THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 8 Faithfulness, Power and Transformation
When I walked into the adult Sunday school class to finish teaching the life of Joseph. I almost turned around and walked back out. A deacon and another Bible teacher were sitting in the class. But I had agreed to finish the quarter. Walking out was not an option.
The church leaders in the class were my biggest problem. They often interrupted me to explain to the class what I had just said. It was exasperating. Why had they asked me to teach if there were people in the class who could teach?
One day, a couple sitting next to the deacon said, “Would you be quiet? We did not come here to hear what you have to say.”
I held my breath for an ugly confrontation between the couple and this deacon. The deacon did not reply. I finished the lesson without interruption. He never attended my class again, and the other rude Bible teacher left as well. I breathed a sigh of relief.
At the end of the quarter, the superintendent had not found a teacher. He asked me to continue and handed me a new book. The same scenario happened for the next three quarters. I really liked teaching, so I did not mind.
Finally, he asked me what book I would like to teach next. “The Bible,” I said and wrote forty lessons from Romans. Freed from the constraints of teaching from a book about the Bible, I learned three important things. God’s faithfulness to answer our questions. The power in the gifts of the Spirit. And how God’s thoughts can transform a human life.
For years a nagging thought had disturbed me. Where is God in the faith I embraced? The principles of faith I had accepted could be found in any secular self-help book. For more than a decade I strived to understand the Bible’s message. Jesus always answered the questions of his disciples, and I had a lot of questions, but no answers for a long time.
One Sunday, my pastor walked among the congregation praying for various people. He walked past me on the way back to his pulpit and abruptly stopped, turned around and walked toward me. He picked up my hand and prayed, “Please give her what she has looked for these many years.” The prayer encouraged me. The pastor did not know me. His prayer had been led by the Spirit and that told me God knew I was looking for understanding. But another decade passed before God answered that prayer.
As I taught others, the multitude of questions I had asked God were answered through the gift of tongues. Monday mornings, I began preparing my next lesson with research and prayer. As I prayed in tongues, I became keenly aware that I was receiving something. Once I had an idea about what I should teach, I put my ideas in an orderly outline. I often finished those outlines with a completely different lesson that was so much better than my original thoughts. It happened so often I concluded some of the lessons I wrote were an interpretation of tongues. With each lesson, my understanding of God deepened.
One of the church deacons brought a disheveled man to my class. His hair was a mess, his dirty clothes were stained, and ragged tennis shoes untied. He shuffled to a seat and sat down. I welcomed him. He stared at his shoes during the lesson. He returned the following Sunday and became a regular attender.
One Sunday, I walked into class and noticed he had combed his hair. The next Sunday, he came with his shoes tied and shirt tucked in. The following Sunday, he had added a belt and clutched a Bible. Every Sunday his appearance and countenance improved until he was one of the happiest best dressed men in the class. The things God gave me to teach had transformed him inside and out. By the time I finished teaching Romans he went from a depressed mess who did not care about himself to a well-groomed enthusiastic disciple of Christ.
While teaching Romans a phrased intrigued me, “walk in the steps of faith which our father Abraham had…” Rom 4:12 NKJV. Authoring a book never entered my mind when I decided to title my next series Steps of Faith.
TO BE CONTINUED…