Experiencing God In The Trenches
This post was supposed to be published at the beginning of this week but it seems there is something more I needed to say following the events of this week.
It is weird now when I think about it, I do not know why when persons go silent people tend to say that they are missing in action. I remember personally, I used to use that phrase ‘MIA’ a lot back in my younger days… I have no idea what action I was referring to people missing.
Anyway! I hope you have all been doing well—especially during this prolonged cold weather season. I do not know whether it is me…but I know it’s not just me because this year’s cold season has just become unbearable. Yet, in some parts of the world…others are experiencing insufferable heat temperatures. Global warming, and its effects is now being experienced rapidly than predicted. The world seems to be going downhill very fast!
In any case, I still do hope that you and your families are all doing well, and God has kept you in His numerous graces since I last wrote.
As for me, He indeed has!
As I commence this post, I would like to inform you that writing sometimes gives me anxiety especially when I have not done it for a while so… right now I am still wondering where to begin. But anyway! I know I can’t miss something to say, even if it is very brief.
I’ll start with “where have I been hiding?”
I have been tucked away somewhere in the heart of Rongai town on a new assignment for my MAIN! And in the midst of adjusting, trying to create a form of routine for this adjustment, and several factors in between I found myself honestly unable to write my blog because I got to a point where I was extremely confused that I felt I couldn’t minister to anybody in that state. Therefore, I decided to just relax back and observe whatever was taking place in my life like a bystander.
And in as much as I prefer to commence writing in February and go all the way till December without any breaks, I also couldn’t force to express myself —as I felt I was running empty. Honestly, I was not even expecting that I would break from writing following the last post I wrote. But it seemed as though every opportunity I set aside just for writing, I found it impossible even to focus. Then I remembered something I read from Charles Swindoll’s book, “Paul, A Man of Grit and Grace” early this year when he addressed something on running empty saying,
When doing any type of service or ministry, we are always drawing from our own well saying, everything is fine…until the well runs dry. We continue to run on empty until our lives fracture deep within. At that point we begin to sputter, clog, and chunk and finally come to a complete stop. This is when the truth comes out: ministries fold, marriages crumble, children wander from the Lord unattended, and our character weakens to the point of blow out.
And how so true that is!
So, I chose to take care of my spiritual batteries first.
Being that I once vowed to be as vulnerable as possible under my spiritual journey category…I therefore hope that I shall wear my heart on my sleeve for this post.
Now, around the end of last year, I resigned from my full-time job.
I knew for sure God was calling me to do a special work for Him. But I had many doubts. I still wanted Him to follow the pattern I had planned out for my life, I was still hoping that somehow He would channel my life as I wanted it. Basically I had let go– but there was still the temptation to hold on a bit longer to my dreams.
Notwithstanding, I continued applying for school admissions, sometimes appealing jobs, other times, not-so alluring jobs… in hopes I would land somewhere where I would get an opportunity to pursue my life-long dream of learning languages.
I was honestly afraid to release and serve God in the way He wanted me to; because this meant that I would not rely on any income. Which did not make any sense to me. As you can imagine therefore, the questions were many, the trying to ‘figure-outs’ were numerous, other people’s questions which were more than several were constantly leering at my face every waking day and the trust in God ingredient in my life was stashed somewhere at the bottom of my numerous piled doubts and was getting harder and harder to find.
But with a tremendous work in my spirit, God got me exactly where He needed me to be… and so have I been on that journey for some two months now.
I would be lying if I told you that I was not scared out of my wits! Just thinking about my own daily personal needs, worry and anxiety would just sip in and the same question would ring through my mind over and over again…How will I provide for this and that and the other? How? How? How?
Yet the answer, which I knew too well was just a look away above in the heavens. But my mind could not bring itself to comprehend the how’s of God which was simply just to…
I know this probably sounds so easy written on a page but boy! That word needs a total emptying of oneself whilst allowing somebody else to determine where you should make the next step of your life. It means a TOTAL surrender of self. And you and I both know the tantrums of the self when it is inconvenienced even just for a minute. And for somebody who is extremely independent individualistic and likes to plan every detail of her life, and if possible, control the outcomes of certain situations— that is more than a struggle!
But God is patient! He really is! And I love that He is always so patient with me. I am awfully ashamed to admit I am never as patient with Him– especially when I am desiring Him to do something for me. He walked with me through a seven-month journey as I rested and de-stressed from the previous assignment. He encouraged and empowered me–giving me space– as He waited for me to make a heart, mind, and soul commitment to obey even when I did not know what in the world was going to happen in the case of my provisions and even my own life.
