What if I told you “God told me to write this piece?” Would your hearts sentiments be the first to demolish my “heretical claims”? Or would you be the first to ride on my band-wagon, keenly clinging on to my prophetic mantra (besides, who are you to outlandishly write-off my spiritual experience?). Or would your disposition be one of indifference? Whether we choose to ignore it or take a curious peek through the curtains of Christendom, we will perhaps soon realize the swift surge of the prophetic that has extended its waters through our churches, television screens and city billboards.

“God told me to tell you…” Stop for a moment. What did you just feel? Encouragement? Affirmation? Or was it distaste and anger? A couple of years ago I remember telling my uncle, with utmost buzz and excitement, of all the different preachers I had heaped up. I was like a kid in a candy store. Everything that was branded Jesus lit the fire in my eyes. The desire to grow closer and deeper catapulted me into a journey of wonder. He genuinely seemed happy for me. He genuinely seemed to share my hearts sentiments. He leaned in and signaled the warmth he felt with a smile: “I’m glad. Just remember to be careful.” I stood offended. How could he? Or rather, how could he not?

“God does not want you to be suspicious. He wants you to be discerning”

We often, perhaps, wrestle with the “position” one ought to take regarding the prophetic. Are we to fully dive in its gushing streams or are we to stand at its shores wondering “maybe” (and conversely, “maybe not”). As we peek into Christendom, we will perhaps see the multiplicity of camps and dispositions that have erected themselves over the course of church history. However, the crux of the subject matter is not the “tent” in which we choose to lodge in. No. The tug of war pulls at the fabric of our faith posing a more crucial, and perhaps more deeper question: whose voice are you hearing? Whose voice are you obeying?

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” – Jesus

Our battle stems from the garden. Because of sin, our hearts have been “naturally” primed to heed to all other voices but the Lords. Throughout the course of the age God has been drawing His children and turning their hearts and ears towards Himself. Many times, both then and now, He has had to fine-tune our ears to hear His voice. In our modern era, the enemy’s art of deception has not cowered away. Each waking moment he employs “new” methods of deception. Each waking moment he devices “new” methods of trickery. Each waking moment he trickles in “new” falsehood. Yet God offers ancient ways that remain timeless, to dampen “new” spiritual fads that seek to derail us. “It takes one to know one.” Though this is often said in a manner of spite, the notion of truth can equally be applied: it takes truth to know truth. The art of deception falls prey to truth when deployed through the prudent art of discernment. Our ears fall prey to trickery and to what sounds like Gods voice when our being is void of the voice of truth: the word of God. Jesus often drew the line in the sand by drawing their eyes beyond the blurred edges: “you shall know them by their fruit.” Yet, their ability (and ours) to discern fruit that comes from God grows stronger as our ability to hearken to Gods word becomes more devoted.

The crux of the matter is the timeless weaponry and filter that is the word of God. Whether it be a word of knowledge or a prophetic word that seems to fall right into season, the backbone by which all utterances are measured remains to be the word of God. As we seek more and more manifestations of the Holy Spirit, let us be reminded of this: not only has He endowed us with power; He has also endowed us with truth.

“…for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” – Acts 17:11b

At His Feet…

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Do you remember the days when some of the “pedestrian” paths where smothered with local goods? You know, the occasional cabbage leaves and onion remnants? And who can forget all of Hollywoods greatest movie hits faithfully pirated (I mean packed) into one CD? The street vendors would speedily scurry along parading their illustrious merchandize and goods as pedestrians and car owners cruised along (well maybe just the cars). It was not until two or three years ago when the warm heart turned a cold shoulder to this organized chaos and pledged its allegiance to “Keep Blantyre City Clean and Green.” Part of the initiative saw the relocation of some of these street markets – that helped to keep Blantyre be anything but clean- to more secluded areas. The city bins where soon erected across the urban terrain as mounds of trash and unwanted filth monopolized their spacious quarters. I will be honest; it was (and still is) quite the sight watching the traffic police play cat and mouse with those that choose to peddle with the law.

