Waiting

But they that wait upon the  Lord  shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Waiting is one thing most of us cannot afford to do. Lovers tell each other over the phone that ” they cannot wait to see each other”, students cannot wait for schools to close and for the exam results to be released , hospital receptions hold anxious persons awaiting to walk to the doctor’s rooms to hear the outcome of the laboratory tests undertaken on them.

Waiting is backed by expectancy. It is the anticipation of a bouncing bundle of joy that makes mothers to be to stay the nine months , put up with backaches, appetite and mood swings. All the discomfort is mitigated by the expectancy of blissful joy.

Waiting is underlined by the promise of better things. A person who waits at a bus stop has chosen not to walk the distance between where they are and where they intend to go. The promise of a bus and a seat on the bus are worth the wait because the option would be a strain on the body and exhaustion.

Waiting is centered on renewal. One cannot wait if it will not bring them better results. Listed companies issue cautionary warnings when they undertake processes that might increase the value of their stock. They warn stockholders to deal cautiously with their shares in the interim and most of those who heed the caution to wait normally recoup their waiting via increased dividends.

Waiting brings refreshing and time to muse. I have realized that the time I spend waiting enables me to take note of things that I do not normally pay attention to while on the move. Waiting for a meal to be served enables one to read the history and exhortations plastered on the walls(read Nandos ). Waiting makes the mind to appreciate the beauty, splendor and grace afforded us that we rarely appreciate when we rush and bump shoulders .

It is noble not to rush but rather to re-arm, refresh, replenish , refuel and anticipate greater and better things. One has to wait full term to deliver a baby. One that cannot wait suffers an abortion, stillbirth or premature birth and such dreams , goals and or visions normally cost us more to bring to fruition than if we had waited.

Wait………….

Why I keep on praying

Nyangwe zviome seyi (though things are tough)

Zirwadze seyi (though it is painful)

Ndichanamata (I shall pray)

These are part of lyrics from a song sung at today’s service. It still rings in my mind hours later because the lead singer sung it with such poignant conviction that I allowed my mind to wander past the service into the surreal world of spiritual battles.

In this world that I withdrew into I pondered what would drive a person to declare that however hard and however painful it is, their default would be to pray. I pictured a person who has run out of solutions, endured all pain, lost all social currency and is seen as irredeemable. Until they pray.

I pictured a person so hurt that no human salve or balm could help, so downcast that no cheer would lift their spirits. I pictured a downcast person so lost such that the only outlet is to pray and plant both feet firmly on the faith centred on a God who does not shy away from handling soiled hands and muddy feet.

I identified with these lyrics because in my life I have come to learn that almost all that I am would have come to a terminal end if no one had prayed. I identify with miracles that jolted me forward when I was supposed to sink into mud. All because someone prayed.

I have been in a luxury bus that is more fibre and glass than metal. In the same bus my life froze as the bus hit a broken down truck over hill, swung to the right only to be hit and turned 180degrees by another truck coming from the opposite direction !! In between the impacts I was thrown out of the bus, missed being crushed as it toppled on its side and woke up thirty minutes late to find myself coiled in a foetal position in the middle of the road one metre away from the upturned bus I had been in, mumbling an incoherent prayer.

I have faced the terror that flies by night. That surreal terror that pins you to the bed and moves forward to strangle you and you cannot even scream a word. All that terror cannot do is touch your heart and I have survived many such terrors by starting a prayer in my heart and battling till I wrest my consciousness from the dark grip only to come to full senses, uttering a prayer.

All bridges I have crossed, all battles I have won have a common spiritual currency. Prayer. When I hit rock bottom and scrapped the doldrums of filth, all that I could manage to say was “—– oh my God—,” and apparently that is all God was waiting for to bring in the brigade!!

The sum of it all is that outside prayer all that could be me would a mark at the graveyard. Outside that communion of prayer I have nothing else to explain how I have escaped death, how I have been granted strength to endure, how I have been given so many chances to escape doom and how I continue to be alive.

So, in the face of it all I still identify with the singer,

Nyangwe zviome seyi (though things are tough)

Zirwadze seyi ( though it is painful)

Ndichanamata (I shall pray)

Are you about to give up?

Everyone hits that patch.  The patch where all goes wrong and none seems willing to help you out, the patch where you fall off the wagon and it runs over you as you try to stagger up. Everyone goes through the catch 22 scenario and when it happens the easiest and most available decision seems to be to give up and die, we are quickened to the Job scenario where the wife, being tired of caring for a sore ridden and impoverished Job, tells him to curse God and die.

