Travelling on the tough road

The road on which you are travelling can be tough; yes, very tough; sometimes so tough that you cannot find words to adequately express your pain and disappointment.

But keep moving, and stop only when you need to, because it is not so much where you stand now that matters, but rather the direction in which you are moving. The hand and the power of God will be right there to guide, and direct you. If on the other hand, the road is so dark that you cannot see your way ahead, do not panic and do anything unwise.

If you cannot see the hand of your Heavenly Father, you can always trust his heart. 

Your love and commitment will be tested

We must always be prepared to suffer in one way or another for the love that we have for others. We, as humans, survive on love, because God who made us is himself love. “God is love” (1 John 4: 8). Tell me who does not want to be loved everyday on the surface of this earth?  However, I always stress the point that every kind of love in this world will, by all means, be tested one day.

I caution people that anytime you say to someone or to God: “I love you”, then you must be ready to be tested to prove the genuineness of your so-called love! If all of us understood this fact, which is an important principle of life, then many separations of friendships and breaking of fellowship in families and societies would be prevented.

It is easy to love someone when the weather is sunny and fair, but when it becomes cloudy and windy with problems and trials, we begin to question our need to continue loving, and might stop loving the person altogether.

Continuous sunshine produces desert

You cannot get bright sunshine all the time. Do you know that all sunshine without rain produces a desert? Yes, we need some rainy (rough) days as well!  We need the rain- water and the sunlight in photosynthesis to manufacture sugar for growth and also for fruit production.

The other day in my office at school, a student who visited was complaining about “the bad and terrible weather”, because it had been raining for most part of that day. She did not indicate in any way that the rain was a good thing at all, and wished it stopped for us to go about our normal daily activities in a “problem-free” atmosphere.

This was my response to her complaint: “Do you know that a farmer down the road has been praying for God to bring down some rain for his crops, so that they flourish for him to have a bumper harvest that will supply all of us with the food we need?  The rain is an answer to the prayer of someone. So if you are praying for God to stop the rain, whose prayers should God answer? Yours or that of the farmer?” She smiled and got the message; then she became quiet.

Stop grumbling and complaining!

All of us can identify with this story about the rain, can’t we? We exhibit similar tantrums in the face of every apparent hindrance that tends to interfere with our pleasures and plans. We grumble all the time about the changes in weather (especially unexpected or prolonged rain) or some other good occurrence when it tends to occur at the “wrong time for us” in a way that appears to interrupt our personal agenda.

We launch into complaints and criticisms, and thereby invite a spirit of frustration to drench our hearts and minds in dejection without any careful consideration of the ultimate benefits of the so-called climatic interference. We treat several trials and suffering the same way, without recognizing or admitting any benefits derived from them for our welfare.

I have often said that: Even if you lose, make sure you do not lose the lesson!

Unbearable disappointments, trials, and pain

We agree that sometimes the sky is covered entirely with black clouds without a ray of sunlight to cheer you up, and the ground below you becomes sinking sand or miry clay without any kind of firm ground to stand upon.

You are left in the valley of darkness to wallow in the quagmire of despondency, and wonder if relief and deliverance will ever come from anywhere at all in your cravings to marry, in your bitter marriage life, your dysfunctional family setting, your financial or spiritual bankruptcy, in you state of chronic disease and pain, and in the event of a lost opportunity or lost position.

A loved one dies suddenly or tragically, and you feel as if the best chair on which you always rest has been suddenly yanked violently from under you for your buttocks and whole body to hit the hard floor of a 1000 feet ravine.

You have used every medication you can lay hands on, and applied all the medical methods available, including surgery, but your disease would simply not get healed. Your loved one is attacked by a sudden stroke or gets into a terrible accident that cripples him or her in bed or in a wheelchair for several years.

You receive a diagnosis from your doctor and you are told that you have one of those diseases you have always dreaded to even hear about in other people’s lives.

You have done all that there is to be done in your capacity to love and help your child, and all you get is failing grades from school, immorality, pregnancy and childbirth outside of legal marriage, or addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Your spouse keeps on abusing you verbally and physically with unrelenting savagery, despite your commitment to the relationship and your invaluable contributions in the marriage.