 

A few weeks ago, I found myself mounding stuff into a different sort of recycle bin. You see, I suffer from a thing called boredom from time to time. To ease my dullness I gathered a couple of comical soothers. I laughed. I toppled over (well, not really). I needed a breather. I needed to feel entertained. Amid the humor, I could not help but notice how “unedifying” (and occasionally explicit) some of the comical content was. I therefore did what seemed appropriate at the time. I pressed play and continued musing my five senses as the elephant in the room stared me down at the corner of my eye. It did not take long (give or take a few weeks) when I found myself “relocating” my thirty minutes of ineffable humour into the computer trash can: the recycle bin (I was tired of playing pretend with my conscious). It did not take long (give or take a few days) when I soon found myself rummaging through my recycle bin scavenging for my once sought out trash treasure. Press play.

 

“though the hand has let go the heart still wants…”

 

The most difficult thing about letting go may perhaps not be in the clicking of a button; it may not be in the breaking up of ties with those him’s and her’s; it may not even be in the establishment of “boundaries” to keep the tempters at bay. No. Perhaps the most difficult realization is that though the hand has let go the heart still wants. I cannot recall the amounts of times I have “let go” of only to realize that my deceivingly empty hands are secretly hiding trashed “goods” within the closet of my heart. The problem was never the thing or the person. The problem was always me; my heart; our hearts. Jesus often drew the attention of His followers (and fans) away from the external coverings of religion. Instead He brought their gaze towards the abstract wanting and misplaced desires of their heart. It was easy for them (and easy for us) to “let go” of the things that are seemingly deterring our paths from a fuller and more meaningful relationship with God. Yet, their hearts were found lacking. The unreachable parts of their being could only be touched by One who saw it all and understood it all; by One who knew the hearts of all mankind; by One who has the power to transform our heart of hearts to something that will desire only Him: Jesus Christ. It was only when the reality of their wanting hearts was given to Him that surrender truly took place. For when the work of God has stemmed from within, only then can we truly let go and begin (or rather continue) the journey He has embarked us on.

 

What is your heart holding onto?

 

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar…search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.” – King David (Psalm 139:2,22-3)

At His Feet…

 

There’s nothing like catching up with old friends. We had first met at “one of those” birthday parties: jumping castle; a cake that will send you to the dentist; and a bunch of kids you’ve never met who mom says are your friends. Adolescence, jumping fences and pure silliness had us catching up years later over food and drinks. Our “inner child” tip toed in as we rambled on about substantial nothingness. The cool breeze, nostalgic puns and distant memories brought fresh recollections of the night that was. It was clear from the get go that a lot had changed over the course of the years (it was also clear that a lot had not). No cover ups. No disguises. Just dreams and aspirations coupled with fears, insecurities and hope.

“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.”

We talked about a lot of things that evening. But one thing stood out. He said something that set a flame for the rest of the night: “approval.” The phenomenon seemed to prime a lot of things in the world around us. Our relationships, lifestyles, and choices were in a sense governed by this singularity named approval. Our friendship once stood the test of time because of this thing. I quickly remembered the words of Dave Ramsey from the “Fight Club”: “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” How easy is it to mold oneself towards another’s expectation? How easy is it to thrust away who we are in place of societies “ideal you?”

Being someone else or being someone else’s ideal “someone” proves to be a much easier task than simply being you. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be approved. We all want to find a home were we can be affirmed. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone to pat you on the back and say “it is okay.” Admittedly or not, we all look for that. Yet, what has plagued humanity has been our source of acceptance. The world is a dynamic place. Each moment a new fad emerges. If it was baggy yesterday, it will be skinny tomorrow. The sad thing about chasing the carrot at the end of the stick is that we will never get it (there is a reason it is called a rat race). There are those who are laps ahead in the race, conforming to every whim and craze. There are those who are speedily racing but are weary and panting for more. There are those who know the vanity of the race yet they choose to run because “everyone is doing it.” And then there are those: those who have given up on running; those who have soon realized that there is no prize; those who have realized that it is okay not to run.

“And his praise is not from men, but from God.”

