……the way of man is not in himself…….
I had tucked the children in for the night and I sat with Mike to chat a little bit. Thirty minutes now and I could see him trying really hard to stay awake and listen to me chatter. Five minutes tops and I knew he would be totally out. This didn’t bother me in the least, in fact, I’m a bit surprised he’d managed to stay up this long. He has had a full day today. He was working tirelessly on his new project at work and I knew Wednesday’s were also the meeting days for the evangelism team at church. And he hated to miss a meeting. Kirk was so passionate about the kingdom business. Watching him lying so peacefully in sleep on the sofa, I couldn’t bring myself to wake him up to go to bed. The sofa was comfortable enough; maybe in the middle of the night when he woke up, he would find his way to the bedroom. So I just covered him up with a blanket, gave him a kiss on his head and headed to the room. I checked in on the children one more time and made my way slowly to the room. I didn’t have anything left on my to-do list and I would end up reading myself to sleep. I realized I was humming. I tend to do that a lot these days, so contrary to some six, seven years ago when I was so angry and bitter. Now, I count my blessings and know my life is nothing short of a miracle.
Before, when I didn’t think much about miracles and grace; when I didn’t count all these blessings [God, my own family & good friends], I was a lost child.
An average kid born into a family of geniuses. It was so easy to be forgotten [everyone else was wrapped up in their own problems], dismissed; easy to have self-confidence issues and struggle to meet standards that my siblings seemed to set without much effort. Of course it wasn’t all bad, there were perks too. I got free extra tuition and I didn’t have a single strike or a low score on my assignments. I simply wore my siblings out until they helped me with them. Don’t get me wrong, I was no slacker I just didn’t measure up to my siblings. But like I said, I was lost. I changed my mind so many times about the career path to take. I didn’t know it then, but I so badly wanted to get the approval of my family about every decision I made. Looking back now, I suppose they never noticed or guessed my inadequacies, insecurities and self-confence issues; I hid it well. I also didn’t have the maturity of mind I have today, so I held it against them.
After high school, I didn’t make good grades to be admitted in my choice college for the course I had finally settled on. I prayed a lot in those times though I wasn’t much of a religious person then. God had to do something, anything; everything couldn’t be on just me. Out of nowhere, I got admitted to read a course I never opted for and I jumped at the offer. All the way through college I prayed & hoped for a job after school cos I sincerely wasn’t sure my course could land me any meaningful of job.
It was during this time that I met Daniel.The most wonderful friend anybody can have. A perpetually happy person who rubbed off on those around him and a much better Christian than myself. He was a very supportive friend. Daniel knew how I felt about my family and about almost everything. We stuck together through the changing scenes of life. He was like the brother I always wanted. I always thought that our friendship was skewed – cos he was always helping me out in one way or another- although Daniel insisted it was just right. After college, our bond was stronger than it was and we kept in touch. Daniel was a healthy and active person so the news hit me hard when he was diagnosed with cancer. Where was God? This young man was one of His gallant ambassadors. It felt so wrong that such a thing would happen to someone like him. Of course he kept believing until he reached the end of his “race”.
I kept really close after his diagnosis. I started going for fellowship meetings with him. He had invited me many times and I went sparely. I figured I didn’t have the many years that I envisioned so I took any time I got, even if it was just sitting by him throughout service. I prayed so hard those days. God had to come through for him, if not for me. Fellowship meeting had an impact on me. I started hoping after hearing some seemingly hopeless cases that God made possible. Daniel seemed more courageous than I was right to the very end. After his passing I become a very angry, sad and angry (again) person. I sat blindly through the burial service. Mike, one of Daniel friends I had met during one of my visits to church before he fell ill came up to offer his condolences after the ceremony. I could barely hear what he said. He took it upon himself to check up on me once in a while, maybe because I looked so shattered after Daniel’s passing. Whatever his reason was, he started annoying me. I was too angry and not ready to let it go.
One Sunday morning I simply drove up to church, I don’t know what inspired me, but I sat through the service. The minister talked about how God’s plan for our lives was to bring us to an expected end and I couldn’t help wonder whether Daniel life was an example of the expected end the minister was referring to. I later found a scripture about how God’s ways were not like ours and about how His thoughts were higher than ours. I started praying again, it was more of throwing questions at God and ranting. Somehow He seem to pay attention to me because I didn’t know how the minister always preach about something I had asked God. Gradually, I was learning.
Mike never gave up on checking on me and very slowly we became friends. He helped me pray through my anger and frustrations. It was a hard thing. It wasn’t particularly rosy and easy letting go of many years of misplaced anger, unforgiveness and bitterness against my family. I wasn’t pleasant when God showed me how wrong i was and the many loopholes in my life. I allowed Him to hammer out all the pride and arrogance and other vices out of me.
Five years down the line, I married Mike and I know with a certainty that he is God’s gift to me. Looking back now, I realize that I forged many virtues during those trying moments; I remember Daniel with fond memories and I acknowledge how he was God instrument to touch my life and how events unfolding led me straight to where I am today, so I simply live everyday surrendered to the one who holds tomorrow.
Many times we reach places in our lives that are dark and bleak. And we wonder why and what we are doing there. We get to a point where sadness, gloominess, hurt and regret steal so much from our lives, the ‘if onlys’ are so many, we miss the joy in today. In these times and moments, let us remind ourselves that every road, no matter what, will lead us to exactly where we are supposed to be in life. Let us take our mistakes and repent, forgive ourselves and learn from them, take our hurts and trust them, hold our heads high and be in the remembrance that “I will be exactly where I ought to be in the end”
I’m not saying that we should make deliberate blunders or that we would not reap the consequences of our past and present decisions, cos we definitely will. I’m saying that as we feel the friction of the outcomes of our decisions, we should remember that we will come out with finer/ smoother edges. Though the roads may be hard, we should not be so consumed with regret, disappointment and defeat that we fail to see the Calvary before us. On the lonely road of hurt, loss and pain remember there is a purpose and trust in God.
Not every road is good and easy; some are hard and dreary. Choose wisely but if you happen to have chosen the wrong one …….take solace that there is hope. Remember, “I’m exactly where I need to be now in order to be where I need to be in future. That is not saying, every stand is right [we have to ran, walk even crawl, if we must, out of wrong places.]
All things work together to the good of them that love the Lord, to them that are the called according to His purpose.