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When God Comes Through The Gates

When God Comes Through The Gates

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When God Comes Through The Gates

Lunghezza:
365 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 23, 2018
ISBN:
9780463538111
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A book about a life of miracles, anecdotes and dangers in Africa and further afield - and the unexpected excitement when God takes an impossibly ordinary life and makes things extraordinary.

This is the author's spiritual record of coping from birth to death, through more than seven decades which he trusts will help to strengthen the reader in whatever stage of life he or she might find themselves in an increasingly unstable world of vast population growth, political antics, and moral disintegration and uncertainty.

"FAITH WHICH GOES FAR BEYOND THE POWER OF NATURAL CAUSES WHEN IT IS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD."
(John Wesley, c.1750)

God can do it for you!

About the author

Ron Wesson qualified as a chartered quantity surveyor in 1968. While practising in Umtata, South Africa, he began preaching and travelling in Africa. After training in Australia, he and his young family returned to Africa in 1974 to establish a ministry among the poor.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 23, 2018
ISBN:
9780463538111
Formato:
Libro

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When God Comes Through The Gates - Ron Wesson

Foreword

I write primarily in obedience to the Lord’s word to me: Write the things that you have seen (see Revelation 1:19).

Thirty years ago, my brother-in-law, Cedric, started urging me to write down the regular flow of events in our lives.

Suffering a minor stroke in 2004 brought me to realise that if I did not soon put pen to paper, an opportunity to write for others on a similar pilgrimage would be forever gone.

Also memory gets increasingly blurred with the passing years. Not only blurred, but sometimes just plain wrong. I honestly remember places, times, names, and people, only to find that others do not remember them the same way. I can only ask for the readers’ indulgence where I may have gotten things wrong in a ‘senior’ moment!

All my life I have been enormously blessed by the true stories of the spiritual walks and ministries of the Lord’s servants of earlier years (e.g. Lettie Cowman’s book about the life of her husband, Charles) and I am so grateful to those who wrote them down.

Scripture references throughout are from the King James Version with the thee’s and thou’s, etc. changed into current English. This text and language were the common usage of my youth (1940’s following). At that time we all generally understood the meaning of the old English of the K.J.V. Bible alongside the changing English of everyday speech as we have it today.

RON WESSON (2016)

P.O. BOX 16, UVONGO BEACH, 4270, SOUTH AFRICA

[CfC Ministries – info@cfcm.co.za ]

Preface

"Lift up your heads, O gates … and the King of Glory shall come in"

(Psalm 24:7).

We each have only one life and that life is radically affected and effected by how old we are when we open the doors to the King of Glory and the potential for a life spent on the altar.

Even God Himself, in identifying with sinful humanity, rules and reigns in one sense from the altar of the cross. Amos says, I saw the Lord standing upon the altar (Amos 9:1).

When someone opens the gates of their life to the Lord when they are very young, God takes that life and multiplies it far beyond their wildest imagination. And God works over a whole lifetime, a lifetime all too short to capture the immensity of God’s workings in us.

Life is too short to write all I want to write; paint all I want to paint; say/preach all I want to say; worship all I want to worship; be all I want to be; enjoy all I want to enjoy.

But then we don’t only have one life—we have all eternity.

"To God be the glory,

Great things He hath done;

So loved He the world

That He gave us His Son."

And we have all eternity in which to share God’s agony and ecstasy of His redemptive works in mankind.

Oswald Chambers (his wife actually) writes, The whole great world’s anguish, forced through the channels of a single heart.

Sometimes the music of life drowns out the lyrics of life. We are so busy humming the tune that we never get to grips with the message in the words.

I was 71 before I began to analyse the beautiful words of the hymn ‘To God be the Glory’. Before that, the music and tune had drowned out the meaning of the lyrics.

We can be so busy experiencing life that we miss the greater message of life.

"If any man … open the door, I will come in"

(Revelation 3:20).

BOOK I

Glorious—Exactitude

Glorious—Exactitude

"If you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord … to observe and to do all … I command you … all these blessings shall come on you … Blessed shall you be in the city … in the field … the fruit of your body … and the flocks … your store … when you come in … when you go out … The Lord shall open to you His good treasure … and to bless all the work of your hand"

(Deuteronomy 28:1–12).

Conditional blessings are guaranteed.

And we get comfortable in our comfort zones.

And the word is true.

But there is another side.

In Book I, GloriousExactitude, I have focused on the glorious experiences and expectations of a life, reasonably lived according to our interpretation of the Lord’s will—blessing upon blessing, miracle upon miracle.

