Faith & circumstances…The Struggle of Steph
James 1:2-4 Consider it all pure joy when you go through various kinds of trials my brothers, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete; not lacking anything.
Just the other day, she turned 27. Let’s just call her Stephanie. She is one reserved lady; a quality many misunderstand as being aloof and too serious for life. She is loved in her family, a well-spoken of lady in the youth of the church. The youths look up to her, the pastors love her, mostly for her deeds and undivided devotions to the things of God.
“This girl is a powerful woman of God. I admire and love the tenacity with which she serves the Lord and the passion she carries in her ministry, a woman who loves the Lord and can pray until the devil himself smells danger and converges to assign his cohorts mission of opposition.
She is a quiet and often reserved lady mostly minding her business but a force to reckon with as far as the things of God are concerned and her walk of faith.” One pastor Y would say of her.
Steph (as we often shorten her name) I ask, do you think you are a serious person? (Smiles and even much bigger smile)… Maybe I am, may be am not, she speaks after swallowing a gulp. “ I am a first born and my siblings think am too strict but not serious, the youths in my church also think of me as being too serious but this is what I have to say. Am 27 remember, and with age comes with maturity; I would say am mature and enjoy mature conversations with real mature people that has impact.
That is her. Stephanie, single through heartbreak; a Christian lady who loves the Lord with all that she knows. She is not just any ordinary 27 year old single girl and as we beat off the cold July breeze with guzzles of seasoned tea from her place, she tells me her story.
She doesn’t know am blogging this, I bet she will be so mad if she finds out or maybe she will just smile and thank me someday. You just never know who will be read this…
“Carrying the Cross daily and following Jesus every day is costly but a sweet venture, she begins. “Look at me, many a times I don’t understand my life or what to expect. It has been and still is my joy to share the gospel and live out the same and nothing satisfies my life more and gives me fulfillment than seeing young people rising up and living for Jesus. I don’t regret being born again and believing in the saving power of the Calvary’s cross. Truly, understanding the power of the cross is what has given me hope to carry on even in the hardest of times because of the eternal hope all in Christ have.
The first child with many siblings following, I come from a loving but not very well to do family. We dint get to have bread and butter for breakfast save for African cake (smiling again) we call it vugeni/vukakasu in the native language. So when we talk of the finest things life had to offer, that was our finest. One thing though, I have a very loving, God fearing and supportive nuclear family. It is a blessing and one of the reasons I am keeping on even as we share this piece. Being trained in the fear of God, it has never left me and so as you can imagine, am a 27 year old, who was really looking forward to settling with the alleged prince charming before the horrendous heartbreak not long ago.
Stephanie, 27, has walked in Purity and her quest to honor God, herself and future spouse was why he left. She has worked with a team of ladies who served as accountability partners with each other and mentors who have been instrumental in helping her walk the talk which hasn’t been easy either way. Actually, she is currently writing a small book, kind of a memoir on her journey which is underway and hopes it will be helpful to a single Christian lady out there someday.
For her 27 years however, she has never been employed and a payslip is something she is yet to hold and feel. At her age, she has absolutely nothing to show. Most of her age mates are married, with kids to show off, doing well in their jobs, advancing their careers and so forth. She struggles with the life she leads and crushed with her life.
What do I have to show for waiting upon the Lord is her biggest Q. “I tell my heart every day, wait upon the Lord like the psalmist in psalms’ 27 but sometimes I can’t help it.” Stephanie is highly qualified in her field of study, she has gone for interviews and an interesting thing is that on several occasions, something just happened and she was denied that which belonged to her. Most recently, she was elated when one of the interviews was successful.
“I remember calling my mum and telling her finally, it is well.” we had prayed and I felt a sense of relief and mama had to know this. She was excited and the daughter was set to go and begin work.
Why I write is that with all excitement, she didn’t have the job. Why? You may ask if she had all the credentials…The prerequisite for the job blew her off. The how about a retreat for us before we kick start the job kind of scenario if you know what I mean. So my girlfriend is here, broken hearted by the very man he would kill for and help burry a dead body at 3am,her ride to die guy, no job or progress to show for the years she has lived, frustrations of perverse men who see nothing apart from the walls of Babylon in a woman!etc
Sometimes she struggles with lots of whys in life. Like why a well to do man, actually a highly respectable, and on demand surgeon will be so into her but she can’t say yes because of the deep convictions of her faith. He is really good and can change her story, perhaps temporarily in a twinkle of an eye. And comes with an appealing package; Good heart, stable career, nice ride, caring, has time for you and loves you for you, any girls ideal checklist…bam! But he is not the right thing/person for her. He is caring but lacks the most fundamental thing, the faith in God yet she knows beyond doubt that a man who fears the Lord is what she needs.
So she shares this because she aint sure someone can understand her predicament. Her shoes are pricking and sometimes she wonders if this thorn of the flesh is from God. What do you think of yourself when all around you are surrounded by the media that tells of the young rich who made it in life when they were barely 20? And you begin to ask whether it’s you who has limited your thinking inside a match box? And you wonder if there is something wrong with your life and genetic makeup? Or perhaps you are not skilled enough and competent even when your work speaks for itself?
It’s a difficult place to be when you all you have is yourself and your God in this tiny room you call your home that you can barely afford a month’s rent and you have to make a face when you are out meeting others and give the best smile like you are enjoying life in the first lane.
It gets equally harder when there is absolutely no one who cares to encourage and understand your quandary expect for your folks. That you are this aged and sometimes it happens that your mother is forced to go the village chama (table banking group) to ask for a loan to help you pay the rent!
“This kills any possibility of joy but again you realize that am a believer and my joy is established in a much deeper understanding of who Christ is and my eternity in Him, not circumstantial in nature but I rejoice in the Lord, even when my situations says otherwise.”
If there is anything am glad I have, is the Joy of the Lord. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and the Lord said, you have done good, Whatsoever you receive, it shall not be taken from you…that’s my joy that despite the tempest, His Joy is my strength.
Many ask why I insist on this Lord, why He is not coming fourth to my aid if am truly His child, some are questioning what I did or didn’t do to God, that I need to repent and seek the Lord afresh, some are thinking that I did something unlikely to the old folks and I should go back and get their blessings. Many opinionated ideas have come up but amazingly, my strength is in the Lord, my everlasting portion. I love Him and I have no doubt, of a better tomorrow. All I know is that the deeper you get as far as faith testing is concerned, the higher the manifestation of God’s glory and yes, this momentary suffering cannot compare to the glory that is to come!
In a conclusion, steph says “I may not know how best to deal with this downhill of life…but I covet prayers, I am an ardent believer of heartfelt, fervent prayer availing much.”so help me find strength in God like Jonathan helped David.