Rejoice, Greatly

I never had the thought that it would take me this long to write on my blog. Sucks.

I am glad to be back though, and I am really bent on no tleaving anytime soon.

Pastor Tayo Fasan, is a wonderful man of God who has pleasantly been a tool in the hands of God for me, and the one hundred and fourteenth follower of this blog. I constantly look forward to his emails, and they press me to press in. Deeper. You definitely should go here to feed your soul with words of eternal life.

Okay, this post is a little longer than I planned.

2017 did not start as well as I expected. It has been, on a physical scale, just downs and downs. I had to be in a strange land early on in the year, and living has not been easy. As someone who was accustomed to having things readily, I ultimately felt deprived when I had to give up work to go tolaw school, and then proceed to serve my nation – NYSC.
I was – I am – terribly dismayed by my situation. I was angry even, angry at people, at myself, at God. I don’t enjoy difficult situations. But then, who does? The overwhelming situation of the economy, and the fact that I had to be in a service scheme that literally paid peanuts that were not even, seemingly, worth all the trouble of a journey to the ends of Nigeria on my own account. I was very, very angry.

Angry! Me.

In my reaction, I got out paper and pen, and began to write. I wrote ideas, and plans, and plots, and schemes. They were my get-out-of-the-rut moves, and my five-year plan. I just had a rush and I firmly believed I had it all in my hands to put things right. My frustration made me miss the moment. And the moment is key.
I am grateful for some prayers I have prayed in the past, and how the answers come in times unexpected. A few years back, it was my prayer to God that every time I was going to make a cart-before-the-horse move, He would send His Word to heal me.

I took time out of my planning to see a Francis Chan video (can’t remember which, I have a lot) and Francis was going on about James 1:2. I read it.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy

(NLT)

Crazy. And it must have been a pretty important point as well, because James did not wait till a later verse to say that. He mentions it right after his salutations! Who does that?

Hello, it is great to see you again! Look, all that cancer, and poverty you are facing right now, it is an opportunity for you to be happy and joyful! Yaay!

What?!

No. Nobody wants troubles or despair or trials or whatever name you call it. What sense does it make to be joyful in trouble? Is that not insanity?

In fact, our Christianity has been sold to people on a platform of “Come, he’ll make it all go away, all the trouble”.

But here is James telling us to embrace troubles, and see it as an opportunity for great joy. Wow.

James is telling us right here that we have an opportunity in troubles and trials, to grow our endurance, which will in turn grow our faith, and which will in turn leave me perfect and in need of nothing. It was like the reset button was pushed in me. Today, I hear that faith is actually a way of getting what I need. And here I am getting an understanding that faith is actually going to push me to the point where I need nothing.

That was the point for me. I sat back and while I was still in awe of the message, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me how sad it was that I did not see the beauty of the moment. How I did not see that God was always there with me, no matter what. How I counted nothing as important beyond thestate of my bank accounts and store. How my situation had clobbered my faith, and I had valued the things I did not have, above the God I had.

I broke down.

I just had to, and I asked God for mercy. At the start of this journey, I had a resolve to go on with God no matter what. At the slightest pressure, that resolve seemed to melt away in the heat, and the factual intentions in the deepest recesses of my heart surfaced. Part of me still valued comfort in the world above comfort in God. A large part. And I think I got to the point where God was no more than an object up there that I was aware of, but I had lost sight of. I needed to get Him back as the focus, and marvel His awesome glory again.

I cannot explain the joy that is in my heart today. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit just began to expose the reasons for the various trials, and I began to see the many strengths I had acquired in this short while. Oh my, I am so joyful.

It is beyond the here and the now, and I get that now, again. I did not die. I did not lose strangth, despite the trials. I certainly did not lose any of God. All I lost was a weight of unnecessary darkness that still lurked about, and I gained new insight into life in Christ.

He has taught me, and I want to tell you, that you must rejoice, always. Rejoice, greatly, because everything you face is a pruning in the journey to perfection.

No, my bank accounts are not spilling over into billions…yet. No, I do not have all my cravings satisfied. But I have a God who turned up amazingly for me in ways I did not care to notice, but now do, and it just so fills my heart with joy.

And I will, in any circumstance, rejoice. Greatly. You should too. And let the goal of perfection keep your hopes up in times of despair. What’s in Him up there is bigger than everything and anything you can get down here.

Up there, so much love. With us.
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