The principle:

"Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

In Book II, More GloriousInexactitude however, I have recorded some of the trials and tests that came in spite of my attempt, always to live according to His will.

Oswald Chambers in Still Higher for His Highest, says:

"I abhor myself for being so obstinately certain that I knew … now I see" (emphasis added).

See what?

"My eye sees You. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5, 6).

God’s purpose in Job was to make Job see Him.

What we cannot explain brings us, at the last, to see the Lord in everything; and not only to see Him in everything (Romans 8:28), but to see Him! When we don’t know ‘why’, we know ‘Who’.

God’s primary plan for his perfect servant, Job, was not immediate relief (1:8–22)—blessing and relief came later (42:10–12). To see God was the now plan! The trials were not a curse, but a blessing.

Chapter 1

A Xhosa’s Question

"Whom shall I send? Who will go?"

(Isaiah 6:8).

During my upbringing, I was often in a farming community in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in the 1940s. It was a time of abject poverty for Xhosa farm workers and their children. They lived in round mud and wattle-walled huts with leaking thatched roofs that were black inside from smoke. Everything—cooking, sleeping, living—was done on the floor around a central fireplace with no privacy. Goat skins served as beds, and blankets were used for warmth and clothing. Sometimes little lattice designs were lime-washed around the upper inside walls to cheer up an impossibly dingy atmosphere. White farm children were not allowed near the ‘compounds’ but often ‘inadvertently’ wandered into such huts while hunting with ‘catties’ in the dense thorn scrub. The farmer owned the land and the hut, and the ‘boys’ and their families could be instantly evicted. This was the region in which white 1820 Settlers from England had fought the 19th Century Border wars in continual and bloody conflict with local Xhosa tribes. Enmity and distrust were ingrained on both sides.

Hunted birds and hares were transfixed on sticks and roasted over small fires, feathers and all. Often camaraderie would develop between white and black ten-year-olds during wild and wonderful escapades in the bush. Although devoid of sweets, meat, and minimal ‘luxuries’, it was a free and idyllic existence, marred only by the necessity for schooling during term times for white boys.

Often there were terrible fights amongst the Xhosa workers—especially on beer-drinking nights—and calls would come to the farmhouse for emergency and rudimentary first aid to be given for skulls split by axes or pangas…or help was given as a birth took place on a grubby blanket or skin (old cowhide) laid out on the floor.

It was here, aged ten, that I first tried to persuade my farmer uncle to preach the gospel to his workers, but many farmers thought black people had not been chosen by God and therefore couldn’t be saved. Heathen behaviour often promoted this view. Drunkenness, immorality, ancestor and spirit worship, and extreme, unpredictable variations in behaviour were prevalent. There was a big contrast in behaviour between white people and black people in those days

Having been carried on a Xhosa maid’s back as a baby, I was always attracted to the African people, but got drawn away into the sophisticated, colonial ways of an English-speaking culture, eventually studying in Edinburgh, Scotland, and returning to South Africa in 1968 to begin practising as a Quantity Surveyor. While managing a branch for a firm of surveyors, I lived in Umtata, capital of the then Transkei, and here again I came face to face with the contrast between Western civilisation and the apparently simpler culture of African life.

The distant hills of the Transkei were lined with huts and kraals—all relatively untouched by Western, so-called ‘development’. One day as I travelled along a misty back road on surveying work, the sun broke through and a beautiful rainbow hung over a Xhosa who was walking on the road. I stopped, gave him a lift, and told him about Jesus, and in a little while, he gladly accepted the gospel. As we continued our journey the new convert pointed to the endless hut-covered hills and asked, Who will go to all these people and tell them what you have just told me? That question has never left me: Who will go?

Back in my Umtata home that night, I knelt down next to the dining room table and deliberately prayed, with tears, the prayer of Psalm 2:8:

"Ask of Me and I will give you the heathen (unsaved) for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession."

Chapter 2

A Bad Start

"I will restore health unto you"

(Jeremiah 30:17).

I always battled to breathe.

After suffering bronchial pneumonia (twice) and severe measles in my first year, I had to fight a constant battle to stay alive—even to draw enough air into my lungs—not the kind of feeling one gets after hard exercise but rather like trying to breathe through a damp cloth.

Fifty years ago there was no effective relief for chronic asthma, even of a temporary nature. Horrible ‘remedies’ were tried continuously, many of which directly aggravated an allergic chest condition.