I often get tempted to run the race as well. Yet, the moment I thrust one foot forward, my tiredness reminds me that I have already lost. However, it is in losing that we take the steps towards winning. It is in losing that we discover another race. It is in losing that we find God. We are 7 billion people on earth with billions more before us and billions yet to come. We are all different: different passions; different human experiences; differently different. Yet our common source remains the same: God. In Him we are found. In Him we find our being. In Him we find acceptance through Jesus Christ who was rejected for us. His love daily embarks on a journey to cut us from our tracks pulling us closer towards His heart. Will we accept the acceptance of the world and reject the love of God. Are we willing to be approved by society and culture and yet live in a way which God disapproves? Are we willing to run the race only to come to the finish line and find nothing?

“It’s time to cut the cord, sever the ties from the life before, from here on out I’m Yours, I can’t run no more, cause You’re pulling me in, like a tornado wind, and I can’t pretend, I tried leaving, but Your love so strong, and it won’t let go, You’re holding on to me, I’m giving it all away, no more hiding, no more staking, I hear You calling me, and I’m coming, see me running…I give in….You win…” – Crystal Nicole (Lecrae- Give in- Anomaly)

At His Feet…

Do you recall those moments? Moments when your knees would buckle as thoughts of their smile and ocean eyes flood your mind? I do. It is always a daring feat to “let your guard down” and let your heart speak for what it truly feels for your “ma-hope (crush)”. We often compensate and begin by letting the guard down first to our friends.  Memory serves of times I have shared my own heart “gushes” with those around me (the nudges and “subliminal” winks orchestrated by friends who self-impose themselves as “wing-men” and cupid will always be borderline irksome but sweet). Amid the silliness, however, is an ineffable bond and trust that grows, knowing full well that they (your friends) will be your support system on your love journey. But what if I told you that there are more people? What if you knew that there are others who would be willing to share in your journey?

“And they blessed Rebekah…”

I recently purchased a book co-authored by Dr. Cornelius Huwa and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Huwa (marriage and relationship counsellors): “Redeeming the wedding veil- Gods way.” Intrigued by the global, yet contextualized approach, the authors tackled an array of issues that seem to plague us today. From past relationships and forgiveness to unhealthy cultural practices and “the bedroom”, the book triggers ponderings to the listening mind. And as chance would have it, those ponderings fell into my mind. I came across something in the book that got me thinking: “And they blessed Rebekah…(1)” Who were “they”? And what were “they” blessing her into? You see, Rebecca’s knees were about to buckle. She was about to begin her journey with her groom to be. And she had a support system; a system she grew under; a system she had known and trusted: her parents.

There is a disparity among us. There is a growing gap between the generations. From a young age we seldom digest the idea of involving those who are older than us in our heart issues. Though I am not a parent, I can only assume that the gap is felt on the other side as well. No one party is to blame. We all, both knowingly and unknowingly, have watched this crevasse widen (and at times have allowed it). This over-arching “normality” that is disheveling our post-modern society is slowly, and surely, creating dire effects. What if all that you learnt about love, relationships and sex was not from your music icon? What if all that you learnt about wooing a potential lover (the right and proper way) was from those who have gone before us? What if your support system were your parents? I use the word “parent” loosely. Those who parent us may not always be our biological parents (we all have different circumstances). If we take a moment to look around we may soon realize that we are not alone on this journey. God, in His sovereignty, places people of influence and wisdom from which we can tap what we need (perhaps that is one of the ways by which He never forsakes us). “They” were once you. And you will one day be “them.” What sort of world would we have if we entrusted our hearts and lives with those whom God has placed as parents over our lives? What sort of love journeys would be conceived?

To those that have gone before us:

You are a great resource. Your experiences, your mistakes and your successes are the stepping stones by which we are aching to climb. Though we seem distance, be assured that we are itching to hear from you.

To those that have yet to cross the bridge:

We have so “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us (2)” that have gone before us. I know the distance that we all feel from them (besides, “times have changed”). But what if (what if) “they” are willing to help us through our qualms, even if we fail? What if they are itching to hear from us so that they can direct us?

