The Soweto Woman
The Right Definition of Mercy
Without forgiveness, we are only half alive. We are the walking dead.
I had a very special dream last night where the Lord said to me, “Son, you’ve known only three forgivers in your life. The three forgivers had gotten the right definition of mercy.” I will just share with you the first one.
Becoming a Forgiver
Jesus: “Now is the time you become a great man. The greatest of all realities of what you can do or become is not to have large platforms or money, not any other identity, but to have the identity of a forgiver.”
That is the number one attribute of Him. To become a forgiver is to become the closest you can come to His heart in this life. Anything else will cause us to be distant and move into dank emotions of darkness and remorse. The power that comes from a life. Our success is all based on being a forgiver. We might have callings. But, there is something greater than our callings. It is the very Christ Himself in becoming one with Him. His number one character trait is to become a forgiver. It has opened up to me the last three years.
I was forced into that room, but I was so thankful that I was. Each time, there was such a weight of tenderness and mercy that would come with it. There was such a wave of power in stepping into this great victory of being a forgiver. Being one who was able to risk everything to not hold onto offense for the sake of a greater reality coming forth. What freedom! He showed me the first forgiver.
The first forgiver was a woman I met in Zimbabwe. I had lived with my wife in a community there. We had been there in this community. There were about thirty people together from both farms. We would get together and worship at nights. There was a time where the dissidence came in. They would consider them terrorists. It was right after the Independence war in Zimbabwe. The tribal people had overthrown the white rule.
I walked into a setting where the leaders were out for the people’s destruction. You are living next to those, that under the communist rule, would turn you in to save their own lives and self protection. The weight of fear and self preservation. It was like a drowning person. Every person you met would have crawled up you to keep their head above water.
We lived on that farm in Zimbabwe. They threatened our lives three times. They set the farm on fire, which is very dangerous. I lost my hair and eyebrows trying to put the fire out. It was like a runaway freight train coming towards the farm. The mercy of God stopped right before the gum trees. The gum trees were our number one way of income. We danced around the gum trees. I was milking the cows. They were saying, “God is so good.”
After Zimbabwe, my wife and I were to be there a couple of years. That was the goal. We were called in and told we have to leave now. We were young. Our lives had been threatened. There was a build up to what that was.
There was this impending doom that they were going to get killed on the farm. We were missionary farmers just trying to help them with their crops and learn their trades. We weren’t preaching a lot, but just living the life. One tribe did not like that we were training the people, because that tribe wanted their tribe to revolt against the other tribe. They are going to kill us because we are helping their people, and they want to force the revolution.
We leave because we are told to leave. We go to South Africa. We come in without any passports. To be a citizen of no nation with only $20 to $40 in our pockets. We had no way into the country. It was ten days until we were to fly out. We were standing there. They were going to allow us to be in this area for ten days.
We sat down & all of a sudden, I hear the voice of a man, like the guiding of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Follow my instructions and I’ll get you through.” They get us in. They take us into their home.
South Africa is going through an apartheid. There are wars between the tribes in the middle of industrial cities. A lot of whites would have in their cars snakes, so that the Africans would not want to steal their cars because they are terrified. They had designed their exhaust to where flames shot out the sides, because they would steal cars at stop lights.
I have been told by Bob Jones to never go, and that I was taking my wife to her death. Then, all of a sudden, we are right in the middle of it. I go to a home group meeting. The leaders at this big church invite me there. There are about six hundred home group leaders. The main forty leaders would meet every morning very early and discuss their strategy of keeping this home group open, so there could be safety for the tribes and whites. It was – do we keep it open or closed?
Sometimes the tribal people would come in and raid the house. They would steal and rape the women. I could remember my friend slamming his fist down and said, “We will not back off love. We will not back off keeping these home groups open. We are not going to give in to this fear.” I thought this is like a military war strategy place. He calls me and says, “Come with me to my favorite home group.” I thought, “No way.” Just the danger. I had already had enough. I wanted to rest from the pressures and pains. Somehow I knew to go.
