God Has Not 4got

3:50 AM 8/16/2006
…this morning i spoke to god; i didn’t say a word, but he heard me. and he responded with this beautiful verse that flooded my heart with light and a reason to go on.

God did not forget about Noah and the animals with him in the boat. So God made a wind blow, and the water started going down. God stopped up the places where the water had been gushing out from under the earth. He also closed up the sky, and the rain stopped. For one hundred fifty days the water slowly went down. Then on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year, the boat came to rest somewhere in the Ararat mountains. (Genesis 8v1-4)

For obvious reasons, these verses of scripture are pure bliss. You will have to have been me these few days to fully appreciate the esctacy of discovering the above scripture. TD Jakes put it this way: you have to understand my struggles before you can appreciate my success. I totally agree. Yesterday, I was talking to a dear, dear friend of mine. I was trying to unwind to her; she said I was complaining. I was trying to tell her how weak I felt. She said I should quit sulking and be strong. I thank God for friends like Tess. But I am grateful for a high priest who is not unaware of the feeling of my weakness (Hebrews 4v15); who understands agony and despair so intense(Luke 22v44); and who can speak a word so precise and perfecting, that it has to be more than mere coincidence that the daily devotional software on my computer picked those verses for today.

for a split second, i stood outside myself and joined noah in the boat. I understand confinement; it’s not pleasant, especially with no certainty of the time frame. Especially in close quarters with elements incapable of situational comprehension. I mean, just sitting out a debut 40-days-and-nights-tsunami-like-rainfall is one thing; sitting it out with a shipload of all kinds of animals is another thing. I dare say, noah’s patience wore thin more than once.

I mean, picture it, you are trapped in this huge wooden case, and all around you is the battering of intense rainfall, the motion of stormy waters under your feet, the yells and screams of desperate people dying on the outside. I mean, maybe noah could sit out the first few days, but for over 200 days? And surrounded with the obvious fact that you are the only surviving person in the whole wide world. I mean, its a reason to be thankful, yes; but it’s also a reason to be small, to be lonely.

For the first time in my life, the story of the flood is more than just a story. I entered the boat with noah, i paced the floor with him, i stuck my fingers in my ears against the sounds from outside, i banged the cage doors of the animals, i yelled at them, threw food in their face, i broke up fights with my daughters-in-law who were crowding each other, i sat down and cried because of mercy, i also cried because of the nice old man that lived on my street, the cute little girl in the family next door; i cried because i wasn’t outside in the storm; i cried also because i was inside in the ark; i praised god for his grace, i screamed at god for his judgement, i pounded my fist against the sides of the boat…when would the wind stop howling? when would the rain stop pounding? when would the stench go away? when would sunlight reappear? when would the walls around me come down?

I am grateful god didn’t forget noah in the ark. I am grateful god has’t forgot me either. In spite of the turbulence in my life right now; in spite of the discomfort of being on the frontlines of battle in the army of the lord; in spite of the unfavorable elements of living in war time, i am grateful that the story has already been told. I WIN!!!

after the dust has cleared, i will be found standing tall. After the waters have gone down, my boat will come to rest. After the shaking, i will walk on solid ground again.

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The Walk

the dust on my street is cleared and the gully is gone. but in my life right now, there’s still a lot of dust flitting around, and i can not make out what’s infront of me. my heart is pounding, not with fright, but with the uncertainty of what is going to happen next. i wish i could determine the boundaries of my days. i wish i could tag the stroryline of my moments. the uncanny thing is i know the outcome. and it just hit me now what i saw in my daily devotional this morning in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “…thanks be to god who gives us the victory…”. in so much words, theres the story of my life, as told by the script writer. and that should be plenty comfort to me. inspite of the fact that i do not understand all the details. or that i don not kow where all the props are placed. or that i wish i could have more light.

i guess at this point it is good to remind myself that sometimes, all times, we have to be able to walk with god without expecting him to give us all the details. afterall, that is what it means to walk by faith. what matters is the sum of it, and we have that in so many words. even in my opening statement: the dust on my street is cleared and the gully is gone. in the end, the gully goes.