Everyone hits the dark painful spot. How you handle the pain determines whether you will beat the darkness or the patch will shroud you. So it is not in the darkness that we meet our demise but in the manner we handle the dark patches of our lives.

Before you give and keel over I urge you to consider the following:

Think of the woman who went into extended labour but did not give up. Think of the sweat rolling down her face and the spasms hitting her muscles. It would have been easier to give up and opt for a still-born but the woman persevered. When the midwives demanded that she push some more she summoned courage and strength that she never knew she had and was rewarded with a bloody bundle howling like there was no tomorrow. That was the woman who gave birth to you and me.

Think of the teacher who never gave up when you did not grasp the concept when the whole class had done. Think of what devastation you would have undergone when they left you behind and laughed derisively at you.

Think of the mentor who put up with your immaturity. I look back today and remember how taxing and cheeky I could be but my big brothers never wrote me off. I look back and see the sea of patience that they stretched to accommodate my mistakes and errors. At times these mistakes of mine were to cost them more than me but they never wrote me off.

Think of the decision maker who could have consigned you to the history bin but chose to allow you a second chance. I have had so many close shaves in my life that would have had me written off had someone somewhere not have exercised the option of granting me a second chance.

So before you give up and give up all your dreams I beg you to think of all those that never gave up on you to be where you are today. Where you stand today might not be where you want to be but I can assure you that you could be in a worse off position if those running with you could have given up on. So when the urge comes, think of the worst that you have already beaten and I can assure you it is better to keep running than sit on the track and let the stampede decimate you.

As the sun rises tomorrow, count your granted lifelines that you have been proffered and keep running, for to give up is to let down a lot of people who have already given a lot for you.

 

 

Let this cup pass my father

Faced with the ultimate understanding of the weight upon Him, the Lord made this declaration. In it was the acknowledgement that the cost of the situation was taxing His handling capacities. On Him lay the fate of nations; He was the determinant factor to what our state of relations with God was going to be.

The price was also beyond Him, it taxed His deity to the extent that He had to let the Father know. The Father had to understand that as much as the Son had come on His own volition, the weight of what He had to undergo in order to salvage the world was overwhelming  Him to the point that the ultimate decision had to come from the Father and hence ‘—- not my will—‘.

The cup of course was not taken away. The agony was not deferred or cancelled. The good book states that He was in agony of pain to the extent of sweating drops that were like blood (Luke 22v44). The pain could not be taken away because it was part of the course that was to birth universal redemption. The cup could not be taken away because a lot hanged (no pun intended) on the cup running its course. The cup was the cost of keeping a promise.

The consolation seen is the angel dispatched from the heavens to strengthen Him (v43). There was no postponement, no alteration of the terms and no reduction of the cup’s volume, no promise to delay or rethink. The strength was to boost the resolve and refocus Him at the business at hand, that is the Cross and for sure, He arose from there and walked the path of the cup and the rest is history.

Many cups portend us this day, cups that call to our deeper recesses and drain our innermost being. Many cups stand at our doors to breakthroughs. At times we have run away from handling the taxing tasks, pain, sacrifices in the hope of short-circuiting our way to achievement only to discover that we fooled none but ourselves.

Many of us commit to promises but refuse to drink the cup when the time to deliver comes. A commitment will only come to fruition when one puts their hand on the plough and they till the land to produce the promise. This calls for agony, sweat, labour, pain, sacrifice, determination and courage. When the Saviour went through all these, all His abilities and senses were taxed beyond His ability to bear but the strength that kept Him going was the result of His suffering (salvation for mankind)

What cups face you today? What sweat runs down your face today? What pain wears you down today? Whatever it is, do not drop the cup or spill the contents, you are a step closer to fulfilling the pledge. One more painful step, one more painful trudge, one more taxing resolve and the breakthrough will flow. Hold on.

As the sun rises tomorrow, face the cup, recall the promise, defy your screaming nerves and press on toward the agreed goal and say ‘— yet I want your will to be done, not mine—‘Luke 22v42b.

The buck stops here

After the wonderful weekend retreat and all the exultations, excitement, exploration, messages, prayers etc something still lingers in my soul. Back in my mind I still have the vivid image of a 21year old boy breaking down trying to narrate how painful it is not to have a father active in your life. With every tear that he tried to wipe away I saw inches of layered pain laced with bitterness. I thank God that it was a Christian retreat camp and men were able to rally around the young man and urge him to fight the shadows and be the one to first forgive even if he deems himself the most wronged and hence aggrieved.

This left me thinking. It seems many, if not all of us, have issues. The thorny point is that these issues have found no closure and they continue to rage like a septic wound. Be it an absent father, an uncaring spouse, an abusive boss, a bad neighbor – all that still obtains is that as long as there is no closure, the obtaining matters affect and impede our ability to go forward.

