It was a hunting accident gone wrong, and a man was shot. A complete mistake, and yet a mans life was now hanging in the balance…
This story is not mine. It belongs to a friend of mine, who by sharing this story encouraged me to remember that God can use anyone in our lives to sharpen us and show us our own hearts. In fact, God used this situation to rebuke my friend of this very thing. I hope you’re encouraged to remember the same.
…the man’s name was Minye. He was out hunting and was accidently shot in the shoulder. My friend Jeff loaded him into the back seat of his truck and drove. With help far away, it was going to be a long drive. But God had different plans. As the man sat in the back seat, God allowed this believer to step out into eternity and into God’s presence only a half hour down the rugged dusty road. Devastated from the loss of his friend, Jeff had no other alternative but to turn around and head back to the village.
Arriving in the village, family members writhed on the ground and wailed in agony over their loss. After the burial, Jeff went home and cleaned up but was unable to sleep. And understandably so…
Around four in the morning he wandered out into the village where he found one of the church leaders, Sano. He was with family members of the man who died. Sano asked Jeff, “Jeffy, can you share something from God’s word with the family?” Before Jeff had the opportunity to begin, “he” came.
His name was La’enis. A believer, but a shaman. Holding a stick in his hand he looked at the family and said, “Stop crying! You’re going to run out of tear juice and then you’ll go blind!” All the while “tapping” and “poking” the crying family members with his stick. Eventually, the family calmed down and Jeff thought to himself, “God, why does La’enis have to be here? He doesn’t even know that much about the Bible and yet he’s here just telling people to stop crying. Why God?”
Jeff began to share with the family saying, “God still loves us. We don’t know what He has planned, or why He allowed this to happen, but He still loves us. He still cares for us. However you process that, you have to remember that He loves us and has a plan.” He then walked around to other houses sharing those same words with various other family groups. But so did La’enis…
La’enis: “Stop crying! You’re going to run out of tear juice and then you’ll go blind!”
Jeff: “God still loves us. We don’t know what He has planned, or why He allowed this to happen, but He still loves us. He still cares for us. However you process that, you have to remember that He loves us and has a plan.”
On and on the three of them went. From house to house, Jeff and Sano with words of encouragment, and La’enis with his demands to stop crying. But Jeff still wrestled with his thoughts. “God why is he here? What is he doing here? He doesn’t belong here…”
Eventually it was time to go home. Jeff hugged Sano as he cried, said his goodbyes, and walked a lonely, narrow trail back to his house.
Jeff was alone, and he began pouring his own heart out to God. “God, why? Why did you allow my friend to die? Why did you allow La’enis to be there while I was sharing? Why am I all alone in this?” As Jeff wept and prayed, he soon found himself unable to see the trail anymore. Suddenly, he mangaged to stumble off the narrow trail, found himself tangled up in a thorn bush, hanging by his shirt at a 45 degree angle, and staring at a giant barrel cactus face to face. “God, and now THIS?! How am I going to get out of this?!”
Just when he began to realize that he was helpless, and had no way to pick himself up out of this mess, he felt two strong hands grab him by his shoulders from behind. It was La’enis. “You know Jeffy, just because you’re white doesn’t mean you don’t need to remember God’s words either. God still loves us. He still has a plan for us. We don’t know why He’s allowed this to happen, but He still loves us…” God used the person Jeff was most skeptical of, to teach him the lesson that he was trying to share with others.
After sharing this story with me, Jeff smiled and said, “Good ol’ La’enis, he’s a diamond in the rough!”
As I thought about this story later that night as I tried to sleep, I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of people God is using in my own life to teach me? We’re so prideful, aren’t we? We’re constantly looking to “the greatest” pastors, teachers, and leaders. But what about those who are “diamonds in the rough?” What about those who rub you the wrong way, those who you look down on, or those who you would otherwise overlook? Who is YOUR La’enis? Who is YOUR diamond in the rough?