Search This Blog

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Trusting GOD when life goes wrong ..

For a few days, I have been reflecting on a Yoruba proverb seen on a friend's FB wall .. 'Orisa, bi o le gbemi, se mi bi o se ba mi'. It is a traditional proverb that is an invocation to an idol - 'Idol, if you cannot help me, then at least return me to the state I was in when you arrived on the scene. I know I asked for your help but do not make my situation worse with your meddling.'

In the Old Testament, the Shunammite woman said something very similar to Elisha when her young son died unexpectedly. 'Did I ask God for a child? When you came here and asked me what I wanted, did I not tell you, do not play with my emotions? Do not tell GOD to give me my heart's desire only to have Him take it away afterwards?'

This cry comes from an honest heart. How often do our hearts cry out to GOD (even if our voices do not), saying, - 'Why did you step into my situation if things are only going to get worse? Please if you can't help me, at least restore me to my previous state which was better than this current messed-up state in which you have left me.'

Why did You give me a long-awaited, much loved child who has now suddenly died aged 12? Why have I miscarried my twin pregnancy in the 7th month of this pregnancy after tearful pain-filled years of trying to get pregnant? Why has my relationship ended painfully? Why has my marriage ended despite Your asking me to hang on for 15 difficult years? Why are my children rebellious despite my bringing them up with love and discipline? Why did my friend die despite everyone trusting You for healing? Why am I overlooked at work and mocked for my honesty? Why is it the more I try to love my wife like You say, the more she despises me? Why is my husband brutal and uncaring despite my submitting as much as I can? Why has my spouse cheated on me despite my loving them with all my heart? Why have I come down with an incurable illness despite living a healthy lifestyle and doing everything right? Why did my wonderful husband die in his 30's leaving me with 3 young kids despite our loving You and serving You faithfully? Why is it that the more I believe and hold into Your promises, the worse my life gets? A litany of whys.

The children of Israel asked GOD the same thing when they got to Marah and the waters were bitter. Neither they, their children or livestock could drink it. Dying of thirst in the hot baking desert, they cried out to GOD and grumbled bitterly - 'Why bring us into the desert to kill us with thirst? We were better off in Egypt. Okay, we might have been slaves but we got our 3 square meals a day with plenty of water.'

There are no glib answers. We all have places of 'whys' in our lives. In pain our hearts will sometimes say - ''Are You really there LORD, and if You are, do You really care?'

But faith speaks differently. Faith says - 'Will GOD bring on labour pains and not bring to birth? Will GOD forget our weeping in the night? Will GOD ignore your holding unto Him despite the utter hopelessness around you? Is GOD uncaring and removed from your situation? Removed from my situation? Are we simply chess pieces He moves around on a whim? Or are we beloved children whose lives He orders and plans carefully every step of the way?'

Hold on. Hold on even if tears blind your eyes. Hold unto GOD even as it hurts and your fingers ache and cramp from hanging on. Hold unto your Father and refuse to let go. Hold unto your maker and storm Heavens gates until your voice is well known there. The Shunammite woman REFUSED to leave Elisha until he intervened in her situation. That ultra resolute lady had only one agenda - if Elisha's GOD had truly given her that son, then Elisha's GOD was going to raise her dead son from the grave. Gosh, her faith blows me away!

'Orisha, bi o le gbemi, se mi bi o se bami.' This is not who our GOD is. He is not an uncaring powerless idol. GOD alone can turn the situations of our lives around. He gives us beauty for ashes, He restores new for old, a spirit of praise for the garment of heaviness, joy in the morning after the long night of weeping.

Hold unto GOD and never ever ever let go. He will either restore, or He will give brand new or He will resurrect. When GOD promises, He makes good no matter how much time passes between the promise and the fulfilment. For the child that died, He gave David and Bathsheba another child, Solomon, considered to be one of the greatest kings in the world's history. Despite being a young childless widow who was also a Moabitess (and therefore seemingly cut off from the promises of GOD), Ruth got a new brilliant loving husband in Boaz, a lovely son, AND also became the ancestress of Jesus Christ. After fleeing Saul's hatred for over 10 years, David finally became King as GOD promised. After 13 years of slavery and then imprisonment for a rape he did not commit, Joseph was made Prime Minister of Egypt. His family bowed down to him like in the dream he had dreamt as a child. Abraham and Sarah finally had Isaac 25 years after GOD gave them the promise of a son, despite her barrenness and his um *inability to get it up any longer* *giggle*. And the Shunammite woman described above? She got her son back from the dead. Elisha's GOD resurrected him.

GOD does not ever forget us. We are written in the palms of His hands. His word to us is He loves and cares for us always.

Trust GOD always.


Biblical References:
2Kings 4: 8 -36
Exodus 3: 22 - 27

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Breaking out of the Valley of Despair ..

Recently, I have heard of a few people who've committed suicide. Male and female, 20's - 50's, what was shared by all of them was the belief that life was no longer worth living and ending it was the only way out.

