“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” Jeremiah 7:22-24
Lately I have forced myself to reminisce on the goodness of God, count my blessings and daily live a thankful life regardless of what I might be facing at any given moment. When I am tempted to complain, I quickly remind myself that I of all people should not be alive today. I did not come to that wise conclusion by my ‘faithful’ self; hardly. I arrived at that by God’s merciful leading. He knew that if I did not focus on Him and give Him His overdue glory, then I would lose my joy and be rendered useless to a lost, hopeless and dying world around me. They needed to know that there was a Mighty God who was in absolute control of the world. And yet humbled Himself to pay a price He did not owe, to close the gap that sin had created which had separated us from Him. So until we humble ourselves also and seek Him, life as we know it will be more unbearable than it already is.
God in His infinite mercy has also been reminding me of adventures we had together when I was a little girl. Times I did not even understand the concept and principles of a living relationship with God. All I knew was I believed Him and believed in Him; I heard His voice constantly and I quickly moved at His behest without arguing or mulling over the consequences of my obedience. I marvel now at the childlike innocence and trust that produced incredible miracles of which I can only dream of this day. At the time I did not think of those various happenstance as miracles. I just came to expect then, because the One I trusted was my ‘ever present help in trouble’. Even my salvation was not as a result of family tradition or a church sermon; God just walked into my room (no I did not see a physical being) and we got to talking… There was never any preamble or introduction; just a childlike knowing of who He was and what He wanted. I just had one question: ‘why did he not stop the evil in the world right away?’
Today I know better and I have somewhat of an answer to why God allows us to go through trials even when we have done all we know how to do to obey Him. This of course does not apply to the rebellious, actively sinning and stiff-necked professing believer! The trials I have gone through (all permitted by God), and the battles I have fought, have made me wiser, stronger and unshakeable in Christ. Some stuff I thank God will not be repeated again. But the revelation and reinforcement that came with it cannot be purchased at any price. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich;… that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17-19, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:6-8
I was seventeen and was on a very foreign soil with my dad. Daddy was attending a Medical Conference and I was on a winter break from college. So I hung out with him. While he attended his meetings, I shopped for every one in the family. This particular day, I hailed a cab to the one known and major shopping mall in that capital city. I had stopped over at daddy’s room at around 10am to get some travellers checks (I had a copy of his key), he had already left for his meetings by the time I got there. But he left what I needed on the dresser (money!!!!! of course), along with a note that asked me to meet him at 1pm at the hotel restaurant for lunch. Now you have to understand that at that time, daddy’s hotel was the largest in the world, in terms of units (it may still be the case now, I do not know). It was so large that it had four towers that were called North, South, East and West. Daddy was in the North and best tower, I guess because it had most foreign dignitaries and businessmen and the humble likes of my daddy. You needed a tram or taxi to get to the other towers! Especially when it was cold. The hotel restaurant where I was to meet daddy for lunch was in the west tower.
So of to the mall I went feeling on top of the world and like a million dollars. The fact that I stuck out as a ‘sore thumb’ did not faze me in the least bit. I stuck out in terms of race, clothing, style and definitely accent in the way I spoke the native language. But all in all people just marvelled at my ability and attempt to communicate. Most people thought it was cute that I was a live version of MTV personified. And no, I was not dancing on the streets. After shopping at two stores and already heavy laden with gift bags, I stopped at a ‘costume jewelry’ store to get some more little weightless packages. This was supposed to take at most 15 minutes, since it was getting to the time I was supposed to meet with my daddy for lunch. As I peered at the glass display, I asked the only store attendant that was around to show me a piece of jewelry I was looking at. She must have been in her late twenties; but the anger etched on her face made her look fortyish. She did not budge at my request, but eyed me with disdain.
