“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27, NIV 2011).
Jim Hines is an obstetrician and chief of staff of a practice group in Michigan. Years ago he served God as a healthcare missionary in the Central African Republic. He tells the story of a single missionary woman who was afraid to sleep in her house because there was a large tree nearby that she was afraid would fall on her in the night. She sent word to the missionaries to come and cut down her tree, but no one with such skills was available. Dr. Hines, the obstetrician with a 12-inch chain saw, heard God speak and traveled to the village to confront a 90-foot tree. Somehow he was able to convince many of the village men to help him with their small axes. Gradually the trunk was severed. When the tree began to sway, Jim realized that it might actually fall on the house they were seeking to protect. So, being a wise physician, he had someone climb 30 feet into the tree with a rope and then connected the rope to his truck. They hacked the trunk a bit further; the tree began to sway more. Jim asked his children to move away from the house, just in case. At just the right time, Jim began to accelerate his four-wheel-drive truck in the direction opposite the house. He had all things under control, just like any physician would, when the tree began to fall, lifting his truck off the ground as it fell toward the house he had come to save. Thank God it missed most of the house, though it did clip the edge of the garage where his children had been standing. The missionary woman is now sleeping fine.
Has God ever called you to work for Him outside your comfort zone?
Sometimes we hold back on God when we feel we don’t have the skills, knowledge or experience to complete His task with excellence—like we are afraid that the outcome of our efforts may cause God to shake His head in disappointment. None of us wish to screw up God’s plan, especially if we might hurt others in the process.
But there are times when God calls and doesn’t care a whit that we are missing the skills to proceed. There are times when, for God’s reason, He wishes us to follow Him where we are not qualified to go, where we are likely to fail if the outcome is left to our ability. Such times are no time for our fear of failure to hold us back. It is certainly fine to stare at God incredulously on such occasions and ask, “Are you sure?” But when He nods His head, it is time to follow, especially when it is highly unlikely we can accomplish it on our own.
Jim knew nothing about cutting down trees, but God landed the tree. Sometimes God wants to be the only one who can make the tree miss the house, for His glory.
Let me be wise, unless you lead me to follow foolishly.