What if God Asked You to Do Something Impossible?

by Abigail Follows

Remember the story of Naaman? He had an all-consuming problem, a problem beyond human ability to fix. So he sought the help of the God of Israel. Yet when Elisha told him to go take a bath in the Jordan river, he was offended. He not only hesitated–he almost missed being healed.

Thankfully, his servants intervened:

 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

2 Kings 5:13

How often do we say that we can do the impossible with God’s help… yet hesitate to obey in something simple? Something that might be misunderstood, something outside our comfort zone, something… strange?

What if God asked you to do something that was impossible, not because it was a feat of superhuman strength, but because it challenged your pride?

As missionaries in India, my husband, Joshua and I were eager to “reach the unreached.” Yet when God asked me to do something socially awkward, I almost missed out on His blessings. Today I’m sharing with you the first chapter of Hidden Song of the Himalayas: Memoir of a Gospel Seed Sower in the Mountains of India, where I write about doing impossible things with God’s help.

Hidden Song of the Himalayas

Chapter One: Prompted

He’s crying. Go to him. The thought was clear, annunciated. I opened my eyes, heavy from deep sleep, and listened. The cries of our landlord’s young grandson filtered down from their home on the floor above ours.

It’s Neenoo. You must go to him. Was this God speaking to me? But why would God ask me to do something so crazy?

Pulling on my glasses, I glanced at my husband, Joshua. He still slept. I stumbled out of our room to the stairs that connected our home with our landlord’s. A lock on either side of the door stayed latched unless Joshua was away. Then Mrs. Pandit unlocked her side in case I needed something in the night. The Pandits used an outside entrance.

Go upstairs. 

Instead, I sat on the stairs. I can’t do it, God! 

Go.

I know we’ve been working on me doing things I’m scared to do. But I can’t just barge into someone’s house in the middle of the night. Despite the seriousness of the moment, I chuckled at the thought. Parvata friends had entered my home at many inconvenient times in our five years in India. Knocking was unusual in that close-knit Hindu community. Even so, I suspected visiting in the middle of the night would be considered socially awkward even for the Parvata.

Their kids cry all the time, and so do ours. What if I’m hearing You wrong? What if they feel offended? Besides, their side of the door is locked. 

Little Neenoo continued to cry. My heart pounded in time with God’s voice: Go. Go. Go.

But God, I’m afraid of what they will think!

Didn’t you tell me this afternoon that you are willing to die for Me? Isn’t this easier than dying?

“Okay,” I said aloud. Crawling up the steep steps, I opened the lock on our side. The door swung open an inch. Strange, I thought. Their side isn’t locked. Taking a deep breath, I walked through the door, then continued on to the only room that showed a light and peeked inside. 

In the center of the room stood a tandoor, the Hindi word for wood stove. The women of the family sat around the tandoor on colorful mats, staring down at Neenoo, who lay on the floor. He was still crying and had black smudges around his eyes. I recognized this as kajal, a cosmetic believed to protect from the evil eye.

Mrs. Pandit, Neenoo’s grandmother, glanced up at me. She didn’t seem surprised to see me.

“He woke you, too, huh?” she asked. Her black hair frizzed out from under a red headscarf. The powdery tilak on her forehead, a sign of devotion to the gods, was smudged.

“Um . . . no,” I said. “God did.” 

Mrs. Pandit nodded as though this was normal. I sat on the closest mat and tried to make myself small.

Pray for him. 

I bowed my head.

Show you are praying. 

I folded my hands. Neenoo rolled over on his back and continued to cry.

Go to him. 

I struggled for a moment as everyone’s gaze focused on me. But I had to continue, if only to find out God’s purpose in prompting me to come. Standing, I walked to the mat nearest Neenoo and sat down again. He rolled towards me, still wailing.

Now Mr. Pandit arrived. He glanced at me, then took a seat on a mat next to his daughter-in-law, Neenoo’s mother. 

Mr. Pandit sat the same way he walked. Like someone important. My heartbeat pounded in my ears. A professional spiritualist, Mr. Pandit was the closest person to a witch doctor I knew, though he looked nothing like the stereotype. Even now, in the middle of the night, he wore a wool suit coat over a long, white tunic. 

Ever since Mr. Pandit and his family had moved in upstairs, people had been coming to see him non-stop. Sometimes I heard him at night working with a client for whom he would tell the future or curse an enemy. Beside him, I felt small and immature, like a child playing at religion. 

God, do this through me, I prayed. I am nothing!

Lay your hand on the child. 

I reached out my hand and rubbed Neenoo’s back. He looked up at me, eyes wide.

Pray out loud. 

I felt my stomach tighten, and all the hairs on my arms stood on end. Just open your mouth, I told myself. Take the first step. 

“God in Heaven,” I prayed, the Hindi words coming easily. “I ask in Jesus’ name that if anyone has put a curse or the evil eye on this child, it will be broken by the power of Jesus’ name. I pray that Jesus’ blood will cover Neenoo and prevent any harm from coming to him. I pray You will give him peace and rest. Send Your Holy Spirit into this house to grant this family sleep. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.” 

I opened my eyes and looked down at Neenoo. His eyes fluttered, then shut. With a sigh, he fell asleep. After a long moment, Mrs. Pandit broke the silence. “Christians believe in the evil eye?”

“We believe that humans have an enemy,” I said. “Satan wants to kill, steal, and destroy. But when Jesus went to the cross, He took all curses and the evil eye upon Himself. He let evil and sin kill Him. But when He rose from the dead, He showed that He has power over everything—curses, magic powers, sin, and even death.”

“Huh,” Mrs. Pandit grunted as though I’d said something strange. I felt strange, too. I’d never thought of the gospel like that. We all sat for a long time, watching Neenoo sleep. 

“Goodnight,” I said at last and left.

Back downstairs in our bedroom, I found Joshua sitting cross-legged on our bed. 

“What’s going on?” he asked. “I woke up and saw you’d gone upstairs. I’ve been praying for you.” 

When I told Joshua what had happened, we rejoiced. Maybe this was the breakthrough with the Parvata we’d been praying for. Maybe this was the very seed that would cause this spiritual desert to blossom, as God had promised through the prophet Isaiah:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

And do not return there without watering the earth

And making it produce and sprout,

And providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

So will My word be which goes out of My mouth;

It will not return to Me empty,

Without accomplishing what I desire,

And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

We claimed the Bible promise yet again, then crawled under our woolen blankets. All was quiet. No smell of incense drifted down from upstairs. No puja bell clanged. Not a drumbeat punctuated the stillness. No beggars cried out for alms at the door. No migrant children clambered over the fence to play. No visitors sat waiting for chai. This was a rare moment of peace, a moment to think. 

As I lie there waiting for sleep to come, my mind wandered over the past ten years of my life. I could never have known a decade earlier that God would place me in the center of a fight over people’s souls. Yet here I was.

Keep leading, Lord, I prayed. Only You can change people’s hearts. I know from experience. After all, You changed mine.

Click here to learn more about my book, Hidden Song of the Himalayas: Memoir of a Gospel Seed Sower in the Mountains of India.

Leave a Comment

"Innovative, introspective, and enormously inspiring."

-Bradley Booth, Author of Showers of Grasshoppers.

Now available on Amazon and from the author.