I am a great admirer of African ingenuity.
On the wall next to my desk is a small example – an illustration of a lovely woman at work grinding meal. The work of art is entirely made of butterfly wings.
It’s not only the brilliance of the art that impresses me, but the ingenuity of keeping a family fed in South Africa with butterfly wings on paper.
A missionary friend of mine brought me another treasure for my office. It is a beautiful wood carving of a man in prayer that has been carefully crafted in minute detail. In this case the ingenuity is in the way a Liberian artist who has no hands created this work. He used his feet to accomplish the intricate carving.
The carving of a man in prayer points to another aspect of African ingenuity I admire – some great examples from the continent of the practice of healing prayer.
Today, for example, I read something by a man living in the Democratic Republic of Congo who had health worries for himself and his family. On learning of his situation, a friend felt compassion for the man. He gave him a copy of a book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and explained the book’s message could inspire spiritual insights that would bring to light the solution he was looking for.
He further recalled: ‘I had become an atheist a few years before, having lost all faith in God. But the content of Science and Health immediately caught my attention.’
He was particularly struck by a passage that talked of faith ‘advanced to spiritual understanding’ as ‘the evidence gained from Spirit’ which ‘establishes the claims of God’.
He felt as if those words were talking directly to him – assuring him that instead of having to have blind faith, which was what had led him to become an atheist in the first place, he could have ‘a faith filled with results and tangible proofs that God is present in our lives’.
“I then felt impelled to pray with all my heart…On the third day, I felt particularly inspired. I knew then that God does exist, that He is our Father-Mother, and He is always responding to our needs. That very day, I experienced an instantaneous and spectacular healing of a throat infection that had been going on for a few days and had prevented me from eating and drinking normally”, he gratefully concluded. A few days later another family member was healed of a chronic condition that modern medicine and traditional African medicine had been unable to make better.
Beautiful art, overcoming the odds and an innovative approach to healing.
I love what I’m learning from the people of Africa!