We go in a caravan of cars. We are going into the worst area in Johannesburg. It is like our inner-city times ten. There are drive-by shootings. You stay underneath the windows and lay on the floors. This place was called Soweto. It is a town. It is anarchy. You drive down a hill and see this orange cloud at night. They had a fire in the middle for their heat and cooking. Everybody is always coughing.
We come in driving through the mud. These Africans are staring at us. We had these bodyguards. We drive up on a place, and the atmosphere completely changes as we drive up into this one shanty. It was a palace. It was this awesome feeling, like the emerald city, where it shined and glowed with the presence of God (Rev. 21:19). I am taken back in awe. I am swept into this movement of this presence of God that felt so strong.
I walked in & there are two hundred people in this little area all singing. I never heard singing like this. I never heard hoping like this. I never heard anything that resembles this level of intimacy, heaven, and freedom. I am looking around and seeing the joy of the children, young and old.
I looked at my friend, and he is just full of giggles. That morning, he has an intensity level that scared me. That night there is such a presence that he is changed into a giddy child. He is seeing the victories and life being given from this place that emanates from the presence of God. It was a particular taste of the presence of God I have not tasted before.
The Soweto Woman
I asked “Who is the leader of the group?” He points. There is a little African woman. She couldn’t be above four-foot-eight. We just looked in her eyes. She was so meek and tender. They said, “Would you meet her?” We met her and said hello to her.
1) Hope in People
This woman exploded with a hope for people. It was hope for all people. She could not not appreciate somebody that God had created in His image.
2) Hope in Next Generation
She had a hope for the next generation. She said, “You are not generation XYZ. You are generation HOPE.”
3) Hope in Prayer
She had a hope for prayer. I have never heard anybody pray the promises like she did. Nobody was looking at the promises or the future.
4) Hope in cities and nations
She had a welfare and hope for the nation.
5) Hope in God
Her greatest hope was her hope in God. When she thundered her hope in God, I was on my face.
She had the five pillars of hope in their midst.
FORTRESS OF HOPE (Job 42:5) and the place was touching the nation! I asked them who was in charge, and they pointed out a little 4’ tall woman who was a leader and I saw how she herself had become a fortress of hope, in the midst of all these difficulties. Her hope was so deep she had hoped in and forgiven the man who murdered her brother and he was now key in the community working alongside her to bring HOPE.” (Job 42:5 / Ex 33:11 / Is 42:13 / Is 40:11)
THE RESULT OF THIS HOPE
“That shanty became a radiant Hope Center in God! (Phil 2 / John 12:33 / Matt 18) The people were changed from a hopeless people to people who could change the way things are in their nation….From these slums of Soweto was birthed this new nation of South Africa.”
WHAT CAUSED THE TRANSFORMATION?
“The 5 Pillars of Hope in God! The Soweto woman had HOPE that enabled her to see God rightly in 5 ways…moving out of the “Haunts of Cruelty” Room to the Hope Room through the 5 Pillars of HOPE! “
DEFINING THE 5 PILLARS OF HOPE IN GOD THROUGH THE SOWETO STORY
She heard His voice as the God of Hope, which enabled her to SEE Him in all of life.
She began to build in the day, reforming the place that she lived! (Luke 15).
Hope took her to another place in love, where she was able to see the man that persecuted her brother and yet believed in him! He became her right hand man
Words full of hate, she would not listen! She would listen to and would see God!
DEFINING HOPE IN NEXT GENERATION FROM THE SOWETO STORY
She saw THE NEXT GENERATION as they are and are called to be vs. what they are not.
Her HOPE led her to a confidence in God’s GOOD plans and commitment to them, not as generation X,Y,Z but as GENERATION HOPE!
Her HOPE led her to believe that God would hear & answer her prayers, 1 Kings 18 hope.
Her HOPE led her to learn to build on her knees just like I did in the prayer room…
Her HOPE led her to be confident that God loves cities and nations, that He has a future and a hope for EACH CITY & NATION across the Earth.
Her HOPE led her to believe that God has the ability and desire to change a nation in a day.