Robe of Many Colors (Part I) – Genesis 37:1-36

My new friend in Kordofan Province, Sudan. 

It was a very unusual first meeting. My task was to oversee and encourage the work of a multi-tasking team at Ahmed University in the capital city of Khartoum. One group was installing a sprinkler system for a soccer field. Another group was training electrical/air-condition employees of the university. And another was developing data-processing system for the university. And all at one time or the other were teaching English as Second Language. I was waiting in a nearby high school office for the next noon eat/rest time.

Two men, both named Mohammed, asked why I was in Sudan. After a very brief response, they asked, “Will you come help our people?” The next morning my two new friends, a few other soon to be friends, and I left for Kordofan Province…at least eight hours on almost demolished “paved” road and hours more across the Sahara Desert with no roads. At dusk I began to have second thoughts about my decision. I found myself reflecting on the words of a hymn I learned at La Tech University Baptist Student Union, when a group of freshmen and sophomores were super-committed to “save the world!” (listen and/or read especially verse three)


I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary upon the Calvary road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say,
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I’m worth a lot to thee,”
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.”

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
‘It would be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,”
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,”
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to thee.

We arrived somewhere in the vast Sahara Desert well after dark. I was given a simple, locally crafted cot on which to sleep and was directed to the sand dune that was my restroom. As I lay on my cot alongside my forty or more new friends I rested, looking at a beautiful open blue sky with stars so near I could almost touch them. I was reminded that I was the only Christ-follower and prayed for the opportunities God had planned for the next day.

Tune in next week for the rest of the story.