Pothole Moments

Psalm 42: 6 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you… (MSG)

This is my story and I am telling it as it is, because I believe that God can use both my pleasure and my pain to save a soul. I listened to a message by Keith Moore recently, and it helped me identify where I am in my walk with God.

I have come to a place where my faith is offended. It is not a pleasant place, and for the very first time in my life I have a conscious knowledge of the soul-chasm Peter felt when he denied Jesus. It is a place where your spirit is weak, and weary and mal-nourished. It is a place where appetite for the Word is absent, and because of the lack of a spiritual diet, the soul hungers and begins to search for nourishment on the slippery steps of sin. I have indulged my flesh in habits that I had once begun to conquer; I have traded my longing for His presence for lusting after promiscuity. I have sold my assurance of salvation for doubt of God’s grace. I have become a captive, disarmed and distracted soldier.

Yet there is hope. In spite of my lost spiritual state, there is a sense of displacement; a faint bell ringing somewhere in my sub-conscious, alerting me of the danger of my position. I find myself aware of the huge train looming down on me, and yet unable to move my limbs out of harm’s way. I want out of this sinking sand, yet I am rooted to the spot. And all I find myself able to do is whisper “Help me Holy Spirit!” These four words have been the sum total of my prayer life for a couple months, the only thing my emaciated spirit can manage.

I do not know when I came to this point, but I know how I came here. It all started with bitterness. I became bitter at the Word, not deliberately, and this is where the danger lies. First, I was mad at my church, then at fellow Christians, then at the world, and finally at God. That madness soon became bitterness at everything and everyone. And like a pack of dominoes tumbling over each other, my bitterness opened me up for depression, discouragement, despair, and eventually doubt. I became a Christian just going through the motions. Worse, I was a church staff doing the work of the God I was mad at. I was trapped, and consequently ineffective as a soldier.
For some of us, that is enough for the devil. He may never be able to get us to curse God, but if he can get us to become ineffective, then he is one up on us. And no matter what prophecies may have been spoken in our lives, if we remain in these potholes, we won’t be making much progress.

So which way out, we wonder. I find an answer in scripture; an answer that encourages me, and enlightens me. Psalm 42: 6. I realize that my pothole moment is not unique to me; even David had a pothole moment, and as soldiers of faith we will, one time or another, come to these pothole moments and find our faith crippled and paralyzed and “in the dumps”.
David offers us a solution:Psalm 42: 6 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you… (MSG)

I am going to try this. I am going to remember my meteoric moments of faith. I am going to rehearse everything I have known of God; our moments of romance, of intimacy, of learning, of practice. I will remember my first love. I will remember from where I have fallen. I will pray even if it is just a blabber; I will open my bible even if I just stare at the pages. I will sing a song even if I don’t get past the first line. I will go to church even if I doze off in the middle. I will listen to a 60mins message even if am tuned in for only 2mins. I will rehearse everything I know until blood begins to flow again in my faith limbs.


Little Soldier Lost

Genesis 37:15-16
When Joseph reached Shechem, a man found him wandering in the field, so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers…

Psalm 56:8
You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.

Sometimes, a soldier gets lost.

I am convinced that I am where God wants me to be. Yet, at the same time, I find myself wandering, and a little lost. It is a difficult time for me, especially when nobody else seems to understand what I am talking about. Most people label me a complainer; forgive me, but you have no idea what it means to be me right now. Granted, I probably could behave better than I am doing, but perhaps it is just because of how I would behave that the Father chose me. After all, he says that his strength is perfected in my weakness. So if I happen to kick and scream my way through His will, perhaps it is so that you may realize that God is indeed, truly long-suffering and committed to his plans and purpose – in spite of our worst tantrums. As Pea observed, the fact that I am unqualified for a particular task is perhaps the reason I make a perfect candidate.

I find myself identifying with Joseph in this scripture. See, he was doing exactly what his father asked of him. He was looking for his brothers in the right place; this is where they were supposed to be working, this was the right location. But for some undisclosed reasons, they had moved shop, and Joseph found himself doing the right thing but not getting the right result, and scripture describes him as “wandering in the field”. Or in the words of Hollywood, Little boy, lost.

