by Gailyn Van Rheenen
“Differing worldviews compete within me!”
I was struck by this realization as I ministered to a small group of new Christians and seekers in Kenya during a time of famine. Crops were dying in the fields. Women were walking miles to carry water on their backs to their homes. Everyone realized that if rain did not come soon, current crops would wilt in the fields.
We decided to conclude our time of fellowship, teaching, and discussion by beseeching God for rain. Had we not been discussing that Creator God was the sovereign Lord of his world? Before we finished our time of prayer, clouds gathered and rain began to pour from the sky. In response, we gave God glory, honor, and praise. What a time of fellowship—and seeing God work—in a new church!
Confronting My Worldviews
On the way home, as my short wheel-base Toyota Land Cruiser slipped down the muddy road and twice slide into a ditch, I was surprised that it had rained only in the general vicinity of our meeting. My mind began to discern the reasons: Rain tends to come from the West, follow a certain ridge of hills, and then drop into this valley.
My thoughts then returned to our powerful time of prayer and our belief that sovereign God is the ultimate giver of rain. I realized that within me are competing worldviews.
I am a secularist! I believe the world is organized around “laws of nature” which determine when and where it will rain.
I am a theist! I believe that God is sovereign over the world he created.
Within my mind I seek to merge these worldviews believing that God created the world to work with certain cycles or rhythms, but our loving, ever-present Creator willingly changes these rhythms he has created. Nonetheless, these two worldviews compete within me for allegiance—sometimes leading me to be more of a secularist than a theist. “Oh, God, help me trust your presence, think your thoughts, and walk in your paths so that I pray to you with expectancy!”
This experience taught me that we must understand ourselves and the people among whom we minister. Consider these four worldviews…
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