I went ahead to repeat my request now, howbeit in a slightly higher pitch. I never met anyone in my seventeen years of life (at the time) and travel with a bigger unjustifiable chip on her shoulder. She said I needed to get my fresh and youthful looking self away from her store because I upset her the day before. The day before????? This was my first time in this store and definitely the first time I ever set eyes on her! Was this a case of ‘missing identity‘ or was it plain ‘uniform identity’: you know e.g. since you come from this continent, then you look like every one else from that continent. Any way as I tried to make sense of her loud rants, two seemingly uniformed men appeared at my side immediately. They held both hands at the sides and began to propel me backward, as I struggled to see who was behind me. For some strange reason I was not that fearful, just alarmed and shocked. It happened so fast that I am not sure the other shoppers noticed there was anything going on. The guys took three steps back, dragging me along and walked into what originally looked like a wall. As soon as they touched it, it opened up as a secret elevator a hidden conveyor and down went the three of us. Folks in case you have not figured it out by now, I HAD JUST BEEN KIDNAPPED!
We must have travelled ten storeys underground, before we came to a screeching and jostling halt and all three of us clambered out into what must have been a small dark room with a round table, a lantern and another man seating and smoking. I calmly asked (something had come over me at this time, it always did when I was little girl and sensed any type of danger. It felt like the information being transmitted in my brain might blow-up my head. My mind was moving quicker than the speed of light) them why I had been brought down here, and they told me for questioning. Usually, up until now, I always thought that the way my mind was computing that day was normal. But now I know it was the Lord guiding my speech, my moves and ultimately my escape. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:20-22
At that point I remembered my daddy and what it would do to him if I did not show up at 1pm as planned. What would eventually happen if he never saw me again. I knew that would destroy him ultimately. So with him as my motivation and focus; I was determined to get out of this place unscathed. A word of advice to the self-absorbed psychopaths and narcissistic subjects. You can not be living if you are only living for yourself. Sometimes the greatest pull and motivation you will need to keep going in life would have to be outside of yourself. Yes God made it that way! The desire not to disappoint someone who truly loves and cares for you would keep you fighting to make it through, because you know it would be unbearable for them if you did not. This has got absolutely nothing to do with ‘people pleasing’.
At this point, I have to abridge the story; maybe sometime in future if we meet I will tell you the sordid details. Through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit; I was able to outwit them. They had grabbed my passport and were looking through it. The issuing country for the passport that I had was no match for them, so they began to plot and plan in their language (which I understood but feigned ignorance) what to do to me after they took my money and belongings. As they plotted; the Holy Ghost reminded me of a political situation in the world and a ‘certain cold war’ that was going on in the globe. So I suddenly looked at my watch and exclaimed that I had to be somewhere at that particular time. They asked me where and why, and most importantly why they should care. I told them to look at the birth place section of my passport, it says ‘Place of birth’: US City (named), United States Of America. I told them that at that moment, there were hoards of people waiting for me at the US Embassy. If they did not see me in at least an hour’s time, the US Marines would descend at that little coven harboring an innocent American Citizen and war would break out. The watch I was wearing, I told them was a tracking device (too much of 007 movies in my youth).
It was not an easy feat, but I convinced them to drive me to a location near the hotel so I could prove to them that I was who I really was (namely a decoy and a spy on a mission impossible assignment). They did drive me to the agreed place, and through a series of divinely orchestrated speech and incidents, I took of running into the arms of my worried daddy and into safety. My daddy chided me for scaring him by coming two hours after we were supposed to meet. I laughed hysterically, He said it was not funny because he was very disturbed. Well I guess now between you and me; we both know that daddy’s ‘disturbed’ was a lovely gift from God.
PS: I did not keep secrets from my daddy; well serious ones at least. But this one I had to keep, or I would have been grounded for the rest of my life and dad would have walked around with a paranoia as big as his ‘Medical Practice’. So dad if you are reading this, do give Jesus a ‘bear-hug’ for me. He has been sooooo FAITHFUL, And I love Him immensely!!!
“O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” Psalm 89:7-9
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:8-10