From time to time, all of us need an encouraging reminder to help us through discouragement, defeat, and the curves along life’s road. Sometimes we just need to hear the truth of God’s love and grace told in a new way.
Author Edson L. Knapp’s Made for Love: Thoughts from the Watering Hole; of Love, Grace, and African Tales does just that. Knapp grew up as a child of missionaries in Tanzania. In this collection of devotions, he traces a journey through Africa and reminds us of God’s extraordinary grace through stories, reflective questions, and prayers.
Made for Love presents a literary safari, sharing beautifully told tales and anecdotes that will touch the heart. Some of the stories are exciting, some are tender, and some will make you laugh. With an African flavor found only by the watering hole, be touched afresh by the grace and love of God.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
When I was about five years old, my parents and my brother Richard and I drove from Kigoma, Tanzania, to Dodoma. Ordinarily it’s a five hour drive. We started out around noon on the excellently maintained dusty gravel road. After an hour or so, we had a flat tire. No problem. We changed out for the spare. Then we had another flat tire. No problem. A handy patch kit is an essential part of a Tanzanian missionary car kit. So we took out the inner-tube, found the hole and patched it up. Then, using our handy foot pump, we filled the tire with air and off we went. Until a half hour later, we had another flat tire, same tire. We repeated this ritual for a total of sixteen times. The seventeenth flat tire found us an hour from our destination at 1:00 A.M. The moon shown brightly. We jacked up the Land Rover and I watched Dad and my brother repeat the process of removing the tire again. We were in a tropical forest. As they removed the tire we heard some elephants begin trumpeting nearby. As Richard and Dad tried to find the seventeenth hole to patch, the trumpeting grew louder and angrier and closer. Trees were being knocked down. In alarm Dad told me to get in the car. As fast as they could, they put the rim back on the vehicle and when it was attached, they lowered the jack and threw the offending tire on the roof rack. We zoomed off bumping on the bare rim. I just glimpsed elephants through the back window as we drove off.
Seventeen flat tires. That was not a trip to repeat. My brother learned how to fix a flat tire really fast and I had fun watching. Dad, from then on, had the record for the most number of flat tires on one trip by any missionary.
Perseverance and trials create character.
Do trials shake me? Does God bring tribulation to you for a reason? Are you thankful for God teaching you character and hope?
Father when You bring tribulation give me perseverance. From that perseverance give me proven character. In my trials I ask for Your hope. Pour out Your love within my heart.
Edson L. Knapp is a father, husband, physician, and small-group lesson author. The son of a missionary, he grew up in east Africa, the setting of Made for Love. He is a frequent and popular speaker at schools, organizations, and business events. He is married to Renda Knapp, an obstetrician/gynecologist; they currently live in Kingsport, Tennessee, with their seven children.