So… I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately.
During my primary school years – around age 9 or 10, one of the most anticipated events at the end of the school day was the ice cream man. As my mind shifted from the joy of not being the last one to be let out of the classroom (everything was a competition when I was younger lol), I could hear the chugging ice cream van parked on the other side of the leafy school fence. Most of the time I would have already spent my pocket money for that day on sweets, which I bought whilst making my way to school in the morning – golf ball chewing gums, jaw breaker fire balls, strawberry pencils – the list was endless. On those days I had no choice but to reluctantly walk past the ice cream van, envying the reception kids, who were not old enough to appreciate the flake vanilla ice cream they were allowing to melt all over the sleeves of their school uniform.
Other days I resisted the morning sweet binge in order to buy my double cone, three scoop ice cream with nuts, sprinkles and strawberry sauce on top. I had a very sweet tooth growing up. But on most days, I had done the former and therefore missed out on ice cream after school, so I felt sorry for myself. It’s not fair, if only I was like the kids whose parents picked them up from school, surely I would also enjoy this privilege. The truth is I needed to practice self discipline, sometimes it’s better we don’t get everything we want, when we want – everyday could not be “ice cream man day” because that would be bad for my health and I would also probably take it for granted – it took me a while to learn this.
Some 16 years later, as I analyse my current place in life, I still find myself grumbling “it’s not fair”. Perhaps there are aspects of your life that cause you to do the same. Why isn’t my reality like so and so’s? Why can’t everything be perfect all the time? It got to the point where I started to question God: why did You allow things to be this way? I was throwing the biggest pity party. Then I started thinking about Job and how unfair his whole experience was. Here was a guy who was so “faithful” to God, even offering sacrifices for the potential sins of his children and yet God still allowed the devil to take everything away from him! Surely he didn’t deserve that,
why would our loving, good God do such a thing?
The Holy Spirit led me to the book of Job and directed me to read the last 5 chapters and they completely shut down my pity party. If you are feeling discontent or frustrated with where you are in life or a particular ongoing situation like Job, I would encourage you to read just these five chapters – Job 38 to 42.
The truth is our understanding of “morality”, “justice”, “good” is so warped by our sinful nature that we can never ever rightly question God. Yes you can take your questions to God like I did, but accusing God’s nature and character because you’re uncomfortable with where you are in life right now, only shows how wavering and fickle our faith in Him really is.
My mind went to sessions of praise and worship were I had heartily bellowed the song lyrics of the band Housefires’ “good good Father”. I thought to myself, am I not the same person that passionately sang these words to this same God? Why was I struggling to grasp His goodness now? The truth is God is constantly molding and shaping our faith, so that it is steady, firm and sure.
And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].
Our faith in God should not be based solely on how comfortable He has made us, or the fact that we prayed and got what we prayed for, or the latest “good thing” that has happened in our lives. God is calling us to a faith that is based on our reverence and understanding of who He is first and foremost.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It isn’t logical, it isn’t transactional, it’s supernatural – it requires the inner work of the Holy Spirit to sustain this kind of faith, but it is possible to believe God simply because He is God – even when you’re in the storm. You’ve heard of child like faith – it’s very simple – young children believe even before they’ve seen the evidence. So things might be really challenging and discouraging for you at the moment, be encouraged things will get better. My prayer is that the Lord will enable us to wait upon Him, our hope will not be disappointed!
I Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
May God enable us to be steadfast in our faith and confidence in Him, so that even in the valleys, the fiery furnace, the oppositions our hope will be firmly planted in Him until He comes to our aid in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love ❤
BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH
Often times, our spiritual growth changes in pace and direction.
For instance, discovering a new spiritual gift within a short space of time or developing an enduring faith in God, over a life time.Yes the spirit is a mystery…beyond human understanding. But by the grace of GOD , HE reveals to us, what we need to know, when we need to know it.
I remember a time in my walk with Christ, when I found it difficult to pray. I would prepare myself in the morning, and soon after my prayer began, my mind would trail off, at times I would fall asleep or say things without really meaning it…
‘When I got saved’ (every Christian uses that line right…) the idea of a godly man appealed to me. I looked forward to being completely spiritually dependent on my future husband. So long as he could pray, he could speak in tongues, so long as his faith was strong, and he always said and did the “right” thing – then our relationship – our courtship, engagement and our marriage would be heaven on earth! As my passion for God developed, I came to a point in my life when I wanted, so desperately to be in a relationship (for mostly all the wrong reasons). Being in a relationship would heal my broken past, make me more God-fearing, and give me the spiritual fervour I saw and admired in my leaders at church and my Pastor – oh and I would be in a relationship – so that would be the icing on the cake.
What I’m learning now, which never occurred to me then, is that:
My future husband will almost definitely need me as much as I need him, emotionally and also spiritually. Our relationship could not be me at one end constantly taking from him spiritually, with him at the other end, carrying the responsibility for both of our spiritual journeys, and being drained out in the process. Just imagine two empty barrels at the end of the day.
Iron sharpens iron… There is a reason why iron sharpens iron. Because both parties are bringing something into the mix, which refines and helps replenish the other – by the grace of God bestowed upon them. Thus sustaining and encouraging them both in their walk with God and their journey together in pursuing righteousness.
So, I tried to make prayer the first thing I did when I woke up, but I found falling asleep came all too easy. So I tried praying after freshening up, which proved to be more successful. Over time I developed a kind of structure, and prayer points for every day of the week, which I followed loosely. I stuck to reading a chapter from the bible every morning, so that I could gain a greater understanding of the word of God – in order to communicate better with God in my prayer time. After all, you can’t speak a language you don’t understand. And before long, I started to enjoy praying – prayer points came to me more fluidly, and my structure became easier and easier to remember and follow.
I’m learning that relationships are physical yes, but they are also spiritual. In a God-fearing relationship, what you see isn’t all that you get – And isn’t that our bonus?! Like a well wrapped present, our real prize lies within. When God says two have become one, we can’t just take it literally, in the physical sense. But what we are being made to know is that before God we are now seen as one – even in spirit. So my husband’s spiritual state should be as important to me, as my own spiritual state.
For a relationship to thrive, the commitment of time, affection, and attention is very important, but so is our spiritual commitment and accountability to our spouse. Now that I am able to pray, when the season of marriage arrives in my life, I’ll be able to pray for my husband and our kids and family members and friends… the list is endless and I’m looking forward to it. Because I have developed the discipline and practice now. I can be that Super-Prayer-Warrior-Wife I’ve always wanted to be.
This is just one example. We may appear physical, but we are all on a spiritual journey. A journey God intended for constant growth and prosperity. So where do you feel you could improve spiritually? What spiritual gifts or fruits do you desire in your future wife or husband? Now turn that list towards yourself, do you have any of those gifts?
Being single is being given the opportunity to prepare, learn and grow.
So we can enjoy the benefits and rewards before marriage and during marriage.
May God grant us the grace to grow in spirit and to go from glory to glory for HIS glory. And when our season for marriage arrives, we will be anchored in CHRIST, and our marriages and our faith will stand in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!
Peace and Love