At His Feet

References

  1. Genesis 24:60
  2. Hebrews 12:1

Bloggers Note: Be sure to leave a note on the comments section if you would like to purchase a copy of “Redeeming the Wedding Veil-Gods way”

 

 

Have you ever witnessed one of those off-road hair salons (the “Glory-to-God” or “Satana-walephera” kind of salons?)? Located beside the market place, the smell of tomatoes and freshly picked vegetables fume the air as clients walk in and out. With paint half peeling off the walls, one has to beg the unanimous question: can anything good come out of these modern day “Nazareths?” Yet, amid their uncanny appearance comes forth an unexpected artistry. Hair. Each twist, braid and lock structures an alluring pattern of beauty. The hair dressers (Aunt Rose or amayi-a-Monica) passionately rub in their glycerin oils and Revlon as the strands of mesh wait patiently on the table. Within hours (or subjectively days) they step back and behold their handiwork. The long hours, intermittent Fanta breaks and hearty conversations brew the near perfect “hair experience.” Can anything good come out of those Nazareths you ask? The answer is obvious.

There is something about a woman’s hair. If you step into any male barbershop you will find a multiplicity of celebrity cuts and shaves pasted across the walls. Any honest man will tell you that there are really only two options at hand: brush cut and brush cut two-point-o (on a good day we may add a “seda”). On the other side of the fence, however, lies a whole different ball game. Take a walk through your community. Brown, black, gold, white and sometimes purple. Straight, curly, wavy and kinked. Whether relaxed or permed, there is a natural inclination (no pun intended) to tender to this delicate fabric. By no twisted conduct (every pun intended) do I wish to sound chauvinistic or misinformed. My honest observation over the years has witnessed the amiable care and value that many women take with regards to their hair (me walking in the rain is really inconsequential). I’d like to believe that I and my fellow brothers appreciate the sheer attention that is taken to this delicate fabric (it does not go unnoticed). But what if I told you that your head of hair should mop the dusty floor? What would your reaction be? Besides, would you want to sabotage your hair game for a dusty floor- let alone rain?

“Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair…” – John 12:3

We all value something. Irrespective of gender, we all have things that we hold dear to. Our hearts inclinations to the things we adore cause us to guard the very objects of our love with intense passion. But what if the thing you love- the very thing you love the most- took a step down from the pedal-stool for the sake of something else? I am not talking about hair. I am not talking about your loved one. I am not even talking about money. I am talking about you. What often holds us back from giving our all to God is often not what we think (the rest are mere distractions). What keeps us at bay from the very depths of God is ourselves.

“…I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself…” – Paul

Mary saw something that many had yet to see. Mary did not just see a man. She did not just see a miracle worker or teacher. In the face of Jesus Christ she saw God. It was then, and only then, that she reckoned her most valuable asset (herself) as nothing in the face of God-incarnate. It was then, and only then, that she considered all things loss (her hair included). It was then, and only then, that she was able to thrust away, with holy passion and devotion, what she held dear: her hair. God is not beckoning us to cut our locks nor is He asking us to throw away our material possessions. What He is primarily asking of us is us: to cut ourselves from ourselves; to let Him fill each crack and crevasse. For it is only then that we get to both know and experience His fullness. For it is only then that we get to know and experience the invaluable: Jesus Christ.

At His Feet…

“You must learn how to fly before you can run.” Confused? I remember leaning against the half escaping blanket as the cocktail of clothing and miscellaneous objects beautifully cluttered the floor. The organized mess mirrored the aura that seemed to clumsily descend as the words spilt into our conversation: “You must learn how to fly before you can run.”

“What does that mean?”

We were a good 48 hours into the new year. Way passed the “godly hours” of night, we pondered on moments experienced and gazed towards what was to be, then, the New Year. Challenged to go further, seek deeper and pursue harder, our hearts were eager to pounce onto the God band-wagon, “ready” to go where He would want us to go (1). There was a buzzing anticipation sparkling in each eye as thoughts of the journey ahead tugged on our being. And that is when we heard it. Streaming from the mouth of one of His children, the words sank into the pores of our skin attempting to find its way, and its home, into our hearts. The bustling vibrancy seemed to settle for a moment: “You must learn how to fly before you can run.” An elephant sheepishly walked into the room (figuratively speaking). We begged the million-dollar question: “What does that mean?”

Reason and experience has taught a great multitude of us that our human anatomy does not harbor the frame-work that enables us to lift from earths gravitational pull as the eagles do. Though Peter Pans fantastical façade is one we may have only dreamt about, our present reality are our feet. With them we stand. With them we walk. With them we run. How do we expect a non-winged creature to fly? How does a baby that can barely run (let alone walk) soar the sky with its feathered companions? The answer is simple. It cannot. Unless, however, a “winged carrier” is used.

