SPRING HOPE - BY AINSLEY BAILEY
Women of reverence welcomes Ainsley Bailey as our guest blogger.
Ainsley is married to Gareth Bailey. Gareth leads the team that leads City on a Hill church in Potchefstroom. They have two beautiful daughters Abigail and Cailyn.
Ainsley has a theology degree as well as a post grad in education. She is passionate about communicating the heart of God and loves to use creative ways to do this. Ainsley feels called to be a link that links people to God and to one another. She is passionate about seeing the call of God in peoples lives and encouraging them to step into all that He has for them.
She also loves riding horses and has schooled many ponies and horses. She enjoys teaching small children to ride and loves seeing God use horses to bring healing to people. Ainsley and her daughters love spending time at Windrush Equestrian, the home of their much loved pony Prince Donatello.
Spring is a time of hope and renewal. As we start to feel the warm sun and see glimpses of green and blossoms all around us, the changes usually give us a sense of hope. Hope for what lies ahead as we look forward to the summer months. As I look back at the cold winter months spent in a locked down South Africa, I feel extremely thankful that I did not have to spend those months in a freezing cold metal shack. Even though I start to see the little bits of green slowly coming through the white winter grass, questions about hope for this nation start swirling around and around in my head.
Is there really still hope for a country like South Africa? Most of my family have left South Africa in fear and they often try to convince us to join them. Will the colours of our rainbow nation ever start pointing to that which we have prayed so earnestly for? I have heard countless prophetic words and promises over this nation. At times I have found it really difficult to believe some of them. Driving past squatter camps with sewerage running down the streets and tiny children running around with nobody watching them while rapists and murderers walk the same streets. If the promises of God do not include these poor people being uplifted, I question God’s heart completely. So many have prayed for the Lord to heal this land. How will this happen?
I was walking down the street and contemplating running away and leaving for a safer country when these words dropped into my spirit, “Do you believe in the power of the gospel?” What a question! Do I really believe that the power of this gospel brings salvation to everyone who believes? The word salvation means to deliver someone from sin and its consequences. Do I believe that this gospel has the power to save a whole nation from sin and it’s consequences, both past and present? If my answer to this question is honestly yes, then I can believe that the true gospel can transform this nation. I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change individual lives and if individual lives can be changed then a whole nation can be changed.
I would like to share one gospel transformation story that recently gave me hope.
“My lewe was roff Ainsley!” words spoken in one of my favourite South African accents. Josephine my Afrikaans coloured domestic worker is an amazing story teller! My husband Gareth and I often find ourselves just about rolling on the floor laughing as she shares her hilarious stories with us.
This time I was not laughing as Josephine proceeded to tell me her life story. Her mother had passed away when she was a young girl and she was sent to live with her fathers family. The family made her earn her keep by making her work and clean while they sat in front of the television set. She would scrape the blisters off of her feet that had been caused from having to walk to school and back barefoot throughout South African winter months in the freezing cold Free State. When Josephine arrived home from school the piles of dishes would be waiting for her. She had to wash these before being allowed to eat her “pap en uie” supper while the rest of the family ate better food.
As Josephine continued, my swirling head strangely started to become hopeful. I started to see that the power of the gospel can transform any life. Josephine somehow ended up in a church service somewhere. She told me how distracted she was during the worship as she was looking all around, not singing to God or even trying to focus on Him. Yet whilst standing there all distracted, tears started rolling down her cheeks. Josephine may not have been looking for God but He was finding her. The Lord had chosen to reveal Himself to a lost, young barefooted girl that had nothing to give Him but her broken self. As I listened to her continue to tell me how the Lord started to transform her life it gave me a huge sense of hope. Josephine is still being made to become more like Jesus but I am convinced that if I can love her and disciple her she can impact many lives that I could never reach.
What gives me hope for this nation is the fact that as the Lord brings healing and transformation to individual lives, He slowly transforms a whole nation. As we present Jesus to this nation every day of our lives I truly believe we will start to see the dead across our nation come to life.
I can sense when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit and lately I have been pleasantly amazed by the Lord as I am coming across people everywhere I go who are filled with Him. From the packer beaming life and joy as she packs my bags at the shops, to the petrol attendant, to the groom at the horses telling me about the depth of his relationship with the Lord. If we can just notice people around us every day and see into their lives and just love them, we will start to see blades of green grass showing through the dead white grass. If we look and remain aware we will start to see the glimmers of hope across our nation.
So my encouragement this spring is that as you are aware of the earth changing and transforming all around you pointing to the coming of summer, start to notice the spiritual atmosphere changing too. As we share Jesus, the living water with people every day, they too will start to come to life and become blades of green grass pointing to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.