For too long I have lived a paradise perception of Christianity. It is not untrue that Christianity has its bells and whistles, its moments of thrill and frill, and there is nothing wrong with having fun as a Christian, but the fact remains that we as Christians are on enemy territory, and we are soldiers. Some soldiers have a desk job; others are on the front lines; but either way, we are all on enemy grounds.

I would give anything to be sitting behind a desk in this battle, but am already on the front lines. Do not beat me over the head because I wince and cringe and cry and moan. Don’t insult me because you sit behind a desk and do not have to dodge bullets, or feel blood and guts splattered all over your face. On the front lines the battle is fierce, the battle is stern, and the enemy is out to take no prisoners. Survival is key; and even if we already have the victory, we must still fight the fight of faith. We must resist the adversary; we must duck, and then comes a time when we mount an offensive; we drive deep into the enemy’s camp, guns blazing. Sometimes, war is necessary to maintain peace.

If this reads like I have gone off a tangent, perhaps I have. I am in the middle of the fight of my life, and the days of my life are as a video being shot on a handy-cam while on the run. I would like to read as inspirational as Jaycee, or as proactive as Pea, or as progressive as Ashe.Selah, but, we all have different scripts. This is my script, unedited. These are my moments of passion and pain. These are the verses of my life-song. These are the pictures of my war-zone. Sometimes, a soldier’s story is like Rambo, or Commando; other times, it is like We Were Soldiers, or When the Trumpet Fades. Right now, I feel like the latter.

Psalm 105:19 … the Word[speech] of Jehovah tried[fused, refined] him.

I was looking for answers, for explanations, when I bumped into this scripture. Describing Joseph, scripture says of him that what God had told him fused him. I looked up the word “fused” in my WordWeb dictionary and it means

1.mix together different elements
2.become plastic or fluid or liquefied from heat
3.make liquid or plastic by heating

As Pea would say/write, ai yai yai. LOL. What God had spoken in Joseph’s heart was making him liquid by heating; his prophecies were refining him by heat. You know, reading it in scripture kind of makes it look like it wasn’t so bad; we read the whole account in just a few lines, in a few seconds. But now I know first-hand that what Joseph went through in 13 years is not prose for poetry, or script for a movie. It is the kind of tale that makes me now whisper in awe “Boy, you should have lost your mind! Why didn’t you just jump in front of an arrow?”

Gen 37:23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the special tunic that he wore.

For me, the special tunic is my comfort, my covering, my mom and dad who always made sure that I had everything I needed, and always had people to do stuff for me. Suddenly, all of that is gone, and I find myself in a place alone, and uncovered, barely having what I need, and having to do stuff not only for myself but for other people. I find myself in a place where the one I love the most is the one I am hurting the most. Suddenly, all that protection was stripped away from me, and then for the very first time in my life, I feel the harsh whip of the wind against my skin, and it chills. It numbs.

Now I see the different sides of the story; I feel the emotions behind the moments. What words can describe the feeling of loss when your most treasured possession is stripped away from you? What words can describe the anguish of soul when you think of a parent whose heart will break because you were the object of their affection? What words can describe the dread that descends upon your heart as you watch yourself being dragged in chains from familiar territory to strange lands? What words can describe the frustration when you try unsuccessfully to explain that you are being judged unfairly, that you deserve better? What words can describe the blackness that flashes before your eyes as heavy iron bars clink shut with you on the inside of them? What words can describe the torments of thoughts of your mates doing the very things you always dreamed of doing, while you were no longer in the equation?

Gen 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph.

This is the part that tears me up every time. See, I don’t understand that. How dare you tell me the Lord is with me when I see my life flashing before my eyes? This is the part that really riles me up. It makes me want to shake my fist at God.

But right there in those five words, I realize reluctantly, is Saving Grace. When the story doesn’t make sense anymore, right there is a compass for this soldier. Lost, but not alone.

PS: random thought, for all those who keep dissing pastors who believe in prosperity, where were you when they were going through the bad times? Is it that you don’t believe God rewards those who diligently seek him? And will you start dissing me when I come into my large place? Well, this is testimony that I paid my dues. So dig before you start dissing.