The Shiny, Sharp Tool
Dorothy Williams was a British missionary who served in West Africa during the 1930s. She was a nurse from Wales who spent her time on the mission field training African nurses. Dorothy was very frail, and her mission board back home didn’t expect her to last more than a year or two working in Africa. But with God’s help, she amazed the board by serving many years, refusing to be discouraged by her limitations. This inspired the young African nurses under her charge who were often disheartened by their own poverty and lack of resources.
One day a young nurse was carrying a tray of surgical instruments, and Dorothy noticed a sad look in her student’s eyes. “Oh, Mum, I am feeling much afraid today,” the young woman shared. “Dearie, look at these shiny instruments on your tray,” Dorothy said, picking up the pointiest one. “The devil has a tray of instruments too, and the shiniest and sharpest is his tool of discouragement—it’s sharp because he uses it so often.” The student nurse smiled, blushed, and then went on her way with fresh resolve.
Ezra 4:4‑5 describes the devil’s strategy against God’s people. It is “to discourage and frighten the people . . . to work against them and to frustrate their plans.” Do not be fearful, for the Bible repeats the phrase, “Do not be afraid,” 112 times. And Dorothy would add, “Don’t be discouraged.” You have your own shiny, sharp tool: the Word of God (Heb 4:12). Keep it sharp and use it often against your adversary!
Father, give me courage today in the midst of challenging circumstances. Rescue me from fear and anxiety!