Under Grandmother Stratford, I would have to sit cross-legged like a Buddha with a towel draped over my head, perspiring in the mini-sauna of a boiling solution of Friar’s Balsam or other ‘remedy’. Dampness is very often a direct cause of asthmatic congestion and I would soon be battling desperately to breathe. Raw onion juice, snuff, eucalyptus-based ointments, and all kinds of herbal concoctions very often caused rather than cured asthma. There were many appointments with the doctor and a number of visits to the ‘herbalist’ (there were no homeopaths in those days) after which various leaf teas would be prepared.

An even more deadly complication was the common cold—every infection of the nose and throat spread to my lungs and within days I would be almost unable to inhale at all. This would last for weeks—all of which I would have to spend on my bed, battling for air. Being in a bedroom meant continual exposure to house-dust, feather pillows, and quilts, which further aggravated the situation.

I almost never slept clear through the night. With the rising dampness of evening came the tightening of the chest. In times of wet and rain, weeks would be spent away from school. Exercise brought on sharp and impossible tightness, and I would collapse—anywhere to lie down but half sitting up.

Well-wishers would crowd around with all kinds of questions and advice. People would blame my nerves and offer all kinds of ‘expert’ information. More and more, I developed an automatic defensive response against the host of well-meaning people and their ‘certain’ cures and advice. Sometimes we can only face things alone.

When I was about 12, my mother brought home a rubber-bulb-and-glass device and a bottle of ‘Bronchovydron’—a liquid bronchodilator—a new invention in the 1950s. After experimenting and overfilling, I soon managed to spray the vapour into my mouth and to breathe in a small amount. Never would I forget my first clear breath. The memory still lives with me today—to be able to breathe!

By now, though, I was far more fragile than other boys of my age. Although the new ‘atomiser’ and ‘aerosol’ age would bring new freedom to asthmatics, that was only to come years later. My body would never recover the robustness of the normal, healthy boyhood I had lost. But I certainly tried. For a few years I played cricket, rugby, and tennis, and seemed to be growing stronger—always with an atomiser wrapped in a handkerchief in rugby or tennis shorts.

But at the age of fifteen another illness broke in my body.

I grew increasingly weary and exhausted. I could not walk home from school without sitting down in the road for long rests. My friends no longer wanted to walk with me—I tried to keep up with them but it was hopeless. In desperation, I played rugby like a madman but would have to lie down afterwards, exhausted and retching.

By now, of course, a heart beating desperately to get enough oxygen to the lungs over many years had caused chronic high blood pressure. Coupled with this, the mass of medication (much of it experimental) had led to a breakdown of my kidneys’ ability to cope with foreign poisons in my system.

Slowly but surely my body was deteriorating. Strength began to fail. Walking to school and home again became a nightmare. I had to sit down on my school suitcase to rest every fifty metres or so. This was no longer just shortage of breath, but an extreme weariness which would plague me my whole life, and which few people would understand.

In desperation, I tried to take long runs into the bush or down into the nearby Horseshoe Valley with my collie dog, trying to build up my strength. I began to play sport fanatically in an effort to ‘work through’ the weariness.

And then the vomiting started. Unceasing biliousness.

I played my last rugby game in the winter of 1959. I was scrum half to my lifelong friend Cecil Peasley (fly half) with Harold Peasley (on the flank). After the match, the retching started in earnest. I did not know it but I was dying.

"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"

(Psalm 23:4).

Chapter 3

To the Edge and Back

"Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life"

(Job 2:6).

1959 was a life-changing year.

Dr Immerman, my mother, and many others believed I was conniving to get out of school. Sitting in the doctor’s surgery the afternoon after the rugby match, the doctor hinted as much. However, when he took a urine sample and added something to it, his demeanour changed. The test tube was seventy percent full of a white precipitate—albumen. My kidneys were hardly working. My whole system was poisoned.

Within hours, I was lying in hospital.

And the retching never stopped—bouts of convulsions day after day. The doctor and specialist gave me six months or less to live. Day after day the nurses tested my urine and the albumen level rose until almost the whole test tube was full of it. Very little was being filtered out by my kidneys.

Steadily I began to drift into continual sleep interspersed with nausea and retching. The name meant nothing but Bright’s Disease or nephritis was the diagnosis.

And there was no cure…no medicine or treatment.

Except for one course of action—and that was experimental.

The brilliant specialist, Mr Sunn, ordered a regime of total abstinence from food with no salt and only water to drink…lots of it!

My body had by now swollen up to almost twice its size with face and limbs bloated by unpassed water and poison.

