Index Page   The Lord Took Me

 

Shall I leave the Ministry?

At last the deep spiritual distress broke through to the surface. I had already been three years in this parish. ‘If I have to carry on in this way,’ I said bitterly, ‘I shall hang up my clerical robe forever.’

A Christian worker had lent me a copy of Pastor Modersohn’s biography. I had read it and had realised what I needed: a plain Biblical conversion and the presence of the living Lord Jesus in my heart. One thing, however, I could not understand: How does it come about? Must I pray much? I knew how to do that only in the ‘official way’ on Sundays in church attired in the clerical robe. It had always been a relief to me that we were provided with printed prayers and that on other occasions one had only ‘to speak a prayer.’ I was able to do that. But pray – no, that was impossible if praying meant ‘to have an intimate talk with God…’ as we had learnt by heart in school.

Should I read at length in the Bible? Somehow I could not do that either and was always glad of any excuse for skipping the Book. Of course, studying Biblical problems and questions was another matter. I was able to do that. We had learnt that. But, I now discovered, that is not reading the Bible.

What should I do? The riddle of faith still lay unanswered. And it was a riddle made up of many smaller riddles stretching back over the lengthening years of my life. I recalled the message which my mother, on her death bed, had left for me: ‘tell Anton to become a humble missionary.’ No one had known what she meant. Later I was to understand something of what she had intended to convey from the threshold of eternity. But now it remained a little part of the mosaic of my riddle.

Then God Himself intervened. The doctor ordered a complete change for several weeks, and advised me to go as far away as possible. This I was more than willing to do and firmly resolved to stay away until I found someone able to help me. ‘But what if there were no such person in Africa?’ I thought. ‘Well, then I shall have to lay down my office.’

We had a distant relative who once raised a lot of dust because he claimed to have become converted. After that he had resigned from a well paid government position and was now an ‘evangelist.’ He travelled about and preached. Some laughed at him. Others were offended in him; there were those who hardly knew how to hide their hatred of him. Some clergy, too, gave that impression.

‘Well, I shall go to him,’ I decided. ‘If no one else can help me, I shall go to the evangelist Helper.’ The thought frightened me. And yet – and yet…What else could I do?