by Peggy Cunningham
Early morning, while still in my jammies, I snuggled in my comfy chair with my Bible in hand and opened to the first chapter in John. Jesus had turned around and asked this question to the two disciples who followed behind Him. “What do you want?” That question jumped out at me from the page as I felt the vibration of God’s voice speaking to me through His Word. “What do you want?”
A few weeks ago, I had walked outside to check on things before bed. The quietness of rural Bolivian, South America eased my soul as stars twinkled overhead as if dancing to music. The wind rustled the bushes, and nearby barking dogs aroused my curiosity. Unafraid of the darkness, I opened our gate and checked around. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. If there had been a danger, I would have found myself smack in it–– unprotected and alone.
Nevertheless, I stepped out on the road and was relieved to find nothing out of the ordinary. But as I turned to back inside, a sudden gust of wind blew our gate shut with a bang. Alone, unafraid but frustrated, I jumped up and down, yelling for help from outside the gate until my voice became hoarse. My husband was fast asleep upstairs, and even if he’d been awake, he would not have heard my voice from that distance. Finally, I decided to walk the dirt road to our classrooms and attempt entry from there.
The darkness hugged me, and brisk air chilled my bones. Garbed in only my PJs, I walked the lonely road. Suddenly, I became aware of footsteps behind me. Who walked behind me? What did they want? A moonless night with no flashlight made it impossible to see.
Then out of the darkness came a voice (in Spanish), “Dona Margarita, what are you doing out here in the dark all alone?” To my relief, it was a familiar voice: Hernan, a teenage boy who attended our classes, was walking home as he did each night after special courses at the school near us.
As we neared the classrooms together, his robust voice awoke our ministry helpers who lived nearby. They opened the gate, and I entered the safety and comfort of home.
At first, I’d thought about shouting to the follower behind me, “What do you want?” But, I hesitated. Jesus didn’t hesitate to ask His followers what they wanted. We shouldn’t hesitate to tell Him what we want. That dark and cold night, I had asked God for an open door and now thanked Him for how it opened.
Two disciples were following Jesus when he turned and asked the question. “Turning around, Jesus saw them and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38 NIV).
Were they following Him out of curiosity, or maybe hopes for personal gain, or because they saw something greater in Him than in themselves? Yes, He already knew the answer, but did they?
We can ask the same question of ourselves. God is calling us to join Him and to be a part of building His Kingdom. Following Him is not about us at all. It is giving ourselves to a cause that will accomplish the purposes and will of the God of the universe. Ponder Jesus’ words today for yourself: “What do you want?”
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34 NASB
About the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals are available on Amazon.com, including her latest book Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional.
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