“No chance at all, if you think you can pull it off by yourself, but we have every chance in the world if we let God do it” Mark 10:27 (MSG)
“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16 NKJV)
When making it over the long haul seems impossible
When chaos, uncertainty, doubt and fear seems to be the order of the day
When the voice of reality presents pitched compositions of depression, frustration and confusion
When the rubber meets the road and push comes to shove
When the heats get turned up and the fight of faith looks dead on arrival
When lamentations seems to be in a heated battle with your praise on my lips
May my focus remain fixated on you
May the Father’s love always lead my life
May I always remain careless in the care of God
May I always walk in the reality that I have a heavenly Father that cares for me
May I always remember that I have a present help even before the need arises.
May my heart be filled with the revelation of your ever-abiding presence whispering You are not alone.
I ask this in Jesus’ Name
This piece is so personal and means a lot to me (*So, I agree, it may not be relevant to you. But thank you for reading it anyway *big smile*). The everyday travails of life are real. I have been drenched and wet by the torrent of the craziness of life. I have been discouraged, distracted and sometimes frustrated with happenings around me. I have made mistakes, called the wrong shots in grief and desperation. People have been disappointed at me over my decisions and actions. I have made career decisions that almost put my entire ambition on the edge of a cliff and I slacked in God’s assignment for my life. At that point in my life, nowhere looked like a head way – my ‘world’ stood still with nothing tangible to show for it. I was practically living on the edge – was between two extremes, just a little push would make me take a side. Life became a dichotomy between “what is probable” and “what is possible” – permutations and combinations took over trusting in the invisible. At those times, I also realise that Life should be lived on the bills of God’s overwhelming goodness and grace.
In the heat of the fire, people want you to be proactive. By being proactive, they want you to pace more, worry more, call SOS, sweat it out, complain more and move about in circus. People could become so vested in “movement”, that they don’t even mind if “progress” is being made or not. Most times, in order not to appear careless, we are tempted to join the worry gang. But, like a popular cliché on social media, I dare say “who worry don epp?”. Worry is a negative energy, saps you of your strength and changes your focus from “what is true” to “what is real”.
In the face of the storm, I started wallowing in my fears and anxieties, my memories became filled with regretting the past and fearing the future. I made a strong resolve not to repeat the mistake of the past, but on the bill of my effort and strength. I stood up, staggered, walked and made the same mistake over again. I found it difficult to trust God in the moment, while my heart could not fathom the real-time, present-day God. My focus shifted from “who God is” to “who I was” at the moment. I was blinded by my weakness…I schemed, strategized and designed framework to set me back on course, but the output had no “master” in the “piece”, so it wasn’t a masterpiece. (*Haha! I just felt like a wordsmith with that punchline). My life became about what should have happened, what might have happened and what hopefully will happen, not realising that God is in my every moment.
I ‘disconnected’ from every support system – friends, pastors, family, mentors etc. I just wanted to be alone…alone time with me in the murky waters of the travails. Disappointments and Rejections became so overwhelming that the sun that rises each morning became more real than the word of Him that causes the sun to rise. My email box was full with messages starting with “We regret to…, I am afraid, we cannot…, However, I am sorry…, We are sorry…, However, We regret that…” On the outside, I looked all fly like a diamond in the sky, but on the inside, I was falling like a pack of cards. At those times, a lot of voices came to me like the words of the chief priest to Jesus when He was being crucified “He saved others, He cannot save Himself…(Matt.27:41-42)”. I heard words in the same similitude “You know a lotta stuffs about God and His word, let your knowledge save you fah…na head knowledge baba get, baba no get fruits”. I heard so much of such words both implied and direct. I wonder the kind of comments Peter would have been burdened with in my generation when he denied Jesus, but still stood up to preach about that same man he betrayed on the day of Pentecost (Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-27, Acts 2:14-42). I still get subliminal messages on social media and other platforms because of some mistakes I made but then, I’ve realised there is peace and contentment in finding and owning your ‘subs’ (Another One! Another punchline! *punchlines ti take over*). If I have not made sense or whatever to you, I’m sorry but take this line with you, GOD IS IN YOUR EVERY MOMENT.
I learnt three vital points I’d like to share with you when life hits hard and it seems your head is below water and getting drowned.