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself”- God

Exodus 19:4

Have you been running or have you been flying? Every time a person responds to Gods call to journey with Him, they would soon realize the feebleness and frailty of their human frame. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted (2).” Our best resolve to follow the Lord, even amid earnest sincerity, falls short when our “carrier” is ourselves. God is not looking for those that are strong and fit. He is not looking for those that are able to “run” on their own. God is looking for those with hearts like children; those who negate their “strength” and “tenacity” to be thrown in the air by Abba. He is looking for those which He Himself can carry on His wings as they rest in His power, authority and might. When our dependency is fully thrust on God, we enter into an illustrious realm of awe and wonder. It is in that place where true strength is realized; strength that is founded solely on Him. As Oswald Chambers put it “Let the attitude of life be a continual ‘going out’ in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God (3).”

The countdown to another year is yet another way of God whispering to our souls that “the journey continues on.” We know not of the victories and tribulations ahead; of the pleasure and pain; of the tears and laughter. But what we do know is this: God. Will you run on your own? Or will you fly with Him? Happy New Year.

“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.” – Deuteronomy 32:11-12

At His Feet…

References

1.Ruth 1:16

2.Isaiah 40:30

3. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

November. Running my usual errands, I stepped onto the streets of Blantyre. The tar marked road glazed as the people trudged through. The cries of the minibus conductors solicited for the people’s money as each passer-by made their desperate attempts to trek through the scorching heat of the sun. I could see it on all of their faces. I could hear the mantra within me: “Kodi mvula ibwera liti (when will the rains come).” The suns kisses, coupled with the keen hugs of the humid air, throttled the temperaments of my fellow countrymen. Work now seemed to be a tad bit slower. The notion of blankets was border-line bizarre. The anopheles’ mosquito seemed to buzz a little louder as the clammy night erased the suns beams. I could see the street vendors rummaging for shade as the mid-day sun grinned at them. Those who seemed to be most successful were those selling water in their small plastics as our neighboring counter-parts saw it opportune to tantalize us with their thirst-quenching delectable: Frozy. The “clouds” pitifully stared from their headquarters. There was no sign of rain.

Kodi mvula ibwera liti…

I woke up the next morning (sleeping on top of my sheets). The air seemed to have gained a couple of pounds. I sat in my room trying to map out my day. I re-positioned myself and new exactly what I was going to do. I slept. Woken by my inner “lunch time” clock, I quickly freshened up and shuffled my way to the cafeteria. I got back to my room. Lunch seemed to be most rousing as I slothfully picked at bits of my food. I lay on my bed (tempted to sleep again), as my mind cascaded in circles. A good two hours walked by. Looking around my room I noticed something. It was darker. The curtains were semi-closed. Drawing them apart I looked from my bedroom window. A thicket of clouds overwhelmed the once blue sky. They looked heavy. They looked daunting. A tinge of darkness blanketed the city as the stillness of the air hovered amidst. One drop. Two drops. The pavement soon began to grow freckles as the miniscule drops of rain painted hope on the scorching ground. The heaviness seemed to momentarily lift as the gush of rain poured out on the thirsty ground. The hail smacked the earth as my dorm-mates stood over the balcony with hearty contentment. Rain!

“I wonder whether the rain will really come…”

Every year, for as long as anyone can remember, people, both young and old, dig the earths powdery ground, planting seeds of crop and seeds of hope. The 5am rooster cockles at an empty house as the kids and parents form lines in the ground with no sign of rain. Though the seven-year-old may question the need to plant, and though the scorching heat daunts mercilessly at each thrust of the plough, deep down, with desperate assurance and hope, they know the rain will come.

