by my fellow missionaries, I knew God was speaking directly to me. With every sip of tea, all I could think about was how powerful that prayer was earlier during morning worship at the Trinity School in Gilgil, Kenya. Before the benediction was given, Pastor Holman asked the leaders and teachers what would they like us to pray for. While my eyes surveyed the dilapidated building, it would have seemed quite plausible for them to ask for more than they did. Maybe walkable shoes for the students, clean bottled water, or money to build a roof on the school. However, none of those thing were desired more than what they would actually request. One of the men stepped forward and on behalf of every individual represented he simply asked for rain. They had been faced with a severe drought the last week or so and their very economy was withering away with the crops. Pastor Holman took a deep breath and with bowed heads and sympathetic hearts we prayed.
Later before assembling for our nightly debrief, we all gathered outside on the patio to enjoy a nice meal together. I ate until I was satisfied, yet my heart was nevertheless troubled by what most of us would consider a meager request. I finished my tea and gathered my things to retire momentarily, but I literally could not move. A still small voice ordered me to be still. A young waiter came by to pour me another cup of tea and still I sat. The sky was perfectly clear accept for this itty-bitty cloud way off in the distance. My eyes were fixated on this tiny cloud for some reason. I finished my third cup of tea and collected my things to leave, but again that still small voice commanded me to be still. Hours rolled by, and one by one everyone left the patio area and I was left there all to myself. I stared unrelentingly at this cloud as it slowly made its way forward - growing bigger and bigger with every push of the wind. The larger it became, the less anxious I felt. What was once a pretty clear sky had suddenly turned gray - consumed by this swelling cloud. Dusk turned to dawn, and before I knew it, this enormous cloud was right above my head. It was like the earth stood still, and the only thing I could hear was the sound of my own breathing as I inhaled deeply. I closed my eyes and exhaled slowly as the manifestation of our prayer answered the request of a people who didn’t doubt, only believed.