Skip to main content

By Nathan Kendall

Did you celebrate Pentecost? It was a holiday in Senegal. The 4% minority of Catholics influence the country due to a first president who was Catholic, with ties to France, and an acceptance of other religions. Many Muslims also took the day off, and the Baptist churches that WorldVenture works with also benefit from the day. This denomination has a history of getting together on Pentecost Monday and having a big party together. People from the various churches came by car, motorcycle, and horse cart to join together at a village church.

n kendall
n kendall senegal

Temperatures on Pentecost Monday were around 110 F (43 C) and the tents provided welcome shade and some relief from the heat. Depending on which language the speakers used, the interpreter switched back and forth between French and Serer. At the end of a ceremony, which included a choir, a sermon, communion, and more, a young man walked to the front and asked for the microphone.

The young man spoke in the Serer language and had a sad look to his face. His hands had seen much work and probably exposure to chemicals. He started speaking about the power of prayer and continued, saying that, after the choir’s next song, he would share about healing.

Due to living in this context of people expecting healing and having a family that could use healing from food allergies, I have pondered over the years how to process God’s interventions into a fallen world – marred by sin, yet able to be touched by his grace. I have thoughts but not thorough conclusions or observations, and not God’s big picture.

One day I was reading Acts with a new believer, and in the story, Peter and John had just healed the lame man. The two of us talked about God’s power. In that instant, my friend said, “Well then, pray that God would heal my knee.”

To my understanding, his knee had suffered an ACL tear years before and now he wanted healing. What would you do? I told God his credibility was on the line and not mine and we prayed. The man plays soccer now. His knee was healed. It was the miraculous with no medical intervention.

I have also prayed over my family for years for the allergies and other ailments to be removed. Most are still there. Another missionary friend, whose kid had similar issues, had their child prayed over and anointed with oil and the kid eats whatever he wants now. Aren’t I not the same person God worked through in the one case and not in the other? Why did God heal that missionary’s kid and not mine?

It should be clear that the miraculous is about God’s agenda and not ours. Passages that talk about spiritual gifts describe them as for growing the body of Christ and not for an individual. So, I ponder the healings I have asked for and observe that some have resulted in the miraculous, partly because of growing the church. Other sicknesses run their course so as to fit God’s agenda.

I remember being in a village, watching through blurry eyes, as an 11-year old’s body was washed and prepared for burial. His twin sat next me while his father, the only Christian in the village, wept. His mother had lost her hearing to a doctor-prescribed medicine. I prayed for God to bring that boy back to life and use it for his glory. We buried him on the side of a hill. His family left the village. I don’t understand God’s agenda.

How do I conclude this narrative? That God has his agenda, and my job is to seek to fall in line with his purpose. And sometimes, when I ask for the miracle, he does the impossible, and sometimes he says no. In each case, it is about his agenda, but I should still anticipate that God is capable of the miraculous and can act. So, I am going to keep on asking.

Praise be to God, right now, we are living in a land that is close to being a desert, but God has provided us with all our food needs. The allergies are not gone, but his care is still there and so evident. “Give us this day our daily bread.” May His name be praised!


Copy and paste the link to this blog to your social media and share the answer to one of these questions: 

  • Share a recent answer to prayer with a verse from the Bible.
  • Share a response to what you’ve read here.

Leave a Reply