Last Sunday, I sat next to a lady who in between the service told me that I should not visit malls this week. She told me that her brother worked in the US Embassy, and had gotten a notification that a terror attack was imminent. This lady was a stranger so I was a bit taken aback by the way she dropped this bombshell, but I managed to sober up and tell her that we would pray for the nation. In the recent past, I have had a strong sense that our country is standing on the shoulders of prayer warriors. I committed to be one of these warriors and pray for the nation.
During this same service, we were reminded to pray for Haiti. For a few seconds I was intrigued at how fast we had all moved on from this tragedy. A few days of changing our Facebook settings, a few sad conversations on the tragedy, and then we moved on.
Terror threats, hurricane attacks, and more, seem to be a good part of our world today. A comment that the Pastor made seems to have stuck with me. He said that as we mourn Hurricane Haiti, let us also remember that some of us have been going through personal Hurricanes.
I thought that’s so true! I could have limped in joy at that statement, or maybe wept would have been the more appropriate response. This statement represented a very accurate description of my life over the last 2 or so months. I have felt like I have been going through a Hurricane of some sort.
The Hurricanes around Me
A few years ago, I moved to the outskirts of Nairobi in an effort to save costs. I was still trying to figure out the how’s and what’s of Lapid Leaders and needed to keep my costs at a manageable level. Last month I finally moved back to the City! I was overjoyed to be back to ‘civility’, but more importantly I was looking forward to spending less hours on traffic. This move felt like a transition to a new chapter of my life, so you can imagine how disappointed I was when I realized that the apartment that I had moved into was new and therefore did not have many tenants and security was going to be an issue. True to my instincts, a few weeks into the house, the apartment block was attacked by thugs. Thankfully God spared my house but the ordeal left me very shaken.
Soon after I decided to move houses, and to say that the house hunt has been a nightmare is an understatement. As if this was not enough, I was going through yet another turmoil with the premises that we use for the Lapid Leaders programs; and let’s not even mention the turmoil in my personal spaces. Somewhere along the way I managed to secure a showdown with traffic cops and in the process earned myself a hefty fine for an offense that was the fruit of my madness (I took a wrong-turn, knowingly, yes madness!). Every day I have woken up with a pep talk to the Father, “Where are you? You said you’d never leave me nor forsake me. Why does this storm not seem to be passing?”
This has got me thinking about hurricanes. With a death toll of over 1000 people from just one incident, you really cannot help but wonder where God is in all the mess. Is this an act of God or an act of the devil? It would be great to know so that we know where to place the blame.
When Heaven is silent
A few years ago I read the book,” When Heaven Is Silent: Trusting God When Life Hurts” by Ronald Dunn and absolutely loved it. I don’t think enough books are written about hurricanes, about when heaven is silent, about the things that we do not understand, about the storms in our lives, about the turmoil of the unexplainable storms of life. I think that this conversation is often too tough to have that we just glide away from it.
“When Heaven is silent” is written by a pastor whose son suffered from depression and eventually committed suicide. As you read through book, the depth of his pain at the loss of his son is clear. However, it is the disappointment with Heaven being silent when he cried for help that tagged at my heart. When a child cries out to an earthly father and he does not come to his rescue, there is a letdown that the child wears on his face; a questioning look that seems to scream “I cannot believe that you did not come to my rescue!” If you have seen a disappointed child then you know the look too well, that’s the mental image I had as I read through this book.
However, it was the conclusion of the book that has stayed with me. The long and the short of it was that in the face of trials, while it may be very tempting to keep asking “Why?”, instead focus on “What Now?” Ronald Dunn goes to great length to explain that faith has the courage to see things the way they are, no escapism, we need to accept life’s mysteries and that some things will remain unanswered.
My ways are not your ways
We often gets caught up in thinking that we can fully comprehend the ways of the Father. We attempt to rationalize Hurricanes, we attempt to rationalize terror attacks and then worst case scenario we adopt avoidance. In personal spaces, as we grapple in the dark we think that God probably checked out on us!
But what if His ways are not our ways? What if the best act at the hands of such grave circumstances is to say as David often did, “Lord I don’t get it but I’ll trust You anyway.”
As I have gone through my personal hurricane, I have struggled with many questions, I still do. God has kept sending me to this verse:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This verse is not one of my favorite verses. I would much rather the many other verses that speak blessings, but I know His word remains true. As the service on Sunday ended the words of the pastor rung true in my heart “had it not been for the Lord I would have been destroyed”. The thugs would have caused more damage, my personal storms would have destroyed me, but I hear the Father say “Do not fear, YOU ARE MINE!”
When I hear those words, I don’t need to understand, I am HIS! Are you going through a storm? Are there things in your life that you don’t get? Have you prayed for a financial breakthrough, for a job, for a spouse etc but said amen and there was still no answer. I know the feeling, take heart, He holds your life in His hands, and He says fear not, you are mine!