Sovereignty of God
Please excuse my tendency to interrupt my series on raising a New Covenant child. I ran across a story this week that I could not help but draw reference to in regard to our study on the Spirit’s role in your child’s life. The story is a lesson your children need to remember, sales prescription review, and apply. The following quotes and references come from Jim Cymbala’s book, “Fresh Power.” (Pages 115-120)
Back in 1921 a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa. They met up with another couple, the Eriksons, and together they sought God’s direction. In their early efforts to accomplish God’s will they were rebuffed immediately by a tribal chief who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. These two families prayed, but seemingly to no avail. The only contact with the villages was a young boy who was allowed to sell those chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood who was a tiny woman decided that if this was the only African she could talk to she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she did.
But there were no other encouragements. In the midst of these seemingly fruitless efforts malaria continued to strike each of them. In time the Eriksons decided they had to leave and return to the safety of the mission station. But David and Svea Flood remained on all alone.
Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of this primitive wilderness. When the time came to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood died 17 days after the birth. In response David Flood simply snapped inside. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife and took his newborn down the mountain to the mission station. He hastily gave his daughter to the Eriksons and snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the nearest seaport, rejecting not only his calling, but also God himself.
Within eight months both the Eriksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at the age of three.
This family loved the little girl and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in the USA and changed from missionary work to pastoral ministry. Aggie grew up in South Dakota, and later attended a Christian college. While at school she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.
Dewey and Aggie experienced a wonderful marriage, along with sharing ministry together. Before long Aggie gave birth to a daughter, and then a son. Dewey became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area.
One day though, through the incredible working of the Spirit, a Swedish religious magazine was unexplainably put in her mailbox. She had no idea who sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her “cold.” There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross, and on the cross were the words SEVA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and went straight for a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she exclaimed!
The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to Africa. They birthed a daughter, but the mother soon died. But in the midst of all these circumstances a little African boy had been led to Christ by the mother. And after the missionaries left the boy grew up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article went on to say that gradually the young boy won all his students to Christ…the children then led their parents to Christ…even the chief became a Christian. Today there were 600 Christian believers in this African village. All because of the sacrifice of this one missionary couple (David and Svea Flood).
This obviously had a tremendous impact on Aggie; these were her parents the magazine was reporting about. Years later, Aggie was finally able to afford a trip to Sweden. Of course she wanted to meet her father more than anything. And sure enough through her diligent efforts she was able to locate him. He had remarried and had fathered four other children. He was an old man though, dominated by alcoholism, and had just suffered a stroke. Aggie was warned by his family that he was still very bitter about his experience with God in Africa. He had made a rule in his family, “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me.”
Aggie was undaunted by his statement and set out to see her dad and tell him about all that God had done. She walked into the neglected apartment and approached the 73-year-old man lying on a rumpled bed. “Papa?” she said. He turned and began to cry, “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.” “It’s all right, Papa,” she replied taking him gently in her arms, “God took care of me.”
Her father instantly stiffened; his tears stopped, “God forgot all of us! Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He then turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and then continued, “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one (Romans 8:28). You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are 600 African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed for the first time. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.
Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return home. A few weeks later David Flood, the missionary, went to be with the Lord, but not without the joy of having his last moments with a loving daughter.
In your teachable moment, read this story of Aggie Flood to your children. When spring comes take your children out to plant some vegetables, flowers, or even a tree. Tell them that when they share Christ with any of their friends it is like planting a seed. They do the planting, but the Spirit of God does the germinating (I Thess. 1:5). Sometimes the fruit can be seen right away, like a tomato or rose. But sometimes a seed takes a long time to develop, like a giant oak tree. Tell your children it does not matter when the fruit can be seen, the point is to plant and prayerfully wait on the Spirit to do His work (Romans 8:25-26). In due time fruit will come to the surface (Matthew 13: 23). For David Flood it took his entire lifetime to see the fruit of his labor. For Aggie, it took the intervention of the Spirit to locate her father, but because of Him, she witnessed a renewal of her father’s faith before he died.
Romans 8: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 13: 23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
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. 1: 5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Romans 8: 25-26 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait
eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know
how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to
deep for words