You have done everything there is to be done in your power to love and support your spouse, but he or she would never want to change from his or her old destructive habits that undermines the whole marriage relationship.

Your husband or wife entrenches himself or herself in adultery with another person, and ultimately divorces you painfully without any sign of repentance, and messes up your finances in addition.

You are living trustingly with your husband or wife and discover one day that he or she has a 5-year old child with another person (the baby was born 5 years after you had married him or her), and has hidden it from you after living with him or her for more than 10 years.

Every mother in the hospital takes her baby home joyfully, and you alone are told to leave your baby in the hospital for some time because there is a deformity that is difficult to deal with. You are happily nursing your baby but notice after a year that there are no signs of talking or walking, only to be told by your doctor that your child may never walk, talk, or eat by himself or herself.

You discover after an exciting marriage ceremony that your spouse is impotent or sterile, or realize that he or she neglected or intentionally hid an important secret from you about his or her family, sexuality, health, finances, or educational level.

You try to make love with your spouse, but no remedy seems to eliminate the severe sexual arousal pain since you got married, and this has brought significant tension between you and your spouse because of the lack of sexual fulfilment in the marriage.

Your beloved spouse or fiancée travels overseas, becomes engrossed in the wrong advice of friends and the glamour overseas, becomes sexually involved with people more attractive to him or her, and stops communicating with you.

There seems to be no end to the suspicion, tension, argument, and anger on the phone for every conversation, regarding your long distance relationship with someone you really love and want to marry. You happily live with your husband, and due to envy and opposition from his relatives, he adds another wife to the family whom he spends more time with and gets more sexually involved with than you.

Your spiritually active husband gradually stops going to church, reading his Bible, and praying, and he begins to drink alcohol profusely, run around with young girls and ungodly friends, and flirt shamelessly with a lady in the office or church.

You discover from your daughter, that your own husband (her biological father or stepfather), uncle, grandfather, cousin, or brother-in-law, has abused her sexually.  Your beloved fiancée dumps you mercilessly after a long time of commitment to the relationship, and grabs someone else as a partner; sometimes the new lover is surprisingly one of your best friends.

A stepchild, a dear friend, an in-law, or a family member you accommodated, loved, sacrificed for, and helped so much, suddenly turns round to insult, disobey, reject, mock, or spite you, then he or she levels false accusations against you, and finally slanders you to family members and friends and shuns your home as if that was not the place he or she was fed and given a bed to sleep on.

You sacrifice to help a friend, but he or she totally ignores you when you are in need, and even painfully refuses to help you when you tell him or her about your problem. 

You keep failing an important exam that you need before you can move to the next level in life, and nothing seems to change the situation, despite all the money and time you have spent, and your hard efforts to pass.

You have made every effort to apply and look for a job that suits your qualifications, but cannot be accepted anywhere. A friend or family member borrows your money, and all attempts to receive payment from him or her fail.

You hire a family member or friend in a business with the best of intentions, and the one finally undermines your position or business and deliberately squanders all the money and resources of the business or organization to make you go bankrupt, and makes a shipwreck all of your hopes for a bright future. 

Someone you trust so much suddenly runs away with your life’s savings that you entrusted him or her with for the purchase of an item, arrangement of a trip, planning of a conference, or business transaction.

A trusted minister, pastor, or treasurer of a ministry or church embezzles all the tithes and offerings that the congregation members have sacrificially accumulated over the years for God’s work, including the contributions of members who are struggling financially.

You surprisingly find yourself booted shamefully out of a prestigious office that you worked hard to attain in an organization, or pushed out of your own ministry or an organization that you founded from scratch, or thrown down mercilessly from your great position in a government, church, or a ministry, by trusted friends and brethren who turned devils overnight, and sucked your blood with their rejection like ferocious vampires.

You wake up one morning and discover that your hard-earned reputation is smeared and torn to shreds in the media or neighbourhood by slander and vilification of competitors, opportunists, malicious detractors, and people who envy you.  Robbers break into your house and steal your money and treasured possessions that you have acquired from the sweat of your brows over the years; sometimes it is extra devastating when it was done by a close relative.

