Lenten Reflection – Listening for God
The season of Lent is known for being a time of reflection, repentance and discernment. Discerning God’s will or what God is speaking is not always easy. It is easy is to be mistaken about what something means. Talking to others and sharing our thoughts and dreams can help us get a different perspective and open our eyes to things we may not have seen.
Many years ago, a young man of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) experienced a haunting dream. He grew up in the church, and his father, though uneducated, served faithfully as an evangelist at one of the outstations of the Thaba-Bosiu parish.
When his father passed away in 1975, he became the head of the family. At the time, he was teaching at a primary school. He also cared for his mother and looked after the family’s animals and saw that the fields were ploughed and planted. Just after his father’s death he began having frequent dreams. In these dreams, his father would visit him ask him the same question: “Why is no one doing my work?” Three or four times a week the dream would haunt him, and he wasgreatlydisturbed by it. How could he not be doing his work? He was making every effort to care for his mother, the family fields, and animals. He thought he was being diligent in his duties but still his father came to him repeating the same question: “Why is no one doing my work?”
His mother and young wife could see that he wastroubled. He was not eating well and wastroubled about saying anything to his mother or wife. His friends could see that he was not himself and would ask, “What’s wrong with you?” But he always denied anything was wrong. After a year of this his pastorfinallycalled him asideandearnestlyasked him to sharewhatwasburdening him. This pastor insisted and finally he told the pastor about the recurring dream. He told him about his father coming to him at night, always asked the same question: “Why is no one doing my work?”
The pastor immediately knew what the dream was saying and told the young man, “Your father was an evangelist and now he wants to know why no one is doing his work.” The young man was so relieved and felt a tremendous burden lift from his shoulders. His pastorbeganmakingarrangementsenrolling him in Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) seminary, in Morija. Thatwas in 1977 andtodaythisyoungman is Rev. Sematlanewhosejoy in havingthemysteriousdreamrevealedremains with him today.He has had manyyears of ministryfilled with challenges along theway but great joy in doing God’s work and his father’s work. His ministry has enriched and blessed many lives.
Rev. Sematlane’s story has an important lesson about sharing our dreams, literal or not, with others. Getting another viewpoint is often helpful in the discernment process, whether it is discerning God’s will or making choices in life. During this time of Lent, let the words Rev. Sematlane heard in his dream direct all of us. Is there a place in your community or church where God is calling you? God is still speaking. Are we listening?
Mark Behle serves with the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa. He is working to identify development projects, assist the church in preparing project proposals and coordinating project implementation.