Episode 5 in a weekly series in which music industry personality and Worship South Africa exco member Julita Kok reports back on a recent SA road trip in which she handed the steering wheel over to Jesus
There is a huge difference between reading about God and His character in the Bible and experiencing it for yourself. To see Him “in action” is simply amazing. And what it does, is to help us understand the God of the Old Testament much better. Once you have experienced Him in your life, you can identify so much better with many of the stories of the Bible.
The Old Testament (even the New) is full of stories of people. Some would call it history, and it is, but to me it is much more than history. It is the stories of the walk individuals had with God. Much like our walk today. And within these stories I can see my own walk with Him. Having to trust, obey, repent, love, forgive, humble ourselves and to believe. Truly believe that He is God. I learn so much from the Old Testament. After 38 years of serving God and reading my Bible, I still learn. Every day there is something new.
On this past trip around South Africa, I again saw how God is interested in the stories of individuals. Individuals who may be of no importance to the world, just normal people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Joseph, Moses, Noah, Ruth, Esther and so many others. Normal people like you and me — until God touches their lives and anoints and appoints them. They can then never be insignificant. They bring change to people’s lives and to the world. In ways we sometimes view as insignificant until you see the results.
We all know the story of Billy Graham. An usher who decided to make room for Billy in an overcrowded crusade. A crusade which later presented the world with one of its greatest evangelists. But a doorman was used by God for that very important decision. What a man of God that usher was!! Hearing and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit!!
So, let me tell you about a few “small” encounters I had on this trip of mine. Encounters just in the passing by. Of no significance, it might seem, but I know better. For nothing and nobody who God touches is insignificant.
On this trip I visited a certain city in South Africa (not mentioning names to protect the privacy of individuals I mention) for the first time in my life. What a beautiful place!! City (buildings) is in shambles, but the whole area is spectacular. The different beaches are simply a display of God’s splendour. On one of the afternoons there, I took a walk on one of the beaches. Breathtakingly beautiful. As I am walking, I soon realise everybody on that beach knows each other or they are just extremely friendly, because everybody greets everybody. So I pass a gentleman and his kids and he greets me friendlily. I stop and ask how they are and we start chatting for a few moments. I tell him I am from Cape Town and how much I am enjoying their beaches. We say goodbye and I continue my walk. I am not 10 steps away when I hear the Holy Spirit say: “Turn around.” I want to talk to Him. Oh my, when I feel the stirring of the Holy Spirit like that, nothing can stop me. I run back towards the man I just left and I just splash it all out: “God says you are not to leave this city [God named the city]. He has called you for a time like this. That which you and your father prayed for all these years are about to happen and God is going to use YOU to bring this about.”
This man looks at me and tears fill his eyes. “Do you know who I am?” he asks. “No, I do not,” I answer. And then he tells me he is the pastor of a local church. His father started this church many years ago, being called by God to this city. But this city is running on empty. Everybody is moving away and crime is a real threat and he and his wife were thinking that maybe they should move too. Leave the church and everything and start afresh. He tells me about how he and his father used to pray for revival for their city and about a very specific outpouring they asked for. But it never happened. So they are ready to throw in the towel.
And here, on a beach, during an afternoon walk with his kids, God sends a stranger to tell him otherwise. It just blew me away again. How individual people are important to Him. I am expecting to read in the news of a revival in this city soon. I still have no idea who this pastor is. Still do not know his name or the name of his church. That is of no importance. What is important is that he heard God’s voice in mine and that he will stay to bring change to that city. An ordinary man chosen by God to turn a city around!!! Just like people in the Old Testament.
On another occasion I was having breakfast with a woman and God told me to tell her my life story. And if you know me, that is the one thing I do not like, because it goes so far into my past, that I do not even remember all the detail anymore. But the part that was important was for her to hear that I was in my middle forties when I stepped into what God has called me for. (At the same time…..I use this as Christian jargon…stepping into our callings, for I do believe we step into that from the moment we are born and then we are being prepared all our lives for that specific moment we take possession of our promise in God.)
So she listened intently to what I told her about my journey and how it came about that I took possession of my dreams and destiny only in my forties. We said our goodbyes and that was it. Next morning I received a call from her that after 22 years of dreaming and having a vision and preparing for it, she was now ready to roll it out. I brought hope and encouragement with my testimony and she immediately stepped out with it. That even inspired me. After 22 years of waiting, she took action when the Holy Spirit prompted her. Never too late. Even if you think God has forgotten about your dream or even if you have forgotten, if the dream is from Him, it will happen. Even after 22 years.
And so I can go on with testimonies of how God touches lives and how important individuals are to Him. It is not only the big crusades and events and well-known preachers that bring change to people’s lives. It is you and me, hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, living our everyday lives, who also bring change. Like Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. He influenced her and she went back to her town and changed her town by being a witness to what she experienced. She brought the town out to Jesus. A seemingly worthless woman to the community, but not to Jesus!!! Oh no!! He knew who she was as He knows who you and I and the next one are.
A God of the individual. Never underestimate your testimonies. They are a light unto someone else’s path and will be used by God as such. All you need to do is be available.
So I continued my journey from this city with a joyful heart, knowing that God knows its people’s names and that their souls are in good hands. It is their choice, but they will get the opportunity to choose. God sure has His eye on this city on a hill.