I call this state of dark hopeless bleakness, the taking up of permanent residence in the valley of despair.

Now it's not like many of us haven't come across this 'landmark destination'. I challenge anyone to tell me they haven't visited, been imprisoned in, been trapped by, been unable to get out of, the Valley of Despair for even a short while. It is simply a period or time in your life when everything seems hopeless, when the odds facing you seem insurrmountable, when you can see no way out, when winter holds your life in an icy cold grip and all around you, everything is withering and slowly being frozen under layers of hard cold ice.

Finances dry up, bills come flooding in, loved ones die, childlessness strikes, redundancy comes as a bolt outta the blue, you are demoted, your new boss is a bully who makes work hell, ill-health squeezes the bloom out of your cheeks, children fail or begin acting up, relationships fail, your spouse has an affair, friends let you down, family turns its back, the one you trusted the most betrays you etc. It is amazing how these litany of woes that we think are so special to us alone, strike everyone in different ways. GOD forbid that anyone has the whole gamut of problems but life has this amazing pick and mix of crappy things, where we all get our own share, whether little or large. *rolling-my-eyes*

Sooooo, we find that life begins blowing sand in our eyes. When we close em and thrust on our sunglasses, we are hit by a shower of annoying pebbles! At first, we are strong, we raise a shield and fight them off, but soon, the little pebbles become stones, the stones become rocks and very soon we have a hailstorm, raining hard, frozen, painful hailstones down upon our unprotected heads and limbs. Finally sinking down under the weight of the battering, we drop to the ground and the warrior becomes a child.

Now, sinking to the ground isn't really the problem - the issue is how long you stay down there on the ground. Do you stay on the ground for 5 minutes to regroup, adust your shield and get yourself back on your feet? Or do we stay down there for weeks, months, years, wallowing in self-pity? What do we allow to drive us to our knees and keep us there? Some are lugging around the scars of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, rape, incest, physical abuse, parental favouritism, failed marriages, the pain of an adulterous marriage, the trauma of infertility etc .. and so we lug and drag these heavy burdens around for years, sometimes decades. Instead of rushing by and whizzing through the valley of despair, a permanent campsite is set up, log cabins are built but worst of all, is when we find ourselves moulding bricks and blocks to build permanent 'homes' in this dark depressing lonely valley.

When despair has wrapped chains around you, is clinging to your feet and tenanciously refuses to let go, how do you break out and shake it off? Well, I am no expert but having been an unwilling day-tripper to this valley in the past, I'll suggest a few tips. First involve GOD. He says, He will never leave or forsake us; therefore it means right in the deepest darkest night of your stay in the valley, GOD is right there by your side. He is holding your hand, keeping your tiny candle of hope alive. He is simply waiting for you to say 'LORD, break me outta here!' Secondly, be thankful for what you actually do have. It is amazing how self-pity will blind our eyes to all that is actually going great in our lives and we will only focus upon, and see that one area where we have an issue. Take your eyes off that singular area and reflect upon the many wonderful areas where your life is going totally great. Third - speak to someone yo trust. Don't try to get through the valley of despair alone. You need human support. You need a friend you can depend upon, one who will listen to you rant and rave and foam at the mouth, one who will not make judgements but will love, care and listen, one who will stay up until 4am to keep you from sinking into a total black swamp, a trustworthy friend who will never ever discuss what you have shared with anyone else. Fourth - care about others. Take your focus off yourself for one moment (yeah, totally difficult I know!! LOL), and reach out to others to see what they are going through. How can you help? How can you be supportive? Fifth - eat well, sleep well, exercise and dress nicely - it is amazing how our physical appearance can impact and help lift our mood or conversely, help to depress us even further. Now t
here are loads of other things that can help but I am simply throwing in a few - prayer, thanksgiving/praise, reach out to a friend, care about others, take care of yourself. Other people mention having a happiness index (a list of things that make you happy - going on a date, having a glass of wine, exercise, etc and regularly scheduling them into your life).

If however you find yourself having regular dark moods, being lethargic, feeling totally hopeless and you don't bounce back within a day or two, then please RUN to see your doctor - you might be suffering from stress and/or depression. 

Above all, do not stay in this crappy valley a day longer than you have to. If you are there right now, begin climbing out today. Crawl, walk, shuffle, stumble, run, skate, bike, fly - whatever you have to do to get outta there, please do it asap. It is time to begin to climb the mountain of victory, to reach the peaks of contentment, to rest in the meadows of peace and grace. 

Victory does not mean that everything is going right for you (or that it will ever do so). Victory is knowing that your life is fine because it is in the hands of a GOD who cares for you totally and absolutely. We are safe in His hands. Storms may rage, winds may blow, earthquakes might rock our very foundations but hold on tight to the ONE who keeps the universe steady. He can be trusted to keep your life and course steady.

It is time to begin to walk upon your high places ...