Tag Archives: peace

Stripped But Stable

So many things have fallen apart for some of us and it is scary. I have had countless conversations recently and they all lead back to anger, frustration, fear, worry and doubt. There have been job losses, pay cuts, loss of business, relationship conflict and so much more. The very things we have held close and viewed as proof of God at work in us have been ‘taken’ away and most of us don’t know what to do.

For so long we have sought simple, comfortable lives as evidence that we are in the right place with God. We have been content to learn habits and ways of life that have the appearance of good but don’t get us anywhere. We judge one another against standards that do us no good because they are external but we don’t even know they aren’t adding value.

We have been stripped of our ability to plan our lives.

We have lost the ability to see beyond tomorrow because we have nothing to hold onto. Think about how you started 2020. It was full of hope and peace but as we have gotten deeper into the year, it has become more challenging by the day. Remember the fireworks? Remember the celebration? I remember it so clearly.

We usually go to Carnivore to watch fireworks and it is usually a long heart stopping drive to get in and find the right parking spot then walk to the place with a perfect view if there are trees overhead where you are parked. This time we didn’t go in rather we settled on Langata road just around the exit from the bypass. I had known as we drove into Nairobi, I knew we wouldn’t be at the usual joint but I didn’t know why.

The atmosphere was different that day but I didn’t understand that.

I remember the clarity that we do something there was something different that day and nothing would be ordinary then and would be in 2020. I didn’t know what the actual mechanics would be but I knew in my heart something was different. There was a kind of charge in the atmosphere as if we had the opportunity to connect to something much bigger than us if only we understood it.

It was also different because unlike other years, we came straight back home and settled down to sleep. What do we usually do? We go out for tea with friends and stay up all night hanging out. 2020 started with deep reflection and conversation filled with calmness.

The thing that comes to my mind today is how deliberate God is.

Even as everywhere I look, I see despair and sadness because of the uncertainty around me, I know that is not the whole story. I don’t have to understand the whole story, because I know the writer. I don’t have to know the whole path, because I know my leader. I don’t have to have the full picture because His eyes are on the end game.

I know 2020 will be the best year yet. I know the goodness of God is available to me. I know God’s love abounds and covers me. I know I can trust Him who put the world together. I know that nothing can separate me from His love so I am safe. I know my Redeemer lives and I can lean on Him. He is my strong tower, shield and buckler, the strength of my life and my eternal portion.

I am strong and secure because my Father is the One.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to [a]be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your [b]keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

Psalms 121:1-6

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I once lived by rumours

This has been an amazing three weeks full of work and opportunity and experience. One thing I discovered in the course of this life is that my heart must remain in God or He will slow me down to ensure I am on where He wants me to be. Anyway, that is not what I am working through today.

 I read an interesting verse in scripture and things suddenly made sense. Let me explain.

 About three weeks ago I was in class and one of my colleagues was talking about how God has been teaching her about Himself through Job 38 – 42. She encouraged us to read it and I told myself I would one day. The time following that has been so busy I have barely known which leg is going ahead of the other let alone whether or not I am breathing and hence I have been living from moment to moment. The busiest part ended yesterday so I had time this morning to sit and reflect in silence and peace. What a blast. Yet, after the frenetic pace of the last few weeks this is strangely odd. Anyway, I was reading my personal notes and I came across that reference in Job and opted to read it. The closest Bible was not mine and a version I would never have had access to but I figured it was a Bible all the same so I read it. I don’t know about you but I always pray that the right scripture would jump out at me and hit me on the head to remember it. Today’s scripture was amazing….

            Job 42:2

I admit I once lived by rumours of you, now I have it firsthand…from my own eyes and ears (The Message)

WOW!!!!! Up until then I did not realise that I had truly lived that way. Ok, I know the miracles that have happened in my life and the goodness that has come out of the same however, in the new level I growing into I had not really connected with His word for me. I have heard it from people and He has spoken to me but it was yet to really connect with my heart and make lasting changes there. So this verse has begun an interesting quest in my heart to hear it daily, moment by moment and ensure that I am on the right track with God. In the midst of the rush that can sometimes be life I am learning that I can make things work differently and better and be stronger than I ever thought I could be. However the strength is not based on me and all the skills I have rather it is based on Jehovah and the call he has on my life.

