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Leaving It All Behind

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In July 1945 I was preparing to take my mother to our own village for my father had died that month, and I wanted my mother to have the comfort of being among her own people. My half-brother had come to Sangha, Africa, to get us and escort us along the way. He gave us a warm welcome to his home. The Lord helped us greatly on that long journey, but Satan was waiting for me back in the old home town.

At first I had few acquaintances, but as I began to make friends, I was drawn with them into their pleasures. The world soon got a grip on me. Whenever I heard the drums and the dance, I had to be right on the spot. My mother was amazed. She said, “Eh, Baba, you who never cared for idle play, to see how it is with you now! You are becoming all wrapped up in pleasure.” During that time my prayer life was like a light extinguished.

One day our relatives killed a sheep to sacrifice to their gods. They knew of course that we would take no part in the ceremony, nor eat any of the meat, neither my mother, my younger sister and brother, nor myself. But to get away from it all, I took my Bible and went off by myself to read.

My eyes fell on Matthew 7:21–24, and those words convicted me. I thought to myself, If the Lord Jesus should come today, I know well enough that I would be no better off than all those unbelievers who are making that sacrifice. I went for my canoe and paddled off to a lone spot. There I stayed all day, fasting and mourning over my sins. I thought of all my father, an evangelist to the Habbes, had told me. The memory smote my heart.

The very next morning I sent off a letter to some friends asking them to pray for me. The church at Sangha never stopped praying for me until at last the will of God became of far more importance to me than all the enticements of the flesh.

Not long after, I told my half-brother that I was going back to Sangha. He replied, “But your father is no longer there, your mother is not there, and no one of your own tribe is there. Why should you want to return? You will only have a hard time.” His words dampened my enthusiasm, but nevertheless I felt I must go.

I tied up my bundle of clothes then changed my mind and unpacked everything. That happened more than once. I did a lot of tying and untying before the Lord finally made me willing to give up my tribe, my mother, my little brother and sister, and rice and fish (so plentiful along the river but so rare a delicacy farther inland). It was only the power of God’s Spirit that brought me finally to the place of being willing to leave all. As Christ says in John 15:16: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”

—Baba as told to Miss Marie Freligh. Adapted from The Alliance Weekly April 3, 1948

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