I’ll be honest. Sometimes I’m like that seven-year old kid. I wonder whether the rain will really come; whether God will really show up. Like the servant of Elijah we gaze at the sky looking for the palm sized cloud that will whisper a glimmer of hope into our being. And as we look for the seventh time it seems that the only clouds forming are those that shadow our faith. Yet the Lord, in gracious strength, tells His seven-year-old children to keep planting: planting seeds of faith, seeds of prayer and seeds of obedience. It seems pretty nonsensical to plough in the heat when the unseen rain seems worlds away. Yet God delights to work in the unseen. He desires to see the precious faith which He has given you manifest itself in the scorching heat overshadowing the sun’s rays of doubt and fear. More than the fruit of our faith, He desires to grow the faith of our fruit. He keenly wants you and me to believe. He wants you and I to build the arc even though we have never seen rain. He wants you and I to press through the wilderness though we have never seen Canaan. He yearns with holy intensity that you and I see Him. For when we do, our souls will collide with this spellbinding truth: His rain never fails.

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:3 

At His Feet…

Candlelit dinners are romantic (relatively speaking). With the right musical ambiance, starry eyed gazes, and perfectly timed silence, it paints the picture perfect night smothered in love-sick goodness. However, when the candles seem to make a faithful appearance onto the dinner table (and living room floor- and any sort of floor for that matter), then perhaps the idealistic romantic façade was nothing short of a power cut.

Over the past couple of weeks’ social media has been flooded with a torrent of endless memes, sarcastic remarks and pure frustration over the current (pun-intended) power outages. It seemed that many shared great comfort that the darkness they were experiencing was a common phenomenon experienced by many alike (humanity thrives on shared trial). I, on the other hand, was oblivious to the complaints of my fellow country-men. Studying at a public institution, were power-outages occur as often as the lunar eclipse, makes one to be progressively unmindful of what is happening in the outside world. My personal sentiments failed to fully empathize with what was going on around me. The fluorescent beaming of my light bulb was my norm. That soon, however, changed.

“It will soon become your norm”

I had just finished my first final year module- with just three more to go- and had packed my bags to journey to the “outside world” for a week’s break. It didn’t take long. I too began to sense the sarcastic remarks creeping out of me as the light escaped the bulbs and darkness flooded the rooms. I would often wake up to a five percent phone battery life with little hopes of getting it charged. The power-cuts became irksome. The absence of power became real. There was a particular morning, however, when I woke up and found the fan on. I quickly rummaged myself out of bed and soon saw, with astonishment and confusion, the beaming of the light bulb. I was not sure what to make of this new development. The sun had been up for a couple of hours. Afraid to be overly disappointed, I quickly talked myself into believing that the load shedding would soon occur. It was suddenly lunch time. The pots and pans scraped the hot plates of the electrical stove. Midafternoon. Before I knew it, it was night. The power was still on. I messaged my younger sibling on my fully charged cellphone, relaying my deep seated confusion over the ongoing electricity. We laughed and chuckled. It seemed strange to have the power on all day. As I shuffled to the living room, a different sort of light lit within my mind. How remarkable was it that a few days were enough to brainwash my mind into thinking that power cuts were a norm? Many of us may attest to the impending feeling of “doom” as we anticipate the switching off of the power (and when it does not happen we are greatly surprised). As an old saying goes “if you tell a lie many times, it soon sounds like the truth.” If you are in the darkness long enough, it will soon become your norm.

We become okay with being just okay”

What is your norm? What is my norm? Norm is often measured by a paradigm or set standard by which all experience and supposed “truth” can be held against. I often think of the eagle that grows amidst chickens or the lion that grows amongst the cats. Ignorant of their identity, they “flourish” in the norm that has been presented before them. The result? A giant living in a stunted body. When God saved the children of Israel from Egypt He introduced the norm which they had longed to see: A God who answers prayer; a God who delivers His people from the evil one; a God who is mighty and fierce. Yet, when shrouded with doubt, they quickly turned to the norm of their slavery, reminiscing their daily garlic and forgetting their daily bread (manna). There are two norms that wrestle with our being: the norm of the world and the norm of God. Many attempts are thrown our way to discard God (if even that were possible) and any sort of ideology of Him from our mind and human experience. Sadly, this often creeps into the Christian walk. We curl up into our little comfortable cocoons, accepting what God does not accept as “normal.” We become okay with our minimal hunger for God. We become okay with our busy schedules that displace our times of prayer. We become okay with the “little” sins in our life. We become okay with being just okay. Yet God is looking for worshippers: worshippers that are hot and not lukewarm; worshippers who will sacrifice the norm of this world in order to be fully immersed in the norm of God. When Jesus Christ came, He introduced a new norm; a norm that had existed before time itself. His desire is for you and I to be baptized, fully drenched and immersed, in God, so much so that when the world sees us, they see abnormal beings (perhaps aliens). And that when He sees you and me, He see children (for I shall be their God and they shall be My people).

