This morning, at that time when I hadn't quite opened my eyes yet, I was thinking about baking a loaf of bread. I was wondering about how much flour I had and whether or not I had any yeast and so on and so on, you know how thoughts just seem to stream through your mind at awakening time. Well I did know I had some self raising flour, about one kilogram, not the best to use for bread, I also knew I still had some bread flour but only about 250 grams or so, well I sort of formulated a plan in my mind to combine both types and see what transpired. I did have yeast and of course that and two teaspoons of salt mixed with water and baked normally produces a loaf of bread. Sounds pretty logical, right?
Well I got up and went through to the lounge and there on my kitchen counter was a whole two and a half kilo bag of cake flour, just sitting there unopened. My little sister had dropped it off when she brought the dog bed up earlier, well much earlier actually. For bread, cake flour certainly seemed a much better option than self raising flour. I was delighted and rather surprised, and then the tears came, thank you Lord. Just to let you know, I don't have any money and am very happy in that state. Can't go to the shop and buy a bag of flour but that's okay, I know Jesus and the sort of things He does for me so money isn't a big deal for me but surprises are wonderful. You are my hero Lord.
You may be asking yourself what on earth has this to do with meeting Jesus, well this is only part of today's episode of the love God has for Geoff, the rest goes far back to a time when Geoff had not yet met God nor His Son Jesus and what happened immediately after.
I am one of those bizarre people you come into contact with who, although seemingly very intelligent and knowledgeable seem to freak you out by their beliefs and lifestyles and understanding. It's not intentional, it's just the way I am. I have spent almost my entire life on my own, even as a child I tended to keep to myself, and in the process I have read an enormous number of books and done rather a lot of research and observation mostly in the non-fiction writings. But until I was about thirty I hadn't taken any notice of nor read anything in the Bible. That was about to change BIG TIME.
Some of my traits that have caused severe annoyance in other people have in the long run been very beneficial for me but disastrous at the same time, or so it seemed then. I am very naive, still to this day. I tend to overthink things a bit too much as well and on top of that I am insanely honest. So if you ask me a question I will answer with the truth about the question you asked. For example: In 1978 military conscription was mandatory in South Africa and I was drafted into the signals corp for basic training and counter insurgency training. This involved physical fitness training, long marches, extreme effort trying to get through the obstacle course, and being trained to be obedient to all superiors. but I was that one freaky honest guy who had not the faintest clue about war training nor obedience, they were about to find out just what they had on their hands.
One morning early we, about 600 of us, were mustered on the parade ground and marched off to the place known as "Stink spruit" (stink stream, in other words the swamp") to the obstacle course, in full kit, and the fun began. Backwards and forwards over and over again, covered in mud and other disgusting stuff for hours.
At lunchtime we were again mustered on the parade ground and told to form up which we did. The corporals, of course, were strutting up and down in front of the troops like strutting cocks laughing and having a whale of a time. One of them shouted out; "Now who didn't enjoy that?" I thought about it for a moment or two, looked at the other troops and decided to put my hand up. I didn't enjoy "that" and they had asked whether anyone had not enjoyed "that." All hell broke loose. I don't know whether you know what apoplexy looks like but that day about 600 troops saw exactly what it looked like on the faces of the corporals.
After the screaming and ranting abated a little I was marched from the parade ground to the office of the staff sergeant. He was not happy and asked what was going on. My answer was: "Staff, they asked a question and I answered with the truth, I didn't come to the army to learn how to lie." He wanted to blow up but to be honest, I think he enjoyed this worthless little troop putting these corporals in a quandary. From there I was marched off to the Commandant and the same thing happened, They asked a question and were given a truthful answer. What could they do?
The corporals in the meantime had been going through the barracks informing everyone that after lunch they were going back to Stink Spruit. Of course by the time I got back to the mess hall everyone was seriously upset with me. But to tell the truth, I was the only one out of 600 who had the guts to stand up and speak the truth, and there was nothing they could do about it.
We were marched back to the swamp area and told to sit, smoke talk, whatever while the corporals did a search of the barracks and unfortunately caught two of my friends hiding away in the ceiling. After that I became rather an admired member of the group. Strange how things always work for the good of those who speak the truth. Jesus tells us, "My truth will be your shield and rampart." And it is.
There is a lot more to this story but eventually I was discharged after completing the mandatory 2 years national service. I was told, "Hand back all your kit, we don't want to see you ever again," and that was it, no three month camps every year, no call up papers. For me it was done. The South African Defence Force had not gotten the better of God's truth.
Between this time in my life and when I came to know Jesus a huge time passed with an amazing number of things that happened to me. My Dad died, I got married, I became Dad to two little children, I became a single father, I landed up working in East London on the east coast of South Africa and this is where I finally met Jesus for the first time.
I have lots and lots of things to write about my walk through life, both with the knowledge of Jesus and without as it was before. Things are different now for me and I would love to tell someone about it. If you want to hear how Geoff met Jesus and how that first meeting changed my life then let me know in the comments.
It's been a long time I know, sorry about that.
Lots of love from Geoff in Johannesburg South Africa.