FROM HISTORY TO FAITH – HERE IS TO THE FUTURE

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ” (‭Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭14-26, 28-29‬ NIV)
1. DWELLING IN THE PAST HINDERS YOUR FUTURE

The fact that there is a history implies that this had happened over a long time and many things had been attempted before.

The boy’s father was now so well versed about how the seizures took his son. He could have even written a book about how to keep your children from falling into the fire when the seizures came but this did not heal his son…..

The woman that touched Jesus also had a history of bleeding that only stopped when she stopped pilling  the history cards and she started believing.

Hannah had a history of persecution and bareness until she stopped crying and started praying.

Gideon had a history that put him at the end of the clan and tribe chain until he stopped despising himself and put faith in God.

2. FORSAKING  THE PAST GIVES YOU A FUTURE

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭13-14‬ NIV)

The father dropped the history and picked faith

The woman dropped the Law and picked faith Luke 8: 43-48

Hannah dropped self pity and picked faith 1st Samuel 1:15-16
3. FAITH BREEDS RESULTS

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬ NIV)

The father believed beyond the faith of the disciples and his son was fully restored.

The bleeding lady believed beyond the impediments of the Law and she was certified miraculously clean and accepted by the same law that had confined her to the outskirts of communal living with the threats of death if she brought her contagion into the community .

Hannah believed beyond bareness and she gave birth to a Judge that redeemed Israel.

It all takes stepping out of the shell of the past to walk into the light and what lies ahead. You can’t sail with an anchor on. Same with life you cannot chain yourself to the past and hope to inherit the future.

Let history be. Let faith fuel you. Let the future propel.

Who has the power?

In the life I have lived I have taken note that all is centered on power. The way we shall live and die is premised on the powers lording it over us. The way our tomorrow is going to be is centered on what power has the keys to our universe.

There is another dimension of power I have observed. The way a man of power handles himself. Whoever said the history of a nation cannot be written by the vanquished had a poignant point that we have failed to fully interrogate.

At many times we rail at the so called powerful men and fail to understand that at most times they themselves have fallen slave to the power entrusted upon them. Many of the powered ones have actually become slaves to the trust bestowed upon them.

We use terms like “power drunk” but we fail to accuse ourselves of sleeping on the wheel and letting our leaders drink themselves to a stupor from the cup of power. We only wake up at the sound of cups being plunked on tables to signify emptiness and we wonder what held us in eerie land when all this was happening .

I am convinced that at large we have lost the meaning of power. We see the ego trips driven by power take precedence over servant leadership. We see homes plundered by so called chefs on the premise that they have power. But do they have the power?

Stories of public utilities turned into private entities are awash in the media and all we talk about is abuse of power, but is it? Is it power that drives ego, fuels greed, pumps immorality , makes man blind to their moral obligations?

Is it power that makes men seek tots for sexual satisfaction? Would it be power for a man to sleep full and his entire village starve? Would it be power for a man, like Jesus says , to forsake his one hundred sheep in his hold only to go and grab the only sheep of his neighbor to roast for his visitors?

Me thinks we misconstrue power. The so called powerful men would not be deemed powerful if they had no one to be lords over. So they owe their elevated positions to the same people they lord over. It is the masses that have the power.

So, when the custodians of power get power drunk and plunder our granaries, take our food and declare themselves gods we have only ourselves to blame. Twin cabs, large offices, large pay packets, huge sexual appetites, sickening habits and all by products of power binges do not reflect power. They reflect authority gone wrong and slaves who have overtaken their masters.

So, who has the power?

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)

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.