We can go on naming and citing countless examples, can’t we?In most cases you try to weep, then cry out, and intensify it with a shout, and then you wonder if anyone really heard you!  Everyday seems like eternity as you crave and wait for help.

Your thoughts run wild, and fear produces uncontrollable tremors in your body, or makes you numb from time to time. Intense inner pain and agony that is mixed with extreme frustration, plague your soul and spirit, and you keep swallowing your tears until the taste is lost in your mouth.

Your favourite food tastes like cement or sand in your mouth, and your favourite music becomes noisy disturbance in your ears. You sit behind the television, and everything seems blurred.

The phone rings several times, and you ignore it as if it is ringing next door. You wonder why you were born, and why you are even still living. You attempt to pray, but your mind becomes blank, or you simply continue weeping without the ability to utter anything meaningful before the Lord.

You try to read the Bible but you never finish reading the first sentence for several minutes, and you later even forget that a book was in front of you, as you get lost in your thoughts, worries, and perplexities.

You try to get the attention of trustworthy people to, at least, listen to your story, but cannot get any audience. The more you try to do anything to ease your pain and sorrow, the more you seem to fail in reducing the intensity of your misery, and then you wonder why, O why?  Where is God in all these? 

God is always with you in your trial — he is faithful

And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelations 21: 3, 4).

Death, pain, sorrow, and tears, have become an inseparable part of our lives because of the original punishment that the sinful nature of mankind evoked from God, and our continual perpetuation of a sinful lifestyle that invites more problems for us.

Jesus died to deal with these problems for us on earth, and God has further promised to take us to Heaven where he will finally eliminate every trace of death, pain, and suffering from our lives.

Hallelujah! But, we cannot, and will never, experience any of these blessings if we do not repent of our sins, express faith in God, receive Jesus into our hearts (centre of our souls) as our Saviour and our Lord, allow the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Jesus) to fill and control our lives, and live according to God’s holy word (the Bible) every day.

We have to admit that we are very limited in our perception of what is ahead of us in the next moment, and especially what might or would actually happen to us in the future.

This limitation by our flesh can cause even the most knowledgeable and spiritual man or woman of God to question God’s ability or willingness to continue performing his deliverance operations and providing consistently for us in accordance with his divine attributes.

Most often when a problem, affliction, trial, or suffering persists for a period longer than we expect, we are prone to fret and wonder if God would finally act on our behalf. Even if God would do something, we wonder if he would do so effectively and successfully. In other words, we begin to doubt God’s faithfulness, even if we still trust in his power and abilities.

God, however can be trusted to remain with us faithfully at all times and under all circumstances. He CANNOT think and act unfaithfully in contrast to his name and his word.

You must be convinced that in so far as you live in obedience and continue to trust God, he is right there with you in your struggles, all the time, including times when you actually “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (as David said in Psalm 23), and come very close to death.

Let this important thought always comfort you that as a child of God, the Lord suffers with you through all your trials and afflictions. That is why people must be very careful when they are persecuting, slandering, and mistreating God’s children, because if those they are persecuting are really doing God’s will, then it is the Lord they are actually attacking, hurting, and persecuting.

In that case, God has promised to intervene and fight on behalf of his beloved children! That is the reason why when Saul (later Paul) was chasing the Christians, Jesus met him on the Damascus road and called out to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads (pricks)” (Acts 9: 4, 5).

In all their afflictions he (God) was afflicted, and the Angel of his Presence saved them. In his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bore them and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63: 9).

God Will Comfort And Strengthen You, No Matter Your Circumstance.

Please be assured that God is never too early or too late to deal effectively with every detail of your problem, trial, affliction, or pain. God has promised to be with us always, until we see Him face to face. Remember that everything belongs to Him, and therefore it is His responsibility to take good care of things for us, to His glory.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1: 9).

For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you his people” (1 Samuel 12: 22).

 “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20).

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (St. John 14: 1, 18).

By: Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo, Virginia, USA.

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