Have you ever took a jog along or stroll through say, MacRitchie reservoir park or Bukit Timah nature reserve? Walks like these usually begins with high spirits and the euphoric hype that “Hey, I’m actually taking this long stroll!” We start off on a high because we could see ourselves setting foot on the finishing line. It’s an accomplishment and it’s gonna be great.
Sometimes however, along the way the paths get narrower, steeper, darker, higher (more uphills), grimmer and, filled with potholes. All of a sudden, the euphoria dies down, pandemonium steps in, the excitement of the moment is gone, the high spirits mellowed into a sour one. Some might even wish they never embarked on that journey altogether. We hope for an easy way out, a shortcut or fast exit out of our circumstance. We tire out, tripped a couple of times, fall to the ground yet hoping somehow it will all end in an instance.
I likened this to that of the ‘Christian walk’, a term so commonly used and ‘defined’ as a set of rules and steps to living the Christian life or the life ‘God has called you to live’.
As a Christian of eight years [now], I believe that God has allowed me to see much, experience much, and sometimes those experiences may not be all that pleasant.
As a believer, for a huge part of my Christian walk I believe in the purpose and the plans [or Callings] that God has for my life. I believed I could not be shaken [in my convictions]. I truly believed that I was [called] to be blessed. If I pray, if I fast, if I gave, if I do this, if I did that, somehow everything will work out, I mean I seek God [for my portion] diligently and He said I will find it right (Mt 7:7)?
That can be further from the truth. Two years have passed, and God has led me through interesting experiences. He led me straight into valleys after valleys.
Some call it the ‘Crisis of faith’, where doubts and fears catches up to our faith, threatening to shipwreck it. First of all, through the valley experiences I’ve come to terms that I am only human (Ps 103:14-16). There were instances that I want to just quit, to end it all, to blame God. That lesson taught me that nothing is certain. We can’t say for sure that “God I will never leave or forsake you!” [Only God says that!]. Rather, we say, “God I cannot guarantee that I will never forsake You, but during times where the rubber meets the road, let me find the courage to come to You, let me find the courage to never forsake You.”
Next, sometimes we subconsciously subscribe to the belief that we have God all ‘figured out’, that we limit God to a box. If I pray and fast, I will get this end product. If I believe and speak, everything will happen as I’ve believed because God will ‘hear all my prayers’. We subconsciously limit God to a set of practices that guarantees 100% success, But God is beyond sets and patterns, measures and success formulas. Once again borrowing from C. S. Lewis’ quote, ‘He is wild but He is good’. Praying is good, fasting is good, giving [of time and finances to Kingdom cause] is also good. All is good, but the anchor of our faith is not based on any of those! Because God isn’t either! Jesus chose Mary over Martha because it is not our act[s] that qualifies and accepts us into the Beloved but our ability to just sit by His feet, and enter into His rest. To enjoy His Presence, that counts for volumes in eternity than all our works combined together.
Sometimes, we just need to breathe in God, into our soul.
And from there, you got to understand that God may work differently from how you have planned for Him to; He is wild, remember? But He is good. He has other plans. And sometimes, those plans may require Him to step aside and watch you pick yourself up from the fall. It hurts Him just as much as it hurts you. And during those moments, that’s the tough part for us to understand; in our natural minds. Sometimes, to be blessed, it comes in forms very different from how we imagined it to be; some to remind us and some to mold us right, some to teach us a lesson and some to straighten our backs.
To breathe in God is to infuse Him into your inner self, to invite the Chief Peace and Rest into your soul. And those moments don’t always come from just praying and fasting alone. It could come from an image that reminds of Him (see Of Lights And Skylines), while jogging on busy streets, while painting on a canvas, while dancing to a routine, etc. Because He created all things, He exists out of an activity, yet He could be found in all activities.
Today, i still believe that I am [called to be] blessed. But I also accept and give God full control and maneuverability in how He does so. Coming to that stage in our faith, I believe that is when our faith has been refined, having arrived at a purer level, more so than before because the initial excitement [of being a believer] has evaporated away. It’s no longer “God, I can do this for You!” or “God I will live [or die] for You!”. It’s not that I am no longer excited [for the things of God], no not at all. I guess that is what it means to mature in love, to simply come before God and say, “God, I just.. want to love You.” What’s left is an old soul, well acquainted with the Creator like that of decade-old friends.
And so, continuing from where we left off about the story of the walk, we fall from the walk and the hike, hoping that someone [like God] will pick us up and tell us everything is going to be alright. But when no one does, what we need to do is simply to get back up on our own two feet, lift our bruised left heel up, plunge it down in front, lift the bruised right heel up, plunge that down in front too, and walk. The Christian walk is a walk after all.
I know that the walk is going to be tough, our calling may be entirely different from what we’d expect, but I also know that as long as I’m within His plans, I am good. God is at the end of the journey together with the Saints, cheering me on. I will make it, I will step across the line, embrace Him and hear His whispering “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into My joy.”
This is what the walk is all about, this is what our walk is all about.
May the same Hands that move the hands of time, move and have Your way in me. Soli Deo Gloria.