Being discipled through difficult times – a testimony by Nick Farrant
Last year I was driving home from Mozambique with my wife and three-year old twins. After a road accident I was arrested and put in prison for a week. On the day the accident happened Bill Forbes, whom I consider a spiritual father to me, sent me a text.
The text was: ‘Praying for Nick now. The Lord showed me Daniel in the Lion’s den. The Lord my God shut the mouths of the lions and I also saw the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace…but there were not three, I saw another like the Son of Man. Jesus has allowed this to happen to Nick to reveal Himself so that his faith would rise to greater heights as he sees Him in His faithfulness. What the devil intended for evil, God will turn to good. Today Nick receives hinds’ feet!’
This text was sent around 9am in the morning; and through a strange set of circumstances, at about 4pm I was in prison. Was what happened absolutely horrific? Of course! Was I scared? Strangely, not as much as I should have been. Jesus never left my side! When you have the peace of Jesus, he will protect you and give you strength you didn’t know you had.
While in prison, I felt God say; “Nick I am a good God, I did not want this for you, but now that you’re in this mess I’m going to stretch you a lot, you’re not going to like it, but you need to trust me!”
They took all my possessions, except for my trousers and shirt. I was also allowed to keep my emergency epilepsy drops, and they didn’t see my wedding ring so I kept that too. I was completely at peace about going into that cell. The cell was really a concrete box, separated into two halves, no windows and very dark. At a stage in the evening, I was told to stay in one half alone while the other prisoners stayed in the other half.
There was a lot of shouting in the other half of the room and then suddenly the prisoners started to sing. Beautiful African voices were praising God. I know that because I heard two words which I recognised: Hallelujah and Jehovah! After a while a few people filtered through into my side.
It occurred to me that here were men who had literally nothing but the clothes they were wearing, praising God. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I imagine for most, they were, as Christians, in a much better spiritual place than most people. Because they were in a place where they had to rely on Christ, because they had nothing else to hang on to - some of them not even family. We were all guilty of something. Being guilty is almost always a prerequisite for being in prison.
Later, the guards brought me pizza, wors, salad, and about six litres of Coke. It was from the family that my wife Candy and our twins were staying with. A Beautiful Christian couple! I knew it was way too much, and it was intended that I share with my cell mates.
There was a note on the pizza box from Cands! It said that she would be there to get me the next day. That was intended to give me strength and hope through the night. So I gave the pizza away and asked if I could keep the box.
At dinnertime the other men shared their boiled cabbage with me - yes, boiled cabbage! I thought to myself, Lord you have a sense of humour. First giving away the pizza, my favourite food and then in exchange getting the cabbage, my absolute worst. Having a sense of humour really helps when you’re living a nightmare!
On the roof of the candlelit cell, in graffiti was written; “He is risen” That night I fell asleep on a concrete floor under a blanket of Christ.
Because of my epilepsy, I was moved to a small room which I shared with the shift police. I spent the next six days in that room. With all that silence you would think that I had more than enough time to spend time with God in prayer. Strangely enough I only remember praying two prayers; ‘Lord, please fight for me’, and ‘Give me your words’! I also read Psalm 91.
I was able to witness to a few guards. Very badly, but in my defence when you’re witnessing to people with AK47’s it’s a little harder than most situations. So, turning to the side, and looking away, I told them how much Jesus loved them.
But here is the thing that got to me: For me, Satan wasn’t really in that prison at all! If you understand who Satan is, you’ll understand that he’s the great tempter, deceiver, he always offers you the easy way out.
When you’re in a place like that Satan has very few cards to play. What is he really going to do? You have very few possessions, absolutely no pride, very little dignity. I didn’t even have the strength to be angry.
I was frustrated, absolutely. But I realised very quickly that I was completely at the mercy of man. Man is corrupt; I am corrupt! So, I hung on to what the Holy Spirit gifts us - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That nobody can take away. And I experienced, when I clung on to the fruit of the Spirit, Satan had virtually no cards to play! It’s when our hope starts to rely on man again that Satan reveals himself.
Anything that happened to me in Mozambique is so much easier to understand when I view it from God’s point of view The discipleship I received in Mozambique is so much easier for me to deal with now that I’ve looked at it from God’s eyes. But, I pray you don’t have to go through a nightmare, like I did to be discipled into a whole new way of approaching life.
Acts 20:24 (NIV)
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
...and of course that means discipling people for Christ’s Church
My experience in Mozambique was an experience that God let me go through. But for His Glory. I’m sure most of us have had, or perhaps are having now, their own version of hell and you’ve got to trust that what you have experienced or are experiencing is for His Glory too!