A Tale of an Ordinary Saint.

A teacher who came to my Discipleship Training School in YWAM told this tale. It was about his experience attending one of the soul-formation camps headed by Neville Winger on Great Barrier Island, east of North Auckland, New Zealand.

“My work duty time usually had me outside, working on the grounds. Most days, as I weeded, or cleared, or trimmed, I would notice some camper trudging up the hill to Neville’s office, with head bowed, shoulders slumped. One by one, as God brought to the surface old issues to be healed, each would seek prayer and guidance from our beloved Neville. An hour or so later I would see the person emerge, back straighter, head held higher, hope stirring in their eyes.

“The day came when it was my turn. I too shuffled up the hill to knock on that door. Neville called for me to come in, then motioned me to a seat. He was sitting behind his desk, with Bible open. I sat in front of his desk. Neville said nothing for the longest time, but sat with head bowed over his Bible.

“Eventually, he began praying. He hadn’t asked me anything about what was on my heart, yet he began praying into exactly the issues that were weighing on me. I was amazed. Neville was so clearly a man who listens to God. About an hour later, I walked back down the hill from his office, with hope rekindled.”

How do you feel when you read of a saint who hears so confidently from God? A little skeptical? That he doesn’t sound real, not like one of us ordinary mortals?

Firstly, let me assure you that Neville Winger did not have an infallible hotline to God. None of us does. But he was a man with long experience sitting in God’s presence, waiting on him, listening to him.

Secondly, Neville’s close friendship with God doesn’t make him extraordinary, like an exhibit at a museum. No, God sees that kind of devotion as just ordinary. It’s what we’re all called to. Neville’s story might inspire us, but it doesn’t put him in a different category. Outrageous devotion to God is simply what the Christian life is about. The New Testament, indeed the whole Bible, makes this so plain.

Young person, or not-so-young person, are you becoming caught up in a Romance? The road you are taking is so loaded with significance, you dare not take it without waiting long and often in the presence of Jesus.