Personal testimonies and life experiences that illuminate the undeniable presence of God.
Put your faith in God
Ever heard the saying “Put your faith in God”? For me this saying was accompanied by sweet old ladies pinching my cheeks while smiling kindly (totally unaware of the pain they inflicted), and nodding as if to say “Dont worry dear, everything will be OK”, as if they knew something I didnt.
Turns out – wisdom does in fact come with age. Because these sages knew exactly what they were talking about. They also knew ‘how’ this was achieved. A formula not many young people (sometimes not even adults) know.
Its easy to say “Trust God” but if this doesn’t accompany a clear strategy on how this is done – how then is one to be able to just trust God – something easier said than done? After all, these ladies didnt have rosy lives, their lives were filled with pain and hardships, but yet here they were, in their golden oldies, smiling, happy, peaceful and filled with hope!
Well, in my thirty-something years of experience, I had come to learn a few things. But first a bit of background:
I was raised in a Christian family in a non-Christian neighborhood. In my country we have eleven official languages, our previous Zulu president had nine wives… so saying I was raised in a “Christian’’ country would be inaccurate. My grandfather was a Pastor, a pioneer in fact in the local community where if one was not priveleged by race (aka non-white) it was all the more harder to succeed in academic achievement, opening businesses or just life in general. But my grandfather did. He converted to Christianity at the age of fourteen to a sermon entitled “Beauty for Ashes”. He married and my grandmother was converted too. Thus began our lineage of Christian Indian descendents in apartheid South Africa.
Now I sat in many a church service growing up - my loving grandfather took me (and the rest of the family) to many preaching events, where he was a guest speaker at different churches locally and nationally. He received his Doctorate in Theology in the United States in his late forties. By then, I was a teenager, and listening to boring preaching didnt interest me. All I wanted was to put on my headphones and listen to the lastest rap songs and hang out with my friends rollerblading or playing soccer. It was only in my twenties that I started to open my ears to the messages being preached at church on Sundays; and slowly but surely the messages got to me, made me strong, and unbeknownst to me, this upbringing prepared me for life. It taught me that no matter what the circumstances in my life, the promises of God are forever and unchanging, and that as Christians, we have victory through Christ – by his death on the cross at Calvary. I only began to understand this in my second decade of life. By the time I got to my thirties, I was married, with two kids of my own, going through life’s inevitable difficulties – and this is where I questioned – where is God and why isnt He at my side right now? Aka “Why am I suffering?”
Looking back, I now realize that He was always there, ready and waiting, all I had to do was ‘seek him’ - Matthew 7:7.
When I was eight years old, my father was diagnozed with schizophrenia, and its safe to say that I lost out on having a ‘mentally stable’ father figure thereafter. My mom and him divorced that year too. Which is why I was raised by my grandparents, although I lived mostly with my mother. They were always there for us, even through my Mom's consequent two mariages after my father. One of her husbands (my stepfather) was physically abusive toward her. Thats a whole other testimony. But, my Dad lived with my grandparents (his parents) as they insisted on ‘home therapy’ for his condition. Which I suppose helped him, but scared the rest of us because every now and they he had a relapse and we all had to get six strong men to restrain and escort him to the nearest health facility in one of his paranoid frenzies. I was scared. I was disappointed. I was angry. I was hopeless.
I never attended Sunday school, I never learned the scriptures in the Bible (despite the fact that I was a Pastor’s granddaughter) – something which I have started to do more now in my mid-thirties. Because I finally see, that there IS a strategy. And I’m going to share it with you now. This is what you need to fight the attacks of the enemy in your life, and the life of every Christian:
1. Stay close to God – this you can do by reading a daily devotional with a scripture from the Bible for as long as it takes to start hearing God’s voice.
2. Join a church community – fellowship with others makes a world of difference. “Where two or more are gathered, there I am in their midst” - Matthew 8:20
3. Pick out your favourite scriptures and say them out loud if you are ever feeling down, depressed, or stressed.
My personal favorites are:
- Romans 8:28 “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”
- Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.”
- Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
4. Voice out your frustrations to God. Theres nothing wrong with telling Him exactly how you feel (cuss words are allowed).
5. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He DID die on the cross for our sins. Notice that I didn’t put this as point No. 1 – why? Because lets face it – its the hardest thing to do – to believe that a man who was born a human was actually the Son of God, AND that he ascended into heaven (unbelievable, I know) but yes thats the game changer.
6. Praise Him. Praise Him for the things you have, and the things you do not yet have. Have a grateful heart. Always.
Victory Belongs to Us
I am still learning how to deal with life’s curveballs (and more specifically the attacks of the enemy), but I know in my heart that Jesus has won the battle for me already, I know how the story of life ends… and I guess this is what those little old ladies who pinched my cheeks outside the church hall were smiling about. Victory through Christ, is already ours.
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:57
Bless you whoever is reading this, and know that God is just a prayer away.
The God of Miracles
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