On my first year in a highly-urbanized city, I met a couple. They were clients who were doing well and in a position of some influence. One night, we had dinner. There was the usual getting-to-know phase and the small talk and the business. And then, when things were warming up, the conversation moved on to our families and way of life, as it usually does.
They were both accomplished self-employed professionals with great kids in great schools. This couple were self-made individuals who leave nothing to chance. Quite a far cry from my life. My wife and I, our family, live a life with a lot of room for faith and God. So when it was my turn to share my life, things started to get a little bit shaky.
Perhaps, perceiving themselves on higher and more powerful grounds, they spent the rest of the night pointing out the high probability of my life going to the dumps. I then received the unsolicited advice that my wife should get a job ASAP because life in the metro requires that both parents should have careers; that being a full-time mom is a foolish thing, even if it was my wife’s calling and passion. Not to mention that it’s her personal choice to sacrifice all to be a loving wife and mom to us. There were other advices made in unpleasant ways that night that my mind had probably supressed. It was one of those rough nights for me; those times when “concerned individuals” decide to help with cold advices and end up attacking my peace and joy in the Lord.
It really wasn’t about helping me, surely. I’m sure because I’ve heard real, heart-felt advices from friends and family who really cared. What the couple was dishing out was a schooling. It was a distasteful schooling because it was similar to kicking sand into the face of someone trying to climb up the edge of a cliff. It was people throwing their weight around others who are just struggling to get by. And this happened during a time when I just transferred to an overcrowded city with no clear path as to where this was all going. I was vulnerable. And this was a spiritual attack.
But I understood that it wasn’t personal for this couple. They were just clueless messengers. In fact, towards the end of the conversation, I think they realized what they were doing. Because, out of nowhere, they stopped and asked themselves out loud, “Why are we meddling into other people’s lives?”
It was an attack from an old enemy. My enemy and yours.
An enemy that will not be named here. And today, he continues to use people around us to rob us of our faith, joy and peace. This wasn’t the last time that people were used to bring this psychological and spiritual battle to me. I receive this on a regular basis. And I’m sure, so do you.
Haven’t you met people like these who just love to point out all that could go wrong in your life and can’t seem to see how things could go right for you?
The enemy knows this is effective. Regular jabs of hopelessness and godlessness….and then a dash of terrorrist attacks and reports of murders, corruption and scams in the news daily… It’s all more than enough to weigh us down. Then, realizing that you actually live near these criminals, will surely gray out your day in any metropolis.
I don’t know where I would be today – about two years after that dinner – if it weren’t for the Lord and His Words of hope in the Bible. I’m forever grateful for His messengers in His Church today that counter and neutralize these “danger mongers” and agents of despair. If it weren’t for these pastors and laymen, these faithful believers, I wouldn’t be writing this. I would probably be your regular guy, drowning his worries and sorrows in drugs, alcohol, addictions, etc…
The truth is, we’re really never in control. It may seem that way for some, but it’s not.
Yes, God allows you some room for your own decisions and preferences. Yes, there can be long periods of idleness. But your life is in His hands – never in yours.
Some live a long, happy life. Some live short ones and are gone too soon.
One invests her all to be healthy and fit – and then suddenly dies because a defective whipped cream dispenser explodes on her chest (true story, Google it). Meanwhile, there are people who intentionally live outrageous, unhealthy lives – smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day – and live decades longer than most of us.
Some live their lives faithfully serving God in His Church, but live in poverty until their death. In a sad contrast, there are people who don’t even acknowledge the existence of God, but they live a life of luxury all their lives.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a bachelor’s degree or an MBA or a PhD or just finished a vocational course… When God plans for you to go through a life-altering situation- you will go through that rough time regardless of your status in life.
For a time, it may seem that God doesn’t care, has lost control or doesn’t even exist. This world is working continuously to ensure that this belief dominates our minds. And, for now, the Bible says that God will allow these things to bug us until the appointed time, for reasons we won’t fully understand.
Doesn’t it make sense then that Jesus and his disciples made a big deal about faith? This faith that the world doesn’t put any value on? This faith that God chose to be a gatekeeper between Him and us? This simple trait of a child that God said in the Bible to live by rather than by what we see around us (2 Cor. 5:7)?
Jesus emphasized faith because this world will often show us illusions of security – the opposites of the truth.
But then God isn’t a clown or magician that will perform His “tricks” to our every request just to prove that He’s really in control. Instead, he passes the burden to us. In every crisis, He asks, “If you’re My child, you would know Me and My work. I don’t need to prove anything anymore to anyone. Will you follow Me?”
And what is the truth? It’s all recorded in the Bible. Nothing here is what it seems. And we believers need to be on guard constantly.
For that particular instance in my life, that dinner, I had to confront my fears and worries. It successfully clouded my spirit, for a while. I had to ask for strength and wisdom from My Father because I was running in fumes.
I was then lovingly reminded that no word of man can defeat the living Word of God. There really is no safe place without Him here, despite of the ilussions offered by this world. Man’s life is but a breath and will soon be gone, whether he thinks he is control or not. The eternal promises of the Lord is better kept in my heart than the poisonous danger mongering regularly served by others. Despite of what this world tries to feed me, I’ve been set free and I am free to choose what I store in my soul.
And I choose faith. I choose God. And, I pray, so would you.