Some Malian proverbs for you… This was written on the back of a tractor trailer truck we saw yesterday.
“Le Crayon de Dieu N’A Pas De Gomme”
“God’s pencil Has No Eraser.”
A very Muslim mentality, that you can’t alter God’s plans or decisions in any way.
Sounds a little like the truth this Islamic missionary was trying to impart to a Christian missionary in a book I once read. I know some Christians who would agree, and others who would not… how about you? What do you think?
“I could not have predicted this encounter. I had had no time to prepare my remarks. I was on the battlefield, slingshot in hand, but I had forgotten to gather any stones. So I said, “I heard you speaking to the students yesterday.” “Yes,” the older of the two said, “I remember you being there. Thank you for spending so much time listening to us. Tell me, what is a young American man like you doing in Albania?” (How does everybody always know that I am an American?) “Well, if you must know, I [pause for effect] am a Christian missionary.” There. That should do it, I thought. This will heat the conversation up. “I am here because I serve Jesus.” “That is wonderful,” the elder scholar said. He managed to say it with no discernible irony or condescension. “We serve Jesus as well. He is the most inspiring and honorable prophet.” Then he explained his devotion to Jesus. Again their response was a bit of a sermon, going on and on for a few minutes, but I must tell you, I was moved by their unmistakable reverence for the historical Jesus. They spoke of Jesus like he is a real person. They quoted his teachings from memory. They were verbose in their devotion. As I listened, I found myself wishing that more Christians could speak of Jesus as these Muslims spoke. “How has your time in Albania been?” the younger scholar asked. “How have you passed the time?” “Our work is going quite well. Our time here has been very successful.” Then, out of habit I returned the question. “How is your work going?” I couldn’t believe that I asked it. Instead of throwing stones, I was lobbing softballs. “I would say that we do no work at all,” he said. “It is God who is at work all around us. It is also not about success or no success. God does not need me for his plans. He also does not need you, young missionary. God is all strength. He does not need you to do his fighting for him.” Then he clarified. “Be assured, this does not mean that you are not important. It is the opposite. He is inviting you to sit and watch him perform his wonders. Sometimes he will even let you take the credit. That is what humility does.” Our conversation only lasted maybe twenty minutes. To my disappointment and relief, there was no battle. There were no harsh words. These two men were humble, kind, compassionate, and encouraging. They even blessed me in all my endeavors.” (Neighbors and Wise Men: Sacred Encounters in a Portland Pub and Other Unexpected Places by Tony Kriz)
So, does God’s pencil have an eraser or not? What do you think?