Despite the information high-speed that we are travelling in it is becoming more difficult for us to communicate and barriers are being built even between spouses. Despite that we speak in tongues and pay our tithes religiously we seem to be having no faith even in our nearest of kin (read skin).

One thing with issues is that they may start small but arrogance, pride, anger, malice and vanities blow them into big flames. How many siblings does the reader know of who are not on talking terms because of what someone said about one of them to the other? Has it ever occurred that if one of the two feuding parties (even the aggrieved one) took the initiative to just sms a greeting and enquire on the other’s health this might open the much awaited channel required to help clear these issues?

How many bitter sons and daughters are we raising on the poisonous bile arising from the issues that went unresolved between us and our parents? How many employees or subordinates suffer brunt because of the unresolved issues we have with past brutal employers and bosses? How many spouses suffer pain because we are enacting the pain inflicted on us by the lovers who left us on the altar or jumped beds to be with our best friends? Why should the lack of closure on these matters affect and negatively shape innocent people?

It is my conviction that most of us have issues. Issues that are painful to even think of, issues that seriously hurt and have gone for long without any serious attempt to address. It is my conviction that the more we delay from closure the further we take ourselves from the goal of progress and happiness. It is not possible to move forward when your feet are tied with barbed wire. You will tumble and fall. The same obtains for many of us – we still bind ourselves in the pride and arrogance of saying we are the wronged ones hence we have a right to play dead!!

It is my conviction that sooner than later this generation has to address its issues. I have resolved to clears my grudges diary; I have made up my mind to empty the poisonous bitterness bottle. I have resolved to forgive even those who will wrong me and refuse to acknowledge their error. I have resolved to play my role and be man enough to deal with all my issues than to ghost them onto my children, siblings, workmates etc.

As the sun rises tomorrow, whatever issue is at hand, deal with it decisively. Forgive for no recourse, play your role, love your beloved ones and the topmost benefit will be; more happiness and uncluttered hearts.

I FINALLY DID IT

Today I got to home group late. Late enough to almost be assured I was going to be asked to give the closing prayer when I entered. Late enough to walk into a simmering debate with the Pastor trying to quell, calm, rationalize and stabilize faith and emotions. It appears the group had pointed out how difficult it is to forgive when people hurt us. A senior mother remarked to the Pastor how difficult it is to forgive the woman who stole your husband, happiness, love, joy and at times your health.

But the Pastor was adamant that we ought to FORGIVE as the Lord commanded us to. Everyone pitched in with their non forgivable scenarios done to them and the man of God was on the verge of being swamped. When we thought we had won, he raised his head and clearly stated that in as much as we would want to vaunt our bitter nesses and inability to forgive, the onus is on us to proffer the forgiving hand and move on. 30 minutes pat dismissal time it was still difficult.

But something struck me. It is his last sentence before we left for home. He alluded to the fact that to fail to forgive is akin to harboring an acidic bitterness in our hearts and it is difficult for God to pave a way of light through such darkness. It reminded me of the favorite saying that draws parallels to bitterness being similar to drinking poison and expecting someone else to die!

When I got home, his words really struck me and I finally got it. I picked up the phone and dialed a number I had erased in my phones (but from bitterness it still obtained in my mind). I called the number of a person who hurt me so badly that my faith took a detour. I called a person who cost me so much I cannot quantify in all available terms. I called a person whose pain to me made me at one time to believe that God would forgive me if I took a gun and blew their brains out. I called a person who at their best still saw it good to do me irreparable harm.

I called a person who hurt me so badly it still physically hurts today and most likely will do so till I am interred in the ground barring of course, the occurrence of a miracle.

When they answered I only asked for two minutes and explained that I had come to the realization that my being angry with what they did to me was holding me back and festering an inhibiting bitterness. I told them that despite all the pain, the hurt, the harm, the losses, the humiliation etc I WAS FORGIVING THEM AND THEY WERE NOW FREE TO PURSUE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT THE FEAR OF NQOBILE NCUBE LOOMING OVER THEM AND SEEK REVENGE.

I was met with stunned silence. No slur, no insults, no swearing, no hung up phone. Just silence. 30 seconds later all they could say was ‘THANK YOU’.

When I hung up, a burden lifted. Of course I still bear the physical scars but I have dealt with the bitterness shadow and there is space for more light in my heart.

Tomorrow as the sun rises and as you battle shadows and mountains, pause for a moment and check if the mountains hindering you are not out of bitterness and unforgiving pain. If so, one call, one visit, one sms might heave a mountain away for you. It just did for me.