The Divine Mentor
- Saturday, October 06, 2007
Smoke billowed on the horizon. Smoke where there should be no smoke—at least, not a towering column like this one.
It couldn't be good.
Terrorists. What else could it be?
* * *
As we approached we could see a few flames licking at piles of rubble. Yet where there had been homes, streets, playgrounds, gardens . . . there was nothing at all. Smoke, ruin, ashes. Nothing more.
Shocked into immobility, we could do nothing but gape. Where were the homes? Where were the women and children?
We poured over the edge of the embankment—some sliding, some jumping, some running headlong, falling, getting up, and falling again. Each man ran to the area where his home had been, hoping against hope to see someone moving in the wreckage: a beloved face, a form staggering out of the devastation. But there was no one. And no sound but the dry crackle of flames, fanned by a lonely desert wind.
Where were the bodies? We saw none. The terrorists must have kidnapped every woman and child in the village!
We wept without shame. Some cursed; some called out names in their anguish. Muttering among themselves, clusters began to gather, glancing at one another, nodding, fingering their weapons. It was like the moment before a violent thunderstorm, when the air becomes taut and stifling.
That's when he collapsed on his knees and convulsed in agony. It's not as though his loved ones had been spared.
We couldn't help but watch. And as he poured out his sorrow, pleading for help and hope and direction, his body language began to change. Tension seemed to drain away from his shoulders. His hands unclenched, and he lifted his head as he prayed. Finally rising again to his feet, he wiped away his tears, squared his shoulders, and spoke with a steady voice.
* * *
Say what you will, something happened by that rock on the edge of total devastation. In those few moments, he had found strength, confidence, and fresh resolve. God must have given him a plan too, because it wasn't long before we set off like the wind on the trail of the invaders.
In that moment, we could believe again. And rising among us was the confidence that we would recover from the ashes of Ziklag all we had lost . . . and maybe even more.
My best friends are in the Bible. Let me introduce you to one of my closest: David.
The two of you have already met? You did recognize him, didn't you? You probably know him better as King David, but when this incident took place (see 1 Samuel 30), he still had a long road ahead before he would take the throne of ancient Israel.
And that brings me to something truly remarkable.
David has been gone from this earth for more than three millennia. Yet he and I still meet weekly. He still teaches, he still speaks, he still encourages and trains.
By walking with David amid the smoldering ruins of Ziklag, I find help and strength for challenges that come my own way.
And he's not alone—he's among a choice community of top-flight instructors! Over the years I have sailed with Noah; I have trekked with Moses. Entering the world of the Bible to learn from my friends and heroes changes me.
Jeremiah saved my life. Nehemiah buoyed my faltering ministry. Through his
struggles with riches and greed, Solomon tutored me to be a person of excellence without opulence.
I have often heard young leaders decrying the scarcity of mentors. But we have been looking in the wrong places, for the greatest mentors will not be found among those currently on earth. They await us from another gallery.
When the student is ready, the mentors will appear. These heroes and legends
have been expecting you.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
Encouragement is God's native tongue. But encouragement without change is like a bicycle with only one pedal. Our participation is required. Encouragement turns into hope when His instructions find our ready acceptance and application.
The journey on which you're about to embark is interactive. The lessons you will garner in this book have been distilled from more than thirty-three years of friendships with the mentors of the ages. What you're about to learn has been the most important key to everything I have done. It is not a program. It is a lifetime adventure offered only to avid students of life.
We have only one life to live on this spinning globe, and many people are already halfway through before they realize that life will not fall neatly into our laps without our participation and involvement. Or, worse, that life will not remain neat and tidy in the face of our poor choices. Life will only yield its best fruit to diligent farmers and its treasures to industrious pilgrims.
* * *
I have spoken with hundreds of men and women in their fifties, sixties, and older who grieve over memories of foolish decisions.
"Oh," they say, "how I wish I knew then what I know now!" If only they had understood; if only they'd been able to see; if only they'd stepped back to get some perspective—then, perhaps, they would have raised their kids differently. Or not destroyed their health. Or not wrecked their marriage. Or they would have avoided a thousand nameless heartbreaks that have placed in them a never-fading regret.
You don't have to live with an endless string of if-onlys. You really don't! God has given an assignment to certain men and women who, though dead, "still speak." (see Hebrews 11:4)
These instructors have been delegated the task and obligation to tutor those who enroll. By shadowing these men and women, you can:
- Find the help you need when difficult tests come
- Walk with both the heroes and the fools of the Bible
- Start thinking like God thinks, so you can respond as He responds
- Avoid costly errors and so avoid decades of misery.
The mentors will lead you to strength, direction, and hope even when you come to life's narrowest and most frightening passages.
And the Holy Spirit promises to exhale key lessons from the past into your present and make them come alive. Abraham will mentor you on faith. You will learn from Samson about sexual self-control. Daniel will instruct you in how to influence your community. Ruth will teach you about love and loyalty.
* * *
Let me take you on the greatest adventure you'll ever experience. Come walk with me as we visit God's men and women of faith (as well as a few scoundrels). They all await your audience.
Excerpted from: The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764203497. Published by Bethany House Publishers. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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