So what is your norm? What is your darkness?

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”    Romans 12:2

At His Feet…

 

I made my way down to the corridor. Bumping into some familiar friends, we carried the dinner that piled on our plates and stood beside the flight of stairs. None of us seemed to mind (or care) about the unconventional seating plan and humid ambiance (it was early November- the Malawi “summer” had kindly eradicated Junes “chiperoni” breeze). It was clear that our heads needed a momentary escape into a world where the only seemingly pressing agenda was nothing. The verbal rendez-vous picked up in laughter and nostalgic memories of past experiences. A fair number of us had embarked on a new chapter whilst the others were on the verge of finishing. Eager to know how the story ends, we probed mercilessly at the finite details of life’s book so that we may be better “prepared”. It was blatantly obvious that no amount of “reading” could adequately ready us for the chapter ahead. The pile on the plates diminished. The feathery air soon became weightier as tales and silent observations of human archives unraveled themselves, piling heavy sentiments on our hearts. We were all on a journey. A journey that hoped for wonder, adventure and a little more. Reading ahead from the others, it was flawlessly clear that the road ahead was not a one-man trip. It had people. I gleamed forward thinking about the shoves and pushes I’d need along the way. Admittedly or not, both they and I needed a support system (“if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” [1]). The wanting of a helping hand and authentic cheer from life’s camaraderie’s seemed ideal. And that is when the elephant walked in. Across the “dinner floor” bloomed sagas of unmet expectations from those who promised to hold them up. The somberness in their voice echoed disappointment yet it was not cemented in hurt. They all seemed to attest to the disenchantment that faithfully follows the “shortcomings” of our flawed relationships with those around us. Nonetheless, like a sunrise at dusk, and with deep seated conviction, they unanimously echoed their seemingly unwavering disposition: “we know they mean well.”

“the best of their abilities but not the best of our expectations”

Love; the epitome of our human experience culminating in joys that seem beyond our galaxy. Yet we find ourselves toppling from its summit, landing flat on our hearts when the displeasure of disappointment and failure seem to stream from those we love. It is quite disheartening when it appears that we are the only ones holding our end of the stick. Whether friend, sibling or spouse, our hearts feel discouraged when those we love fail to express the sentiments we expect from them. Unfulfilled promises and unmet expectations soon fulfil our conceived ideology of who they are. As moments turn into days and days into years, the walls erect themselves clouding the love we so desired. The damage is real. The hurt is palpable. I’ll admit that there are those who are abusive in their sentiments and whose end of their stick is never touched let alone held. Yet, there are those who mean well. Those who do hold their end of the stick to the best of their abilities but not to the best of our expectations. Failure to express does not always equate to the absence of love. It may not even be a failure to express love on their end but a failure to rightly perceive on ours. Our pre-conceived ideas (whether good or bad) have a tendency of creating an ideal that clouds the rays of sunshine from touching our skin. Ever felt like God does not love you? Have you ever asked yourself why? Often times it stems from a mismatch of what is in our minds and what is true. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?…I cry by day, but You do not answer…Yet You are holy…You are He who brought me forth from the womb [2].” Though David’s mind felt that God was far because of his unwanted predicaments, which appeared unmet, truth told Him that God was readily there for Him. What if, perhaps, the rays of love we so wish to see and feel, are clouded by our expectations creating shadows of doubt and discontentment on our end? What if they really do mean well? What if they really do care? As the mist clears and as the clouds partition we come to this shattering yet restoring truth: the sun was always shining behind the clouds [3].

God has placed people in our lives who genuinely and authentically hold our hands; people who love on us even in our most unlovable state. In a broader sense, He does this to remind us daily of the great love He has for us. Let them love you. Let God love you.

At His Feet…

References

  1. African Proverb
  2. Psalm 22:1,3,9
  3. Unconditional (2012), Film

 

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