Saved by the Mud

I mentioned that rainy season was about to begin here, and last Sunday that was proven correct in classic style. It was raining hard for the second day in a row with a chilly wind. Rainy days are always low attendance days at church. Who likes to get out of bed to trudge somewhere through the rain and muddy roads? We always hope that our church members have grown enough in grace that mud and chilly wet will mean nothing in comparison to being with believers and submitting themselves once again to hear the Word, but every rainy Sunday is another test.

This Sunday we had especially hoped for good attendance, as we were hoping to try a new tactic in the war for souls. We have several regular visitors who haven’t committed to following Christ, so we decided to start a 5-week prospective members class in the Sunday School hour just to target these folks and present salvation, baptism, and our church covenant in a clear manner. We had about ten people lined up for the first class, but our spirits were dampened by their apparent drowned attendance.

Really stuck!

Really stuck!

Then the other family (we only have one family besides our own in our church that includes husband, wife, and kids–and a car!) got their truck stuck in the mud on the road to church. It took an hour and a half to extract them. The situation became even stickier, or should I say muddier, when we noticed that they had brought first-time visitors with them on this rare Sunday. They were discouraged to have such a setback on the day their visitors came with them. We were worried to start a new class without all of our beloved prospects attending. And all the men were wet, cold, and muddy when we began the service.

Ita vita African. This truly could be an apt description of normal life in Africa. Some discouraging setbacks just when you were hoping to make a good impression; poor attendance for weeks at a time in the rainy season. But God was working all of those seemingly bad events to ordain a private evangelism meeting between me and one of the children in my Sunday School class.

When Mr. N__ got stuck in the mud and all the men and boys went to help, I (with my kids) was left alone with one sweet neighbor girl who has attended my S.S. class and Seth’s neighborhood Bible club all year. As I fiddled around setting up church stuff, she came to me and asked shyly, “How does a person go to Hell or to God?”

Seth's Bible club: they learn verses and the catechism (yellow book). She's the girl in the blue tank top, back row, third from the left.

Seth’s Bible club: they learn verses and the catechism (yellow book). She’s the girl in the blue tank top, back row, third from the left.

Because of the rain and the car stuck in the mud, I was given an uninterrupted fifteen minutes to show a tweenage girl The Great Exchange from 2 Corinthians 5:21. I love this verse. In English every word but one has one syllable. Yet it encompasses so much with those little words.

For he hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Praise the Lamb slain for sinners! Praise the Creator of the rain and mud who kept distractions away from a child He was busy pulling from the filth of a life lived for sin, at the same time as Seth was pulling a truck out of the mud. She seemed to respond to the Word in faith.

Obviously the mud didn’t save her. But in one sense, it did. God used it as a means to give this shy child one-on-one time with her teacher so that she could ask a very important question! Last Sunday, a child was saved by the blood, by the mud.

Seth and I also were saved by the mud in a sense. We were saved from discouragement and ingratitude over the lack of optimal conditions that day. We were reminded that God doesn’t need dry roads to do His work and that His plans are wiser than ours.

Once I heard a sermon by R.C. Sproul on 2 Samuel 6 when God struck Uzzah dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant so that it wouldn’t fall from the oxcart. I’ve never forgotten how Sproul mentioned that Uzzah’s error was in thinking that his hands were cleaner than the dirt. He thought it would be better for him to touch the ark–he, a sinful creature–than for the ark to fall in the dirt. But the dirt was doing what God made it to do. I thought of that Sunday–the mud was doing what God made it to do. I couldn’t be mad at the mud or at God for letting it rain on Sunday. He had a plan even for the mud; and it did what He made it to do, even being an instrument in God’s plan of redemption for a child.

When Mr. N__ finally arrived at church, embarrassed and a bit careworn, I greeted him happily. “You may think this was a bad day,” I said, “but I am glad you got stuck in the mud!”

My S.S. class quoting Psalm 1 for the church. She's first on the left, back row, of the girls' side.

My S.S. class quoting Psalm 1 for the church. She’s first on the left, back row, of the girls’ side.

Still happy, even after scrubbing our family's muddy clothes!

Still happy, even after scrubbing our family’s muddy clothes!

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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9 Responses to Saved by the Mud

  1. Tori says:

    Wow, what a tough Sunday but wow what an awesome God! I’m so pleased to hear that this sweet little girl got saved, what a blessing.
    Your mud story and life in Africa is so interesting. It’s a far cry from our civilized life in Europe.
    Anyhoo, I enjoyed this post and loved hearing about another name written in the book!

  2. Christie says:

    Loved this! What a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness!

  3. Wonderful testimony! Even when things don’t go according to our schedule God still has a plan.

  4. Ann Bedford says:

    Praising the Lord for this great report and how everything worked together for good so that this girl could be saved. Amen

  5. Alpheus says:

    Wow! Stuck in the mud. One soul pulled out of the mud. Awesome!

  6. Amy, I am not sure when you will see this, but we just heard about what has happened to you last night… we are praying and so heartbroken. Sending our love. Please forgive us for not being more encouragement and and love in action… our family here and church are already beginning to pray as I type. I love you… We love you! The kids are all drawing you pictures and praying for you all and the children too! Hugs and Kisses and Love!

  7. TIMOTHY PHILLIPS says:

    Dear Amy,

    I’m just writing to say that we are praying fervently for you and your family. We were distressed to hear of the recent happenings to you, your family, your belongings, and your home. I am so grateful that your lives were spared. May God grant you wisdom in decisions, protection, provision, comfort, healing, encouragement, and spiritual growth during this trial. I am asking God to meet the emotional needs of each of your children and yourselves. If you have specific ways you would like for us to pray, please let us know.

    Even prior to this week, I have been praying for you at least several times per week. Therefore, your blog posts are most welcome in giving me a better glimpse at your life and ministry. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Savior.

    Sheila Phillips Harrison Street Bible Church

  8. Ali says:

    Praying you and yours are “snug” after the recent “unexpected” visitors.

  9. Love this post and your blog!!!

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