CBP: Tell me about your new book. What do you want people to know about it?
Kay: I want people to know that no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the situation, that Psalm 23 has the essence in it of what we need for peace in the midst of trials, for comfort in the midst of difficulties, and that God, when He says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” what we really need to believe that.
And we need to understand that because He is our Shepherd, because we are the sheep of His pasture, because we have heard the voice of the Shepherd, and we have come to Him, and He has given us eternal life, and He holds us in His hand, then nothing can come into our life except what is filtered through fingers of love. And so in His hand I am not to struggle rather I am to snuggle in that security of the fact that I am not a sheep without a shepherd. And I am not a sheep of any ordinary shepherd, the Lord is my shepherd, and because He is my shepherd and because He is sovereign, His sovereignty rules over all, that I will not want. He promises to supply all of my needs according to His riches and glory.
So I want them to understand that, but I also want them to understand what it means to be a sheep. I believe that when God created sheep, that he created sheep in order to show us what we’re like. And in order to show us our total and absolute, complete dependence upon a Him, He was that shepherd. Christianity, when it’s lived the way God wants us to live, is a life of total, absolute, and complete dependence on Him. So if I understand what sheep are--if I understand that they are a helpless creature, that they are a timid creature that they are easily frightened, that they are prone to wander, that they will eat anything that they want to eat, that they live in a rut if they don’t have a shepherd--if I understand what I’m like, and really see myself as I really am, then I know my total need for Him.
When I think about the times in which we’re living, it’s an age where it’s all about me. It’s an age of “you can do it,” it’s an age of “you’ve got to look out for yourself, you’re number one,” it’s an age that totally and absolutely, if I follow it, will throw me over the abyss, and throw me to the wolves. And one of the enemies of sheep are wolves: those wild beasts that prowl around that herd of sheep. If the shepherd’s there, he’s going to protect them. He says, “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” And so He is – He takes that staff and he rescues you. He takes that rod to ward off the enemy; He also takes that rod to pass the sheep under it to examine the sheep.
CBP: Do you think people misunderstand being comforted and being comfortable?
Kay: I think that’s a very good question. Yes, I do think that they misunderstand being comforted and being comfortable, and I think a lot of our Christianity today is about being comfortable. It’s about being wealthy; it’s about using God to meet all of our material needs. But don’t let Him interfere with the rest of my life because I’ve got it all under control. It’s all about ease, and we forget that God did not promise us a life of ease. Rather, He said in this world – remember this was just before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew He would be arrested. He delivered what we call kind of an upper room discourse. Whether it was all delivered in the upper room or not, we don’t know. But it begins at John 13 and goes all the way to the end of John 16, then we have His high priestly prayer in John 17, and in John 18, they arrest Him. He brings everything to a conclusion in that discourse before He prays by saying to them, “I’ve spoken these things to you because I want you to understand, in this world you will have tribulation.” So we’re not going to be comfortable. But He says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” That is our comfort.
And so our comfort is when I go through the midst of these trials, when I live in these difficulties, when things get hard and rough, I have a Comforter.
CBP: Do you think that if we’re not facing tribulation or having difficulties, that we’re not stepping out enough in faith?
Kay: Right. And He tells us in II Timothy 3 that it’s given to us not only to believe on His name, but also to suffer for His name. He says that in Philippians 1 – that it’s given unto us not only to believe in His name, but also to suffer. And then in II Timothy 3, He says that all those who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Now, I don’t think that suffering is consistent, because there’s relief from it. He says don’t be surprised in I Peter 1, Don’t be surprised at the fiery trial that overtakes you. So we are going to have fiery trials, but those trials are to refine us. But I’m not always going to be in a trial because you look at the early church, and from Acts 1 up until the persecution of Steven, you have the church living in pretty much peace, and growing. I think that the thing is that we don’t realize that that time of peace is not a time to be lax, but it is a time to draw nearer to Him so that we know Him, so when the calamity, and the onslaught or the – like some of my friends that we work with overseas – the imprisonment comes, that we have stored it so that we have it.
I was just recently in China, and I went to visit Pastor Lam in Guangzhou, and he has a house church there, they use our inductive study materials in that house church, and, in fact, a courier brought in some at that time. That was exciting to see. But as I was talking to this man, he was in prison for twenty-one years for the gospel. Twenty-one years. His wife died while he was in prison. He lived in just awful circumstances. But there was a block of relief while they let him be a barber, and during that time of being a barber, there was like a reprieve from working in the coal mines where he thought he would surely die because he was so small and frail and weak. So there are periods of relief. And then because of his bold witness, they finally came on and understood what he was doing so they moved him to another camp.
One of the things that he said was he cried out to God, “God, I’m forgetting what’s in Thessalonians, or I’m forgetting what’s in this. Help me remember.” So I think that many times when I’m lying down in green pastures, when I’m resting in that which should be a life of continuous rest, that’s time to draw nearer to my Shepherd; to get to know Him, to hide His word in my heart.
