It has been a while since my last post, and for those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you know my family and I have been going through some very testing circumstances. One of the outcomes of these trying times has been that my husband has lost his job at the company that he has been working for during the last 12 years. Without going into the detail of it, I would like to share with you more than anything else the numerous blessings that have resulted from what you could call “one of life’s hardest blows”.
Christians often try to prove to non-believers the existence of God and the wonder and mystery of the living Jesus Christ, by means of logical arguments and by rationalising what can only be attained by faith. We desperately try to compete with science and with those who use scientific arguments to deny God’s existence, and we forget that God was here first before any science ever took place, and he will appear again in glory and might when his fire has consumed it all. I am not one of those people. I will not be the one who will bring God down to my level in order to make him more palatable and plausible to those around me; I will not add or take away from what His word says in order to gain a few souls under false pretence. There is so very much that I cannot comprehend, so very much that at times even seems contradictory, but this simply enhances the vast mystery that God really is, the beauty that surrounds the message of man’s reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made on the cross and on the hours leading up to it.
God is in the thunder and the lightning, in a sunset, in the might of an earthquake or tsunami, but for me, He is ever more present in the little insignificant things and those set daily occurrences which sustain my life each single day. Some of the most needed things for my husband and I during this deep valley we have experienced in the last few weeks have been: patience, wisdom, forgiveness and self-control. These are the very things that, contrary to all expectation, we have been excelling in. Now, one can say: Yes, so what? That does not prove Jesus is real. Perhaps not, but you see, when you experience day in and day out that your life is hanging from a thread and that at any turn it can all go horribly wrong and your security, future, environment and relationships be turned upside down irretrievably; when all these things are present and you are on your knees every single morning pleading to God to give you enough provision (and I am not talking money or food here) to see you through that day, and when you inexplicably get to the end of the day aware of all the dangers lurking around you, the arrows which are threatening to take your very life from your hands, the broken trust from people you liked and believed in, you look back and think: Something, someone has made it possible for me to get to the end of today in one piece. Then, you remember how you pleaded with God for guidance and sustenance that very morning, and you realise Jesus and God’s promises are as real as the very pain and anxiety you are undergoing. And so your faith builds up, and then the next day more of the same, and the next one again, until you start to realise that all these coincidences and favour are not a figment of your own imagination, but the answer to prayer from a Heavenly Father who gave His son on the cross so that we could be reconciled to Him for eternity. There is a God out there who is longing to reconcile all to Himself and who will fight your corner when you accept Him into your life and commit to “go into battle” for the lost souls that matter to Him. For the heart of God is that none should perish.
In these last few weeks, things have happened to us which would make for a best seller or a blockbuster. Only, this is not the substance of fiction or wishful thinking. This is the reality I can witness to of God’s promises becoming life, life within my own life and that of my family.
Those who hope in the Lord
Will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not be faint
Isaiah 40, 31
Some people find it equally hard to believe that there is a spiritual dimension in which war is being waged between good and evil, God and Satan. But of that too, we have had first hand experience, as each day we have felt arrows of slander, persecution and false witnessing coming our way, and for each arrow, God has placed a defence in front of us which allowed each arrow to hit us but not have the desired effect it was meant for. God tells us in the Bible that He can use what is meant for evil and destruction and by his mighty power, transform and redirect that evil, so that good and abundant blessing will come out of it instead. We have seen God’s handprint all over our circumstances when weeks ago we were given warning of a specific attack or threat through a dream someone on the other side of the Atlantic had had the night before; a dream which talks about some individuals being fatally hit by a fierce enemy, and then realising they are actually not dead, they have not been killed. The enemy then provokes them into retaliation, into temptation to lose their walk of righteousness by giving into their pride and inner wish to settle the score. This dream came from someone I have befriended through this blog, whom I have never met, but who has been praying for me from the moment first contact was made through a comment she left on my blog months ago. Coincidence? God’s timing is perfect and had this dream not been given to us, we may well have ended up in a very different predicament to the one we are in now. But it does not end there. I also had a comment on my blog left by a person who selflessly invites others to send in their prayer requests to his blog, so that he can intercede on their behalf. After commenting on my blog, this person contacted me and has been giving my husband and I scripture and counsel, which has provided us with insight into why these things have been happening to us and how we can use them to our advantage. Do I know anything about this individual? Practically nothing. The only thing I know is his name and in whose name and whose spirit he is operating and reaching out to us. It turns out he has exactly the same name and surname that one of the people who has been instrumental in bringing about our perilous circumstances in these last few weeks. Two people in two different continents carrying the same name and surname. Only, there is a huge difference, one is trying to destroy those who carry Jesus in their hearts and the other one is feeding encouragement, scripture, revelation and sheer faith into the ones who are being attacked. Again, coincidence? Nothing happens by chance, but in all there is a purpose, a divine purpose known only to God, but partly revealed to those who seek Him.
I don’t have all the answers, far, far from it. Nobody has, for that matter; nobody is meant to either. All will be revealed at the day of the Coming of the Lord. But what I do know is that in my hour of need, although my circumstances were not miraculously lifted from us or erased, we have, however, been equipped and supplied each single day with the exact things needed to overcome those circumstances. Our faith has been tested through the fire and as a result, it has been refined and purified. We have to accept that if we want to witness God’s glory and join him in eternity, we must also be prepared to follow the way of the cross and follow in Jesus’ steps. I am not talking about crucifixion or any other savage killing, although for many brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the very thing they have endured and for some others the very thing that awaits. I am talking about understanding that the moment you become serious and genuine about spreading the name of Jesus and his legacy, you are going to become the target of persecution, which will manifest itself in many forms and through many different people, sometimes the ones you least expected it from.
Do you think I am bordering extremism or radicalism? Read scripture and see what fate awaited those who followed in Jesus’ steps and who fought to the very end to bring the good news of Salvation through faith in Christ to those who knew him not. Do you think that this is out of touch with the real world? Take the time to research and hear the chilling testimonies of the thousands of missionaries all over the world who compelled by the Spirit of the Living God make it their lifetime struggle to bring Jesus to as many people as possible. Listen to their accounts and tremble when you can no longer deny that this war between good and evil, God and Satan, is still taking place all around us and you realise that God is calling us all to get off the fence and choose which side we are going to be standing on. And I say standing, because that is what we will do, for when we commence battle, God takes over as the battle is the Lord’s, and we become mere witnesses of His might and strength. All that is required of us is trust in his Faithfulness to us, Faithfulness to redeem a people, which He has been doing since Ancient Times.
Lord Jesus, there is not much I can offer, but I would like to share the song below with all those reading this who share what I have just related, in the hope that they too will offer up their praises and thankfulness for an infinitely patient God who is watching over us day and night and fighting “our” battles.