Nifuna, Nifuna, Nifuna
By the road there is a man washing his laundry in a filthy bucket. My brother finds him, and immediately runs to buy detergent. A sweet sister comes by to sit with us to hear the word of God. Mama comes along, picks up a stick from the ground, inscribes “Jo 8:2-12” on the inside of her arm, determined to remember the words I am reading.
I retell the story once written of a woman caught in her weakness. A tale of piercing words and stones clenched in fists. Yet, there is a Man who bends low, speaks:
“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7
Stones fall like rain to the ground, every voice is silenced. My sweet sister falls too to the ground, and Mama says, “the Word has pierced her, she is humbling herself.”
“Neither do I accuse you, go and sin no more.” John 8:11
Sister wipes her tears in her shirt, cries,
“But I can’t change. I sleep with so many men. I’m 30 and I can’t have one man. My Father and mother don’t believe I can change, they call me a drunkard. So I just drink.”
We hold her close, speak softly: “we are your family, and we believe in you.”
“Really?” She stares at us, wide-eyed, in disbelief. “But how can I change, I drink. I don’t know how.”
“His power is your strength.
You are worthy.
You are loved.”
Wise Mama speaks to her of Paul on the road to Damascus, tells her the truth that no one is ever too far from grace, that there is no such thing as a lost cause.
“Nifuna, Nifuna, Nifuna” (I want, I want, I want), she pleads.
We hold hands in prayer, pleading for every chain and stronghold to break.
I marvel at the God who does not count our sin, only the number of hairs on our head. I marvel at the abundance of that love.
Sometimes those who are serving God become the hopeless, wishing that those whom they serve could change, but lacking the belief that they can actually change. Perhaps most people, if not all, have a list of “lost causes.” But maybe there is power in the faith of friends who believe in His power. Maybe hope for the hopeless starts right here, with us, when we pursue the wholeness of others by believing in the wholeness of others. Maybe our belief is everything; maybe our faith is more potent than we ever imagined. Like the paralytic man who’s healing came when his friends insisted to lay him before Christ.
When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Luke 5:20
Because a roof was no hindrance when the “power of the Lord was present to heal them.” (Luke 5:17) Maybe breaking rooftops is our call, and maybe the hardest rooftop to break through is our own disbelief. What if hope for the hopeless looks like a man weeping and praying in faith before a holy God on behalf of an unfaithful nation (Ezra 9), until the power of God is displayed through their repentance (Ezra 10)?
What if those around us, who are in need of change, never changed because we never faithfully believed and prayed that they could?
What if we prayed for others, genuinely believing in Gods power?
Sweet sister comes the next evening for prayers, runs up to the altar weeping on her knees. Maybe our faith in Him on behalf of others is the most we really have to offer, maybe He is more powerful than we have ever known…