CBP: So do you think that in America, we’re not really suffering much persecution. We see our culture shifting from being Christian-based, but it’s not a personal persecution. Do you think that it means we’re not being bold enough?
Kay: I think it is. I think that what has happened – I just wrote a monthly letter, a booklet, we send out a devotional booklet every month – and I just wrote it and shared a book that I read by George Otis on the greatest threat to Christianity being the Muslim faith. And I think that’s been proven out. And yet, as I’ve considered it, I think there’s a greater threat to Christianity and that’s materialism. And I think what has happened – and you even see it in a lot of messages that are coming over television especially, and radio is that this prosperity, this you want to be blessed, you know, everything is about me. And materialism is everything is about me.
And so because of our love for things, our love for power, for our love of acceptance, we then do not stand as bright lights, we hide our light under that bushel; we’re not exceedingly salty, we lose our savor; because we don’t want to ruffle, we want to go with the flow. And what God needs are men and women who are so impassioned for Him and so in love with Him and so convinced that God has brought them to the kingdom for such a time as this, that they’re willing to be gently bold for Him. And I say gently because there’re a brashness sometimes and boldness that defies Jesus’ character. And so I think there’s great need for being convinced, absolutely convinced that God is God.
I just went to Tulsa, and from the time I checked in at the airport, I had four encounters with people before I got off that flight, for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And one of them was when I got on the plane, a woman sat down beside me, and she was just tremendously overweight, but she was just dripping with diamonds. She got out her nose drops and sniffed, and was sniffing and snorting and everything, and I’m sitting there next to her and, you know, it’s just – I’m up against the window and her presence just blocks me off from everything. And my heart wasn’t right towards this woman in the sense that I just thought, your life is just out of control. I listened to her on the plane and she was just kind of loud and talking out and everything. I had work to do and I said, “Lord, I want to be your servant, and if you want me to share in this woman’s life, Lord, I will do it. But you show me.”
Well, I was sitting there and I was reading and I have good peripheral vision, and all of a sudden I saw her hand go up to her ear, and then I saw her other hand go up to her other ear, and I saw her going like this, and I knew that one of those huge—these were gorgeous diamond earrings, I mean gorgeous, and they were huge—and they dropped down. I said to her, “You’ve lost your earring haven’t you?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “I’ll help you look for it. Don’t worry. Get up and let me see if I can find it in this seat.” She was so huge, you know, she couldn’t get down and get underneath the seat. So I got down on the floor and I was peering between these seats, and looking all over, and I said, “Let’s pray.”
Now, I’m down on the floor and she’s up there, I’ve got to pray loud enough for her to hear. And I said, “God knows where this earring is, and He knows that it’s important to you, and you’re important to Him”. So anyway, I prayed. I told God that I know that He’s sovereign, and He knew where it was, and if it was on this plane, you know, if she hadn’t lost it before, to help us find it. So anyway, she’s leaning over – she’s huge – she’s leaning over, we’re trying to find this earring, she’s shaking everything. I said, “Turn around,” I started patting her down on the back trying to see if I can feel the lump of that earring and everything, and she’s resigning herself and saying, “It’s gone.” And I’m saying, “Where have you been? Honey, I know that this is so hard on you, and I understand.” So anyway, we told the flight attendant what we were doing. I pulled out the seat, I mean I took the whole seat apart, and we couldn’t find it. And the man behind us said, “I think it’s over there.” And it was over there across the aisle, on the floor, and the flight attendant picked it up, and she was just saying, “Oh thank you, thank you for finding my earring.” And I said, “Honey, God is the one who found your earring. God is the one. Remember, we prayed. It is God who found your earring.” And I said, “Let’s thank Him.” So she sat down and we prayed, and I thanked Him and everything. Then she turned to me and said, “You know, I’ve really learned a lesson from you.” And I said, “What lesson have you learned?” She says, “That God cares about everything, even the small things. I’m usually so reluctant to ask Him for anything because I think that my prayers are so selfish, but when I get on a plane I ask God to protect me.”
To make a long story short, for the rest of that trip we talked. And she said, “My life is so out of order.” I found out that she was divorced. I found out that he had had a child by this new woman, and she was glad she wasn’t married to him anymore. I told her I would send her a book.
So all of that to say, we need to, in every circumstance that we are able to, bring God into that circumstance.
CBP: I also take your Precept classes, and you give stories in your videos like this. It has impressed me to share and to be bold and to talk to people about Christ. And I’m just amazed at His faithfulness because I step out in a small way, and He pushes my small effort forward.
Kay: And it’s so exciting!
CBP: It is exciting. And then it makes me a little bolder, so I take an even bigger step the next time. And it’s that much larger. So I’ve really been challenged by your example. Thank you for your time, Kay!