That is why at the beginning of this year I needed to find somebody who had written about Abraham. Of which, I did find a book that really spoke to my situation and addressed my worries.
Friends if you are still with me reading this! I honestly want to tell you that God is faithful! He has been faithful to me even without any income. He has provided for my every need in His omnipotence and omniscience. I do not know how else to describe the how’s of it all but I will try with a short story/description (and I am borrowing the story from an encouraging sermon I once heard from a pastor called Zac Poonen).
He said, “I once sent my son to go buy bread from the shop when he was little. The little boy dashed out so fast. As he was getting to the shop, He remembered that he did not have any money. He ran back home and told me, “hey dad, I need money for the bread.” I gave him some money and he dashed out again to buy the bread.”
Moral of the story: Zac said, “when I told him to go buy bread, I knew he would ask me for the money. I wasn’t expecting him to go out there and work out a way to get the money to buy the bread. I expected the question…”where is the money?”
I learnt two important lessons from this story. One being, when Zac’s son was sent to buy bread, he did not even remember to ask for money, he ran out so fast and it was not until he got near the shop that he remembered he had no money. This brought out the issue of quick obedience. Well, I am not carrying some shame or blame on my part because I did not obey God immediately. Reason being, He also taught me some very important lessons during those seven months I was resting. One of those lessons being, that God is dependable and I could trust Him with my whole life even when I did not know all the facts… The words, the just shall live by faith now echo much louder than before.
Two and most importantly, when God calls us to any work for Himself, He will provide for all the needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
And it is interesting that now, one of my favourite Bible verses became immensely alive out of this understanding.
That it was never me running the show or orchestrating my life’s journey. Whatever job, whichever place, wherever, whenever….it was, and, has always been Jesus leading me.
In, and, through all the provisions He has blessed me with since my resignation, (which have suprisingly not been mainly monetarily based), I have felt like one of the multitudes of the birds in the air— taken care of. I have not lacked for anything because He has taken care of me as He vowed in His word.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
And He has surely used very simple, and, other days, divine means to provide for me— for this reason I have titled this post— experiencing God in the trenches.
I am experiencing His grace and love, understanding His loving nature as a good, good father in a way that I would never have previously experienced had I still been earning a monthly salary.
I am learning more of His love towards me and He is teaching me how to depend on Him, to look to Him at all times and for all things. Besides— the earth is the Lord’s and it’s fullness thereof, the world and they who dwell therein. And if I am His beloved child, will He not give me all things freely as He desires according to His will?
So…. this is what has more or less been going on in my life for the past two months. Adjusting. Trusting. Leaning on Jesus. Learning. And being clay for my potter/master’s good use.
Your trenches could be different from mine. But the truth remains: that God’s nature is ever-faithful. And if He is ever-faithful, then He will also be there for you as you go through your trenches too. Showing Himself strong on your behalf. As I conclude, there is something else I would like to add. I have also learnt… Paul was right when he declared that it is in weaknesses that we are truly strong! Truly how mysteriously interesting are God’s ways!
2 Corinthians 12
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I do wish you a lovely day, and thank you for reading. See you soon. God willing 🙂
Awesome!! I am so very proud of you Shiko for stepping out in faith to find GOD ever-present and forever faithful to HIS Word for you… May GOD continue to bless you as you continue to take steps of faith walking with JESUS and trusting our FATHER to do HIS will in and through you bringing HIM praise, honor, and glory… May GOD shine HIS Light on your path going forward (as you seek first HIS Kingdom and HIS righteousness) and provide for your every need (and all these things be added unto you) according to Matthew 6:33… May GOD continue to work out Jeremiah 29:11 for you and then bring you to a place where you are planted (rooted, grounded, and established in HIS love) to experience Jeremiah 29:12-13… Praying for you always and cheering you on…
Amen! Thank you so much Jeff! So true! You are always cheering me on and it means a lot to me because I really get encouraged by that 🙂 Indeed Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s good plan for our lives even when we are in places where things do not seem to make much sense.
I am so grateful for your prayers as well because it possible for children of God to slip back and turn away from Him when things are not working out. But I believe having brethren in Christ holding fort for us during such times is truly a blessing.
And so I praise God for you!
We are to bear one another’s burdens and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ for sure… Glad it benefits you and know I’m here for you whenever… When it doesn’t seem to be working out, know HE truly is working out everything for our good to us who are called according to HIS good purpose… And I too praise GOD for you!