Ps. 145:6,7 Men shall speak of thy might… I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy goodness and shall sing of thy righteousness
1 Cor. 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified
It was Friday, the 13th October when we drove down from Bloemfontein to Pietermaritzburg for the camp meeting, or rather Feast of Tabernacles where the speaker, Adrian Ebens, would present teachings in a new framework of thought and uplifting old truth in a new light. As we (me, my sister and another friend) drove along, it became dark as we had driven 6 hours to get there. The Sabbath was approaching and the silence in the car gave me freedom to express my thoughts to the Father as we drove along. I didn’t know quite what to say and prayed along the usual lines. But one prayer was pressed upon my heart. In the midst of the sin sunken walls of the dungeon there was a glimmer of hope that accompanied this thought: “Please Father, grant me a receptive heart.” I felt an unusual joy as we parked our car in the light rain – just in time for the evening program to start with foot washing. It was such a blessing for me and my mother to wash each other’s feet and I noticed that there was no abhorrence in my soul towards this humbling act. Strange… the sermon on repentance and the gospel in its simplest form was preached by Ps Adrian as I had never seen him preach – with energy and zeal that could only be attributed to the moving of the Spirit. It was, after all, the Feast of Tabernacles and the biggest portion of the offerings testified of the measure of the influence moving on our hearts.
The presentation of the gospel was so pure and simple, I could not help but be convicted of the Saviour’s love for us. I stared down at the ground in front of me as the words rolled into my ears and down into my heart. It was like a sweet melody that I have never heard before. I do not remember the words of the closing prayer, but my own prayer was lifted to my newfound Saviour in Heaven: “Please dear Father, forgive my sins, as I have greatly transgressed against You and grant me the full assurance, before I walk out of this hall this evening, that I am fully forgiven.”
Tears streaked down my face. A feeling that I could only describe as peace flowed into my heart. Not being familiar with this and not wanting to trust my feelings, I kept pleading the words of this prayer as Ps Adrian kept on praying. A deep sense of conviction was impressed upon me as I rose from my knees. I was free, free from the burden of sin that I could no longer bear by myself. This experience was all new to me and I didn’t know what to do about it. Even as I am typing this out, I am reliving this event and tears of gratitude is flowing freely. When the evening program was completed, God, in His mercy, sent one of the speakers, Ben Kramlich, to me which granted me the opportunity to reflect upon the sermon. He commented that he had never seen Adrian preach like this before and asked my thoughts about it. I didn’t yet know what to do with the experience and newfound assurance of my sins been forgiven, every jot and title and wrinkle, ALL of it. All I could manage to say was “I don’t know, Ben, this was something else.” His response was, to me, a heaven sent answer and gave me the assurance that I truly had met my Saviour there upon my knees, my prayer was answered and I could start a walk with Him as I had never before. “Welcome to the gospel”.
Wow. I was so excited about this, I could hardly sleep that night. All I could think about was the experience upon my knees and allow the peace flow through my heart. I could only thank the Father and His Son over and over again. Another surprising thought entered: “I can hardly wait for prayer meeting tomorrow morning!” This had never been the case before in my life… And it was exciting, yet strange to me at the same time.
As the camp meeting progressed, I learned that it was my carnal nature fighting the moving of the Spirit of God upon my heart. When it occurred to me, all I could pray was: “Grant me a receptive spirit, Father” knowing that He would in ways that I could not fathom or understand just as yet.
The next morning I was up at 5 am, dressed and got ready for the prayer morning. Songs of praise filled my thoughts and I could hardly wait to walk up to the church. It was the most blessed half an hour of prayer that morning and I had the privilege of sharing it with my mother. Although I didn’t share it with anyone as yet, this verse came to mind.
Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart
This experience was not about how I could share with others how the Lord marvellously saved me from the dungeon of sin,this was about me learning to walk in humility side by side with the Saviour and learning to humbly depend on His providence day by day.
After camp meeting I was impressed to stop wearing inappropriate clothes. I started wearing only skirts and dressed with a decent length, although I still had a few lessons to learn regarding this aspect. The small deed of heeding the Lord’s leading in this manner set me free from so many other thoughts that plagued me when I used to dress up. I could finally rejoice in the simplicity of dressing in a way that would honour my Saviour and set me free from a load on insecurity.
I attended a birthday celebration in honour of two close friends on the eve of 24 October. There was, as before mentioned, a strange feeling in me. I enjoyed the conversation most when we reflected upon the year that has passed and how it shaped our values and personalities for the better, yet I felt it necessary not to share my experience of the turning point in my life. The sense of not wanting to do anything that would displease my Father stayed with me until I awoke the next morning. I felt impressed to reach for the book, Identity Wars, and paged to chapter 14. It was so relevant to what I had been experiencing and gave me words to explain the experience to myself. The prayer of Job came to mind:
Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning according to the number of them all: for Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The Lord had more in store for me. 28 October: I had to write a test that was scheduled on a Sabbath afternoon, which meant that I had to attend church at a nearby SDA Church where the elders would look after me and others who had to wait for the sun to set so that we could write the test. The sunset times was 6:31 pm. At 6:00 pm
Sabbath was closed with a prayer and we were told that we could open our books and study for half an hour and write the test at 6:30 pm. I was impressed not to study, but I wanted to soo badly! There was one chapter that I knew would be asked and I did not have the confidence to say that I knew that chapter well. So I read my Bible. I was impressed with the thought that I could use force and tell the invigilator that I insist on a half an hour after Sabbath and then start writing, but that would be using POWER to get what I wanted. Instead, submitting to God’s CHARACTER, I could trust in His mercy and wisdom for my deliverance. I had done my part thoroughly, and now it was time for the Lord to make a break through. And He did, because I was closer to a full understanding of the Divine Pattern on a personal, practical level.
The next morning I enjoyed unusual freedom during personal worship. For the first time I experienced how the Lord lead me from one verse to another about a question that I had regarding Deuteronomy 4:11. “And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven with darkness, clouds and thick darkness.” The question in my mind was: “If the Lord is light, and in Him there dwells no darkness at all, then why does the bible use the words, darkness, thick darkness to describe what the Israelites witnessed at Beth-peor?
The following verses came to my mind and as I paged to the verses, then the next one would be introduced, in this order: Jn 1:4-11; Jn 3:20; Ps 104:2; Eph 1:18. At that time I was studying the booklet, Smiting Angels, thus the following made a lot clearer to my mind. The application of the message to my life was that my carnal nature could not stand in God’s presence and be lightened up. It perceived the light as darkness since all I was acquainted with was darkness. I needed special intervention in my thoughts and heart to perceive God in His pure character: merciful, loving and righteous.