In addition to the starvation and water diet, I was not allowed off the bed—not even for bathroom breaks. To a naturally reserved and shielded fifteen-year-old, this was a nightmare. Using the ‘bottle’ was bad enough, but the bedpan! All in an open ward of twenty adult men with dubious plastic, half-pulled curtains for a semblance of privacy. For weeks I refused to use the bedpan and as a result an enema was ordered! And everyone knew what was going on—it was all so public.

Hunger is a terrible thing.

To a hungry teenager food is a matter of life and death.

I began to steal food off passing hospital trolleys, and secreted away any food that was brought in by visitors. One well-meaning person brought a packet of biltong (pure protein and salt)—absolutely forbidden. I would eat mouthfuls of banned food under the cover of the blankets and then the vomiting would start up again, hour after hour with every stomach muscle aching from continual abnormal use. When there was nothing left to bring up, I would start vomiting blood.

Slowly life was drifting away.

From complete lack of nourishment, my limbs began to shrivel up. Although my face remained swollen, my legs and arms were like sticks. Secretly slipping out of bed, I found I could no longer stand, let alone walk.

Drinking water wouldn’t have been too bad had I not been expected to drink so much of it. But the worst was the distinctive smell of the plastic glasses (not the refined plastics of today). I was like a pregnant woman…everything caused nausea—perfume, cigarette smoke (not banned in those days), soap, and powder.

People came to visit; hundreds of people with all kinds of expressions of love. One man even brought fresh honeycomb from his beehives—somebody else benefited. On either side, the patients waited to see what would come—one is very popular when one has lots to give away.

School friends came. Ministers came. Family. Unknown people. But I could not keep my eyes open—I just wanted to sleep. One aunt reminded me that I would have to send thank-you notes to everyone who had visited—a fabulous way to cheer up a half-dead teenager. The beach-like glare of ward lights tortured sensitive, tired eyes. Snatches of movement through the curtain cracks passed unnoticed from semi-conscious oblivion.

One night my whole local church youth group came to visit. The curtains were, by this time, pulled around the bed as it seemed the end was near. I slept ninety percent of the time. They had come to say goodbye. One by one they appeared through a gap in the curtain, filing past with only a word of greeting allowed. People came and went—I remember very little.

Around this time, increasingly, people had started praying for me in churches all over the country. Even unsaved school friends had started to pray.

At Cambridge Baptist Church, the pastor, ‘Uncle’ Bennie Howes-Howell called the whole church to special prayer after the morning service. Split into small groups, each went to pray in a different part of the church and hall.

During rare moments of lucidity, I went through my own private valley and walk with God in the desperate illness. This was not just a critical illness, it was becoming an encounter with eternity and with God. ‘All things’ were working towards God’s eternal purposes. From childhood, I had been conscious that I was different—I had a sense that God had a special task for me. Yet now I was dying. The doctor kept extending by weeks and then months the day when I might be well enough to leave the hospital. I did not know that I would probably never get well again. This was necessarily kept from me.

But it was still a time of heart-searching.

In desperation one morning I prayed, Lord, if you will heal me, I will give my life to serve you.

It was done. A commitment had been made. A vow had been taken.

My mother was receptionist to Dr Immerman. On the Monday morning after the special prayer in the church, the doctor excitedly told her, A miracle has happened—the albumen has dramatically started receding—the level is dropping.

Everybody was excited. The doctor, a gentle non-Christian Jew, could not believe it. Day by day nurses showed me test tubes containing less and less albumen until it cleared up altogether.

God had healed.

Slowly I started to eat again—fruit juice and fruit, carbohydrates—but no salt and protein. Gingerly I was taught to stand and then to walk again.

After three months, I was taken home, still very weak and semi-invalided.

Months passed and my strength slowly returned. Sport for me was a thing of the past (or so the doctors said). I was never to walk fast or run again! I had missed a year of schooling.

But God was in it all. I had made a vow to God.

God’s healing and His call on my life came out of this illness in a miraculous way. God knew I needed training. I had learned to live in the public eye twenty-four hours a day in the humblest of circumstances. I had also become able to spend days at a time on a bed—often the only ‘desk’ available to me in later years as I prepared messages, wrote prayer letters, did administration, and even counselled people in a hundred shanty homes across Africa, in tents in the bush, or in huts in Transkei.

Today, fifty years on, I am often found sitting crossed-legged on my bed, reading my Bible, praying, or writing, with admin work scattered around me on the duvet cover.

God had brought me back from the edge!

"O Lord … You that lift me up from the gates of death"

(Psalm 9:13).

Chapter 4

Journey Into Life

"Whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"

(John 3:16).

Sorry, no blinding flash. Yet perhaps, sort of.

Amongst many

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