 I am so blown away I am literally holding for dear life. The words of a song come to mind that could only reinforce that the writers had checked into a connection with God that could only have grown from the kind of threshold I am stepping on, here is the story:

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful attorney making his way in the rough-and-tumble world of a growing Chicago economy. He was a Christian who had no idea how soon his faith would be tested. In the late 1860’s, tragedy struck Mr. Spafford with the death of his son. Then he was devastated by the great Chicago fire of 1871. He had invested heavily in real estate along the shores of Lake Michigan, and his holdings were wiped out by this disaster.

In 1873 Spafford was advised by doctors that his wife needed a change of location due to health problems. At the same time, he had become involved with the evangelistic work of Dwight L. Moody and his partner Ira Sankey. Moody was preaching in England, and Spafford decided to sail over the Atlantic with his family to be of assistance.

A last-minute business emergency arose, and Spafford was forced to send his wife and daughters ahead on schedule. His plan was to join them on another ocean crossing later. But on the fateful day of November 22nd, 1873, the ship his family had boarded was struck by an English ship and sank in 12 minutes. Mrs. Spafford survived, but all four daughters — Tanetta, Maggie, Annie, and Bessie — were among the 226 who drowned in the icy waters of the Atlantic. From Cardiff, Wales, his wife Anna sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.”

Who among us can imagine the grief that filled Horatio Spafford‘s soul when word of the disaster reached him? Perhaps even fewer of us can imagine what it was like for Spafford to board another ship to cross the swirling waters alone, knowing that he would pass right over the watery graves of his four daughters on the way to meet his grieving wife.

But on that ship, the light of faith illuminated the darkness of Spafford’s life. Out of the depths of his despair arose the certainty that God was in control, and that he would see his daughters again.

As Spafford’s ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit inspired him to write the words to this beautiful hymn. They speak to the eternal hope that all believers have, no matter what pain and grief may befall them on earth.

Philip P. Bliss was so impressed with Spafford’s text that he very shortly afterward wrote the music for it. The hymn tune is named Villa du Havre after the ship on which Spafford’s children perished. Ironically, Bliss himself died in a tragic train wreck shortly after writing this music. He survived the initial impact, but died when he went back into the flames in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue his wife. So this beloved song, which has helped so many, was born in unspeakable pain and grief.

For everyone who has lost a loved one, especially a child, there is no song that has brought more hope than the one Spafford penned while looking out over that endless ocean: “It is Well With My Soul.”

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control:
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And has shed His own blood for my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

            Adapted from http://www.moodychurch.org/radio/transcripts/storiesofbelovedhymns.html

Is it well with your soul? Are you living from the understanding of your personal relationship and experience of God or is from that of others?  Personal is better and in the long run and gives the staying power. Where we are today is pivotal in the arrival of change in life as we know it. We must be assured that even when God asks us to do something that is seemingly outlandish or crazy we will be able to make the choice to do it because we know that He is in control and His will is higher than ours and of greater impact than ours. To be able to reach the mark that He has set out for us and run the established race we must believe that He is above all and in all He desires to make our lives the best and of the greatest impact that we can be. However, the starting point is the realisation and connection to a very personal relationship with Him based on a solid commitment that has risen out of a continued personal encounter with Him.

Today I latch onto the onset of something new and commit to make it better and better every day with the clear knowledge that My God who loves me deeply and incredibly will supply all my needs according His riches in glory and give His angels charge over me…when I am like Job and have exhausted all my questions and have learned to fully love and trust me He will provide and restore in the measure He deems fit…Job 42:12-17.

May we all walk in the same confidence that He is in charge and able and we are but vessels of His will.