1. Focus on Who God Is.
One of the major things, season of travails tends to do is to make you doubt the character of God. It wants to undermine your perspective of God’s character. God is a good and gracious father. God has your best interest at heart and He is more interested in your well-being than you are. God is not just a God of the past or the future; He is God of the present. He is not bounded by time and space. God is present and active on the timeline of humanity.
Moses was interested in knowing why the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. God was more interested in reminding Moses who He is – I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:1-14). Martha needed Jesus to come in time to heal his brother Lazarus of his sickness, but was very perplexed when Jesus came at the late hour. Jesus seemed no longer needed as Lazarus has been dead for days. Mary and Martha needed a Jesus that would heal the sick but Jesus was more interested in revealing who He is, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11:17-44). The answer to our travails is not first and foremost focusing on who we are, but focusing on who God is. His “I am” is always greater and more than enough for our “I need”. Relate with God like a friend. He listens. He cares. So, if you are looking for any ‘major key’ in troubled times, grow in your revelation of Jesus (2Pet.1:2-3, 2Pet.3:18).
2. God loves you. And it probably does not matter what you say or do.
I know, right? The second point sounded ridiculous, common knowledge and simple enough, you do not need to be reminded? But then, embedded in those three simple words is all the assurance you need. Each day should be lived with fresh revelations of the Love of God for you. I believe life is a journey of continuous discovery of God’s love.
We think the answer to frustration is more efforts…not more efforts, but the revelation of His abundant grace (Rom.5:17). Your flesh wants to exert more to face frustration. In His love, you find peace and freedom, where you become persuaded of the outcome in God irrespective of the circumstances. In the knowledge of His love for you, you find ammunitions to keep fighting the good fight of faith. One of the most dangerous locations for a believer is not an ISIS infested territory, but anywhere you find yourself doubting the love of God and losing faith in God. I feel there are no deep stuffs in this second point right? (*smiles*).
Always remember, it’s a lie from the pit of hell to believe YOU ARE ALL ALONE or YOU ARE IN THE TRAVAIL ALONE (Heb.13:5). At those moments in life, when you just want to throw in the towel and give up on anything that’s overwhelming at the moment making you feel drained and alone, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE (Rev.3:20, Joshua 1:9). On the timeline of humanity, God is always posting, liking and commenting on your status with full assurance. When you shut the door on everyone and they give up on you, He is still at the door knocking. I may not know how you have started, but one thing I’m persuaded of is this: Keeping ourselves in the love of God is the way to end well. And in the knowledge of His love, we find true life. With His love, he calms all our fears (Zeph.3:16-17). Our lives must start and end with a dependence on God. With Faith and the knowledge of His great love in our hearts, we win always. In His loving arms, you find rest. He has made us accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). That’s the greatest validation and acceptance – approval of the father.
3. Stay Grateful.
At those times, you may want to pray and not find words to utter. You just want to lie in your bed all day and think of how your life has gone from ‘100’ to ‘0’ real quick. One sure thing to do is: remember His faithfulness in some seemingly hopeless situations He has showed up in times past. Let His past faithfulness dominate your mind. Someone once said “If you want to get out of the pit you are in, Start thinking about the goodness of the Lord. Good news has a way of replicating itself”. God still does things that do not add up. Live life on the bill of overwhelming goodness of God.
And if you are thinking, you’ve ‘lost’ things or it’s a little too late, I’d like you to know that God’s best is never in the past (Prov.4:18). Ruth probably thought Mahlon’s death was the final blow, but there was a Boaz in the future.
Back to my story! God is faithful regardless. He will never lie. God’s mercy is greater than my mistakes and He sure fixes situations better than ‘Olivier Pope’. In my dealings, I find myself a toolkit for the journey of life: Life is to be lived on the bills of God’s overwhelming grace and goodness. Stay on course! Know who is in your boat and you aren’t going down. You are called by His Name, It’s on His Bill.
The Infallibility of God’s Word
The dependability of His Faithfulness
The consistency of His Character and Nature
My Sure Anchor
Judah Smith in his book “LIFE IS___” gave four blueprints about life: 1. Life is to be loved and to love 2. Life is to trust God in every moment 3. Life is to be at peace with God and yourself 4. Life is to enjoy God. I think I want to add a fifth blueprint, 5. Life is to be lived on the bill of God’s overwhelming grace and goodness
“Jerusalem will be told:
“Don’t be afraid.
Your God is present among you,
a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
and delight you with his songs.” (Zeph.3:16-17 MSG)
For every ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’, I hope this piece ministers hope and faith to you.