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 ❤
I spent most of my teenage years in rebellion. Against what, I’m not really sure. I still recall being pushed out of the pews by my cousin, I must have been around 10 years old. In good will, she encouraged me to answer the church altar call. But sadly that is all I remember from that memory, I don’t recall any on-going conversations to help me understand the significance of publicly accepting Christ as my Lord and Saviour. These conversations may have happened, and I did feel like I was doing something very special at the time, but to my recollection, no consistent counsel followed. But I will never forget being shooed out of the row where we sat. Still amuses me even today, I am so grateful that though she saw a child – she cared enough to desire my salvation.
So as I was saying, my teenage rebellion persisted, my path grew darker and darker, I was being “young n free” and gaining several knocks and bruises in the process. Everything that made me, me – soul spirit body where all being damaged simultaneously, by a single yet constant rebellion. By the time I was fourteen or fifteen years old, my mum had enough and soon I was living with my cousins. I still had my “freedom” but now it was under “attack” by very frequent fellowships at their home with other young Christians, attending church every Sunday and something that changed my life forever.
One evening one of my cousins, ordered me to go up to the room to read my bible. I wanted to stay in the living room in front of the TV, but I was cultured enough to know that you don’t argue with someone older than you, even if it is just a few years. I remember how my heart sunk, I was definitely being punished, or so I thought. What injustice, what wickedness, what a cruel act to send me away. But it was the one of the best things that has ever happened to me . It was difficult at first, I’m sure I caught many Zzzz’s but over time I started to scribble on my King James Bible, a gift from my mum (I still have it today – see above). After a while it became a routine, and I developed my own relationship with the Word. (Thank you Cuzzy). During this time I did some of the most scandalous things in my teens, however, something amazing happened, I started to hear God’s voice!
We all hear God differently, for me it’s like your conscience, your inner thoughts, constantly speaking to you – except you are not influencing them, you are not the source of what you hear. The inner voice of the Holy Spirit. I would spend another seven years or so, going from bad to worse. But because I started to hear God’s voice, I was praying my way through those years, I kept talking to God. Asking Him to take over. The more I lost control, falling into drama after drama, the more I became convinced that I needed to relinquish control to God; as deep as I was in sin, He heard me and He did take control.
So if you want to hear God’s voice, I would encourage you to start with studying His Word. It may sound too ordinary, too easy – what no vision, no dramatic supernatural encounter? Nope. I started hearing God after studying His Word. Like I have said in previous posts:
you can’t understand someone no matter how loud, clearly or slowly they are speaking, if you don’t take the time first to learn their language.
You can start with reading a chapter in the Bible a day, meditating on specific passages, or memorising a verse of scripture a week. God’s Word is life, it will literally transform everyone who comes in contact with it, who has a willingness and desire to change.
For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
May God grant us the grace to study and remain in His Word, so that we can be transformed to the image of His Son, hear from Him and be led to His perfect will for our lives in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love
A raucous scene, a battlefield, contention on every side. Bodies throw against one another. Who but who will surrender? Who will stand?
And there in the midst of it all, one stands, a solace surrounding him. In the chaos, the quiet abides with him. Soon they notice, the tranquil site on the battlefield.
He holds a sword, but this will not stop them from tempting him.
I have often imagine myself, in a complete suit of armour, walking slowly along the seashore, the sea air clean and clear, in the shadow of my Father. His peace quietens me, but still I hold in my hand the sword ready to fight.
Simply holding a sword on a battlefield will not fend off opposition, it certainly won’t win the war. And like this man, sword in hand, we cannot simply have the Gospel and persevere. At all times we must use the Gospel, put it to use as shield, armour and weapon.
It is the good fight of faith.
1 corinthians 15:1 – 3
Even in trials and tribulations, may God continue to renew in our hearts, the Good News of the Gospel and a revelation of Himself, that we may continue to stand and persevere in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love