Every December, I spend time in solitary prayers and meditation to hear from God how He is going to deal with my life in the coming year. For the past five years, what the Lord drops into my spirit after such encounters become my theme I walk with throughout the coming year. “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.” Isaiah 14:24.
In all these years, my New Year message is my theme but this year was quite different. This is the only year that my personal theme was not my New Year message nor did I have a message to write. The simple reason was that I did not understand the message from the Lord. God is infinitely beyond our understanding (Job 36:26). I least expected such a message but that was what the author of my faith decided to have as my 2017 chapter of my life book.
It is four months into the new year and I am now fully having a good understanding of what the Lord meant. In December, God told me “I will lack nothing this year” James 1:4. This is the assurance of the Lord’s word in my life this 2017. I can say without any doubt that the Lord has been faithful in everything He has said concerning my life so far this year and will He do for the remaining months until He drops yet another divine direction going into 2018. Every road of this manifestation of the blessed assurance in my life, has seen me encounter real trials that have sought to question my character and my very being as a child of God.
James chapter one verse two talks about me coming into contact with various trials which is a testing of my faith to produce perseverance.
It has not been easy with me these four months and the challenges of life issues like a storm on the sea have been fast in coming. Fast like Usain Bolt and skillful like Lionel Messi. But I have an anchor in Christ Jesus who has kept me firmly steadfast. God’s grace is strong enough to hold me steady through every difficulty in life.
The most difficult trial I have had to pass through has to do with my work, my daily bread. In fact the very place I spend the majority of my time is the very place am facing the fiery trials. “Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart-the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it-and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.” Maurice R. Franks. The storms have raged fast and high
But am I shocked? No! For the Lord told me this year comes with it various trials and one seems like the punishment am enduring. It can’t get me depressed for the spirits of depression and frustration have no hold over my life. The good news is that no matter the situation am going through, no matter the pain, anguish, rejection, maltreatment, so long as I have the Holy Spirit, depression can’t take hold of me. The believer with the Holy Spirit has the fruit of the Spirit. There may come days of sorrow, weeping may last for the duration of the night, your life may be experiencing set backs and darkness, but these are just emotional states that won’t last. They shall pass. There are some spiritual fruits in the DNA of the believer to counter these emotional states. These are joy and peace. They are not just state of emotion but spiritual fruits. They make us master our feelings and enable us live lives as though we have no problem in them. The afflictions of life may come but we are sure that the Lord will deliver us from them all.
This is not the first time am at such a point in my life. But the events of these few months into the year show how unreliable man maybe. Human nature will always fail and disappoint you. That is why we are admonished not to trust in the chariots of Egypt for it will bring us a curse. When man fails you and you have no first source of hope, that is what leads to various evils. The action of a very good brother or friend may be the trial that shall seek to be a block to your progress, but in actual sense your school of lesson. Trials in whatever level they may take, has the enemy coming in to take advantage for his sinful cause. In such trials come lessons you will need to pick, analyses and see God’s dealings in them no matter how painful they may seem because after you have gone through, your faith would be refined as gold. It is not what you go through that matters, but how you end or come out of it. “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ).
God does not share His glory with man and permits various temptations to come our way to take away man’s hand from His master hand piece of art, skillful designed to suit the pattern of life. No one comes out of a storm and comes out the same person, you either allow it break you or strengthen you. Everyday, am strengthened by what I go through. I have decided to come out of it a victor instead of a victim, giving off my best and remaining loyal even in the face of seemingly unappreciated effort.
Like the Good Book says our God will never allow a temptation we cannot handle come near us. I have seen how faithful God has been and He is sympathetic with our feelings of weakness in our days of trials and will open a door of escape for us.
Through the events of these four months, I have learnt to use every storm as a stepping stone towards my victory in life and this particular one is my marriage.
I have sometimes kept my mouth shut, not because I don’t have anything to say, but because it’s not the best moment to talk. Why should I lament and cause trouble when I perfectly understand God’s dealings for which man has no absolute idea about. There’s been days uncomplimentary comments have been passed about me. I have allowed it, not because I can’t defend myself but because no matter what I say or do, it will never change any of God’s intended plan for my life so I see it as of no consequential to me to say or hit back. My Bible admonishes me if possible, I should live at peace with all men. I am at peace with everyone, at peace with those who hurt me, despise and wish me evil.
Clarence Francis says you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, and souls. You have to earn these things. In no time, I will need to say my bye. This is not because that place is in itself bad but so that I can devote my energy to something very crucial and more worth serving.
Despite all happenings, I have remain obedient and diligent to duty. “The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything” ( 2 Corinthians 2:9 ).
The present moment always presents opening doors even in the times when there are seemingly no doors even to find. In the midst of my storms of trials, God has not left me stranded nor has He forsaken me nor shamed me. He has raised a very special person who has been a blessing throughout this trying moment in fulfilling His promise to me of not lacking. God has used her to cause me remain grounded and unmovable saving me from the many shame my trials throw at me every now and then.
My Beloved Louisa is a comfort and a pillar God has raised to aid in the working of my faith to produce perseverance. She has shown me one true secret about life that you never lose by loving. You only lose by holding back. She has not held back any good thing from me at this crucial point of decision making to trust and trade her love for me fully assured of tomorrow’s blessedness and not today’s state of want and need.
She has stood for me to overcome my first trial and despite all the disappointments I have suffered these months, my faith lacks nothing and we are sure faith will move us to land in July and beyond.
The Lord has been true to His provision for me. If Job could confess his trust in God in his affliction, who am I not to do same. For as we trust Him in the trials God can use the difficult trial to mold us, to mature us so that we will be more like Jesus Christ our Saviour.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1: 6,7