Faith and patience
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it- “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Matt 22:37-39
Beware of limiting God’s blessings by a lack of faith and obedience!
What do these words have to do with the topic or with the verse quoted at the beginning??? I have asked myself this question for a long time and I found the answer in a very unlikely manner, but we know that God works in amazing ways in His own time.
Like every person who is in college/ university pursuing a degree to further the career of their choice, I had my goals and dreams. I had this straight forward plan- finish school, take a year break, go to med school and complete internship, work for 2 years, get into a residency/ post graduate program, work for few years and into fellowship program and so forth. Oh, wouldn’t life be so easy if everything went according to our plans?? But it doesn’t, does it? The plans I had for myself didn’t work out. They flopped so bad that it shook me from deep within. It felt like there was an earthquake that somehow hit only me, and the aftershocks just didn’t seem to stop. I was given a prophecy when I was in school that God would always help me with my studies and my career and my work would always be blessed. I took this to heart and gave my best at my academics and I have always been blessed. I was so driven to achieve my goals, seeing and believing that my hard work would always be blessed. I planned to give an international exam in 2011. I did everything right, studied the right books, solved the question banks, got leave from work to study, stopped meeting my friends or going for outings and everything that I needed to do to excel in that exam or so I thought. The day of the exam came and the moment I reached the exam center, I knew something wasn’t right , that I had missed something or rather forgotten something very important. This feeling kept nagging me the entire time and I knew the exam wouldn’t go well. But since I had already paid for the exam, I went ahead and gave it, knowing the results wouldn’t be good. I was right, 3 weeks later I got my result via email and even before I checked it I knew what would be inside, I didn’t do well. I was very upset and very angry. I was angry with God, and I kept asking why me? Why now? I didn’t understand what had happened and why it had happened to me. I stopped reading my bible and praying for a while, I couldn’t though I was still asking God for answers. I was so angry that I couldn’t see my flaws.
One day I was watching the television and a movie was playing “facing the giants” (good movie), and I picked up some lines from the movie. They asked- what is faith?? Faith they said was- asking God for rains and going and working the fields. I realized that this was a message for me. I believe that every individual is different and God as amazing as He is communicates with us in different ways. I am staring at the screen and saying to myself- of course I know that, I did that. And then immediately I get a response saying- “really?? Did you work the fields?? I almost sent the rains, there could have been a flood!” I was so confused, worse I thought I was mad, it was not like I heard a voice or anything, it was more like a conversation with myself but it was so spontaneous that it spooked me a little. I wanted answers and I went to the source. I started praying and reading the bible vigorously and actively searching the scripture and still didn’t find what I was looking for. Then I read 2kings 3 (vs27), and there the message I got was- beware of limiting God’s blessings by a lack of faith and obedience. I am more confused now than ever and all I can think is what? How can that be? I lack faith and obedience? I mean how? I cant live without faith, I wouldn’t survive and obedience, I have done everything right, I haven’t done anything wrong! I am praying everyday asking for guidance and more understanding. Then there came a point that I felt like God was saying- does it matter? I still love you. But my stubborn heart wont listen, I still want to know what I did wrong. Everyone says that time heals every pain, I disagree. As time passed the pain sort of dulled, at times it felt as though it was gone but it would come back slowly, creeping into my heart and I would be so sad for a few days. I was reading a book- fearfully and wonderfully made by Dr. Paul Brandt (borrowed from a friend), and I realized what I had missed, what my mistake was. When we read the ten commandments, we read it as- do this, do that or don’t do this and don’t do that, and we just say oh, ok so this is how we should be living our lives. In the book the author explains so well about this. I am reading this segment in the book and all I can hear is God saying- “don’t you see, I love you so much that I want to have a personal relationship with you, I want to have long conversations with you, I want to answer your questions. But the question is, do you have time for me?” (again, I didn’t hear any voice). Then it hit me, I was so driven to achieve my goals in the time set by me that I forgot about the “who”, where I get my strength, my confidence, my knowledge from and I was focusing on more on the “what”, what did God want me to do, what books I should study, what work should I do, what exam should I give?? It was not pride or arrogance that caused me to fall but my desire to succeed so bad that I forgot, I forgot!!
I was once told that we should not just follow our dreams but chase after them. I was so busy running that I didn’t realize I went off track. I had divided my life into neat compartments and decided how much time I should give them. Worst of all, my spiritual life was locked in a box and I told myself I will get to it when I have time because God understands how important my career is to me. But this isn’t how life works, especially ours. We cant compartmentalize every aspect of our lives. For us God has to be the core, the main focus in whatever we do or however we do it or else it will all fall apart. Did I not know about this?? This is one of the basics of every believer. Its just that sometimes we are so driven by our goals that we forget what we have learnt. Now I am doing just that, going back to the basics. Asking God for his guidance everyday and for wisdom, understanding and strength and I am also studying again from the basics. Does this mean that I am not driven to achieve my goals?? No, now that I know where I went wrong I am more determined to continue my journey with my career. Its just that I have decided to take the road less travelled with God as the center in every aspect of my life. Yes, I know its easy to say these things and not really stick to them but I believe that God has a better plan for my life and He will guide me where He wants me to go in His time.
I shared this message at the women’s aglow meeting on Sunday 27th October 2013. It was such an honor and a privilege to be asked to share God’s word with them, and such a wonderful experience I had, being among such strong women standing firm doing God’s work. Truly, it was a privilege. We learn from history that small gatherings were important to encourage each other by sharing the word. We share the word not to increase our knowledge, but rather as a way to learn to allow God’s word to change our lives or rather to apply that knowledge to our lives.
The exact same words were not used while I was speaking, (as you know that I have verbal diarrhea) but the message was the same. I hope this encourages you to have faith in God’s plans and patience for His timing, because He is a loving God and He has better plans for you.