So I’ve been reading this book by Isobel Kuhn. I’d heard her name quite a bit over the last few years, as I was becoming more familiar with OMF, but had never taken the time to read any of her books. This one, “Second Mile People”, is made from an unpublished manuscript that was found after she had died. I haven’t read too much of it yet, but I am immensely enjoying it – much more than I thought I would. Already there are several passages that have REALLY encouraged me and I thought I’d start sharing some of them.
The one I’ll share tonight is about “Dorothy’s” example to Isobel. The following takes place at a Christian Conference, long before Isobel went to China with CIM. Dorothy had invited Isobel for a walk.
“Dorothy was secretly longing to ‘speak just a word for Jesus’ with this young girl so obviously still a question mark as far as the deeper things sent, and she had really that purpose in mind in suggesting a walk. But somehow happy ridiculous nothings would come to the surface and the whole ramble was just one funny thing after another… When we parted Dorothy felt she had been a failure, unconscious that the one she had hoped to help was going away enchanted with this glimpse into the very human sweetness of this Christ-like girl…
“The Spirit-filled life cannot ‘fail’, it is fruitful even when it may seem least to have done anything. That walk gave Dorothy ‘influence’ over me when a ‘sermon’ would have created a permanent barrier. In fact at that time I carried a mental suit of armour all ready to slip on quietly the moment any ‘old fogey’ tried to ‘preach’ at me!
“Oswald Chambers says, “The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mould us.” A great mistake is to think that a Spirit-filled man or woman must always be casting sermons at people. Being ‘filled with the Spirit’ (which is a first qualification of Second Mile People) is merely a refusing of self and a taking by faith of the life of Christ as wrought in us by His Holy Spirit.”
-p. 36-37 of “Second Mile People, by Isobel Kuhn (Published by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1982)
I think that one of the reasons why I was so encouraged by this passage is because I sometimes feel like a disappointment – to my supporters, to myself and, most importantly, to God. I’m here to bring the gospel to those in S.E. Asia who don’t yet know Jesus – who have never even heard His name before – and so I pray for opportunities to share the gospel, but feel that I have yet to do so. My language is extremely limited and honestly I barely have any Thai friends – lots of acquaintances but no friends. All I can see are my limitations and how I’m “failing” to share the Good News. Of course I’m familiar with ?’s (the name escapes me right now – sorry, perhaps you know it already) famous quote, “Share the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words” and I agree with that. Yet, I want to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So reading this passage in “Second Mile People” reminded me of the TRUTH about sharing the love of Christ with others. What is ‘successful’ ministry? Being obedient to the Holy Spirit… So I know I’m not a failure, but I think Satan wants to convince me that I am. I hate that. Sometimes it feels like there are so many struggles and trials in being here, that putting this sort of issue on top of all that is… hard. I feel so weak. But then I’m reminded of 2 Cor. 12:9. Thanks God.