Maybe We Just Need To Ask

Erik Cooper —  February 5, 2014 — 3 Comments

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some things I learned from my recent trip to Africa. I know, I know, it’s always such a “joy” hearing about other people’s life-changing journeys (and looking at their travel pictures), but I hope you’ll trust me here. These insights don’t¬†necessarily have to do with exploring exotic cultures, they were simply inspired there. Sometimes it takes getting out of the norm to understand how to live better in it. I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Gilagwenda’s Story

Most things worth achieving in this life require years of hard work.

  • My friend Wendy just earned her associates degree after years of patiently chipping away at each class, all in between her real job as a wife and mother of three. She earned it.
  • My brother Darren became a amazing musician after spending countless hours with a guitar in his calloused hands. He earned it.
  • My buddy Josh just landed a big job promotion after 20 years of committed learning and devoted service (including a few years under me). He definitely earned it.

The concept of effort and achievement makes sense. Work hard and you improve. Do nothing and, well, you’re likely to get the same.

But what if you find yourself in a position where you need skills and abilities you don’t have time to earn? And what if God is the one that put you there?


I met Gil last week in the bush of Tanzania. He’s a native Datooga, a truly unreached people group. A tribe of Africans that live in the dictionary definition of “the middle of nowhere.” Years ago, Gil was an alcoholic (consistently intoxicated with whatever local booze they manufacture out there in the bush) when a traveling preacher brought the Jesus Film to his remote village.

Gil was engulfed by this new message of Hope and gave his life to Christ right then and there, never again touching a drop the alcohol that had long been his god. As the preacher left for the next village he handed Gil a brand-new Bible. He long to tear into its pages, eager to learn more about this Savior who was already changing his life. There was only one problem:

Gil couldn’t read. Not one word.

So with the humble plea of a newly redeemed man, he simply asked this newfound Jesus to show him what the words said.

Thirty days later, he could read every word. Every word.

Today, Gil spearheads the missionary efforts to his own people.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself facing some new responsibilities and challenges that require things of me I don’t have two decades to learn and earn. Are tribesmen like Gil the only ones who have access to that kind of supernatural transaction? He didn’t achieve the ability to read, it was given to him as a gift. I wonder how many gifts might be available to us if we just asked?

I’m not advocating for a God that rewards laziness, but I am suggesting he will equip and empower His people for what He asks them to do. Miraculously if necessary.

Maybe it’s time we tap into our Resource. Maybe we just need to ask.

3 responses to Maybe We Just Need To Ask

  1. Love the simplicity of this! How often do we hesitate or give up before we even get started?! Thanks for this one!

    • I agree Dustin. It was humbling to see a man like Gil who, in the simplicity of his new faith, just had the guts to say “God help me.” And God did. I think I make it way to hard sometimes.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Witch Doctors, Tea Parties, and An Encounter I Will Never Forget | Beyond The Risk - Erik Cooper - November 12, 2014

    […] hopefully cure his illness. We asked if we could pray for her and her child, and after we finished the Datooga pastor traveling with us began to share the Gospel message with […]

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