Licensed

…you know, it’s amazing how god’s word is so simple and easy to believe, and yet at the same time, sometimes, it’s every effort to believe. lately, in the past couple of days, i have been in a state of uncertainty. i have silently and secretly been wondering where i stand in the midst of all the dust that has been raising around me. it seems like each new, the lesson of the bulldozer on my street, keeps zoomiing in on me. something inside of me tells me that that exerience is a very foundational moment for my life; a very instructive session for my life. and i find myself reliving the whole scene over and over again. i find myself analysing and scrutinizing the content of the experience. And gods voice seems to boom down on me, from that episode, echoing off the walls of my spirit, and i cannnot help but think that there is a world of instruction that i am yet to fully comprehend from that singular episode on my street…

at the same time, i am also reminded of “Atmosphere for Miracles Live” – a healing program we just recently concluded in my church. i am reminded of my role as part of the camera crew for the program, and the chest tags and staff identity cards that we had to wear to distinguish us from the congregation. i am reminded of how the ushers and guides kept resricting people from unauthorized zones, and yet becuase of a simple plastic card that hung on the front of my outfit, i was unmolested. There was no recognition. I didn’t know the faces that stood at the door. They didn’t know my face either. But there was an acknowledgement. An acknowledgement of the fact that i was wearing an identity tag that stated “Camera Crew”. And that was enough. I could walk in and walk out. And no one bothered to stop me, simply because i was wearing a tag.

the correlation in this is that spiritually, i am also wearing a tag. There is a verse of scripture pinnned up to my spiritual lapel, that gives me full access and privilege to the things that God has prepared for me. Question: did i ever hesistate at the door of the Control Room? Did i wait to get permission from the ushers before i walked past them? Did i even for one moment wonder whether i would be granted access to the cordoned off zone? No, on all counts. I was dully confident that my tag would simply speak for me. The point is loud and clear. Why should i be full of so much uncertainty when i have the tag of god’s word pinned up on my lapel? I have been licensed. I have jurisdiction. I have authorization. It’s of no matter whether i recognise the faces at the door, or whether i am recognised. My tag says it all. My marching orders is enough. So in spite of all of the dust that is being raised on the street of my life, i can be content. I can be confident. I can be free and fearless. Becauase after the dust has cleared, the lines would have fallen to me in pleasant places.

The street to my house is a delight now. it’s a straight road with no gullies. There are no more cars getting stuck anymore. The dust has cleared. The earth has settled. And there is a straight path. After all of the shaking, there is always a settlement.

Secure

….at this particular moment i feel like all the hope has been sucked out of me. i feel like all the fight has been knocked out of me….funny…a few days ago i was like…bring it on…today, to put it mildly, i am whimpering Time Out! Time Out! with no intention of getting back into the game…

i ran into a friend today, a group of friends actually, my contemporaries, and in retrospect i chuckle. i mean, if you had a most delicate task to perform, who would you call? when the police cannot handle a particular violence, they call in the SWAT. these are the guys with special training; special weapons and tactics. a beat above the normal crew. the ones who handle the things others cannot handle. the best of the best. that’s the way it should run right? i mean, that’s wisdom, right?
not exactly, scripture pointed out to me today. picture gideon – the least of the least. picture jephtah – the outcast. picture joseph – the foreign slave-turned-prisoner. picture ruth – the ungodly. picture jesus – born in a lowly manger, to folks of meagre income. see, the reason i skipped through scriptures looking for all these folks was because i wanted a confirmation that god didn’t make a mistake. i mean, i am hardly the kind of person you would pick for a world class mission. the least i can say is i am still very picky at the kind of stuff my food is made out of.

God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 1Co 1:27-28

at this particular moment in my life, that scripture is such a balm. i know i don’t fit the task i am called to accomplish. neither did jesus. when the world saw the carpenter, heaven saw the creator. when the world saw a man of grief, heaven saw the prince of peace. when the world saw a crucified preacher, heaven saw a glorified savior. with that thought, i am confident that in this little piece of clay(yours truly), within this confines of humanity, is heaven’s divinity, fully equipped for his task.

i begin to realize, albeit hesistantly, that it is becuase of my weakness that god will show up strong. it is because of my unqualification that god will display in me his glory. it is because i am nothing that god will make me something.
see, the point here is not humility; it’s security. i don’t have to struggle to be qualified. i don’t have to struggle to be up to the task. i don’t have to compete with the priviledged. i don’t have to contend with the advantaged. he picked me – plain ole me, just as i am. i don’t need a make-over. or a rehabilitation. or to suit-up. i only need to be a vessel through which he can be poured out.

abba father, i thank you that you didn’t ask for my qualifications. not when you died for me. or when you seated me in the heavenly places. i don’t need to qualify for you to get me through this momentary affliction of mine. i don’t need to qualify for you to bring me out into my wealthy place that you have prepared for me.

…as the whistle blows, i understand that i don’t have to be strong to fight this fight of faith. because when i am weak, i am still strong. the battle is not mine but the lord’s. i may be broken and weary and totally out of strenght, but the Holy Spirit is in me, and see, he is my Strengther and my Standby. He is a very present help in the time of trouble.