Leah: A Divinely favoured Woman

‘God loves the unloved’

Has anyone ever thought about Jacob’s first wife Leah? And would you ever imagine being in her situation? When I was growing up; I learnt about the love of story of Jacob and Rachel, while Leah was portrayed as a villain. From the beginning, scripture is intentional on how Rachel and Jacob met. This is realized in Genesis 29:10 “When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep”. Scripture further differentiates the level of beauty between the sisters described in Genesis 29:16-17 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. As we all know; when it comes marriage, though Jacob’s initial agreement was for Rachel. A deceptive pattern plays out in his life once again. Just as he deceived his father into getting Esau’s inheritance, his uncle tricks him into marrying his first daughter. By the time it’s dawn, it’s too late he has consummated the marriage with Leah and so he makes another agreement. Seven more years in exchange for Rachel hand. They say When a man truly loves a woman, he will do the impossible.

At this point, a serious rivalry between two sister manifests. Am certain Leah knowing her physical beauty was no match to her small sister’s…Her esteem must have been very low that when her father suggested that she takes her sister place she must have readily agreed. To grow up in household where people only see the beauty of one sister and not the other can be discouraging to the confidence of any little girl. Based on my own experience when we were growing up (my sister and I). There was a lot of comparison on our physical beauty. I was ‘labelled’ as a lesser beauty more of a “plain girl” while she received all the admiration on her beauty. Strangers and even family members would readily compliment my father on how his youngest daughter was Jaber. Now, imagine two young girls standing side by side. But only one receives compliments on her beauty while the other is left with questions in her mind such as what about me? Psychologically it affected my confidence level however, later in life I made peace with it as this was a chapter in my life that prepared me of what was to come. That though my sister’s beauty surpassed mine, God in His wisdom showed me that we were gifted differently. That our strengths were unmatched, and our attributes is what defined beauty. It was settled in my heart and after that my confidence was renewed. Well now they say I have bloomed pfft!!!

Looking back at Leah being eldest and growing up in the shadow of her younger sister’s beauty, could have reduced her to settle for anything without much thought of the consequences. Including her father’s devious plot which ruined his daughters’ happiness. I believe God ordained it for his divine plan, a household of two sister wives. Sharing a man whose heart and desire belongs to the youngest wife. Leah ‘trapped’ by customs and traditions which she had to obey. My assumption according to the story is that it was a tough marriage founded on duty and responsibility. There was no love, no desire and no affection Am sure they had sleeping arrangements and Jacob obliged out of duty, but his heart remained in Rachel’s tent. As a married woman, the worst thing that can ever happen to you is to know that though he is my husband I do not have his heart.

Nevertheless, this story is incredible because it depicts the nature of our loving Father, who is fair and just and just like that He balances the equation. Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. He opened Leah’s womb but shut Rachel’s, she had the love of Jacob while Leah had her children. You also learn a lot on how these handmade women of God named their children. Leah’s first to third born expresses an attempt to connect to Jacob. However, we see she gives up at her fourth child Genesis 29:35 “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So, she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.” She was tired of fighting or wanting to be noticed. It dawns on her that she could not wins Jacob’s heart no matter the number of children or even if they were male. His heart was not hers so, at the birth of Judah she returns praise to the Maker of all things and let’s go of the competition. Rachel has won!!! That is what we all think until her conversation with Jacob and you realize she was bitter in her heart, very angry and envious of her sister. Yet Jacob was hers, he loved her despite being childless. Leah seems never to capture her husband heart. In-fact, later God remembers Rachel and we see Jacob love for Joseph and Benjamin is an extension of her love for Rachel. The tribe of Judah from the womb of Leah unloved and not desired, births the ruler’s lineage. On which a divine kingdom is established, Leah was divinely blessed. A God who establishes a throne on someone Scripture describes of no beauty or attraction, that nothing in her appearance would make Jacob desire her. A genealogy establishing an everlasting royal kingdom, it was from Leah and Jacob. God loved Leah, His divine favour upon her though she was rejected by ‘carnal man’. He bestows on her an ultimate honour of birthing a royal and priestly tribe of Israel, a personification found in Christ hated and rejected.

The scepter will not depart from Judah,nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch. he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

Genesis 49:10-12

Rachel: a barren womb and a cold Heart

“There are four keys of which God has his hand, he entrusts neither with the angel nor seraphim; the clouds, the heart, the grave and the womb.”      

We rarely take note of how patterns of spiritual warfare can affect the lineage of a family tree. Many are the times we assume that since it affected a past family member then its normal when it occurs again. In this case, we learn a pattern trickling down Abraham’s genealogy. Third generation of infertility catches up with Jacob’s second wife who was Rachel. The first precedent is observed when Abraham and Sarah struggle for years to have a child. Despite his wife’s doubt, God who is gracious fulfils His affirmed vow to His faithful servant. At the appointed time, the promise manifested, and they had their son Isaac in old age. However, at some point before the birth of Isaac. Sarah weary of waiting, exercises her own ‘wisdom’ based on a sceptic heart. She tries to help God in speeding up the process. Hence, offering Abraham her servant Hagar. Genesis 16:1-2 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” At the end it is clear that man-made plans are never concrete as the results are birthed from a short-sighted perspective.  Ishmael is born, his existence later breeds rivalry between the two women. The next couple we see to battle the same fate are Rebecca and Isaac. Genesis 25:21 “Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. Jacob and Esau came after twenty years of waiting.

Later in line we meet a memorable love story between Rachel and Jacob. This story is unique because the element of true love is displayed leaving no doubt. Genesis 29:20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Nonetheless, the plot takes an interesting twist; whereas after time had elapsed and Jacob went ahead to lay claim on his prospective wife. Just like he deceived his father in giving him Esau’s blessings, his father in law duped him and handed over Leah instead. Realizing that there is no way out, he willingly agreed to work for another 7 years in exchange for Rachels hand. The depth of Jacob’s love for Rachel is undeniably deeper and beyond human explanation. The bible further describes it as the love that grew greater after he made her his wife.

However, despite her outer beauty which ‘alludes to the shining of her countenance’. Rachel’s inner beauty comes into question when she faced with the struggle of infertility. She knows she is in position of power unlike her sister Leah she has Jacob’s heart. Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Even though Leah could bear children, her marriage to Jacob was loveless. Roots of bitterness, strife and envy is buried inside Rachel’s heart which is directed towards her unloved sister. Her attitude seems perplexing, she has Jacobs heart and all the toiling Jacob is doing is because of her. While her sister on the other hand has nothing other than her children. Personally, this is a situation that would break any woman’s heart. To know for a fact that the father of your children has no affection towards you. Worst of all, is that he prefers another woman and, in this case, your own sister over you. It is the kind of rejection that bleeds one’s heart dry. God who is JUST sees all this and blesses Leah so that it can all balance. But Rachel’s mindset prevents her from having a happy life, she is desperate to be satisfied with becoming a mother. Jealousy and rivalry are bred between the sisters, this competition comes out evident through the naming of their children.

From a human perspective with all our fleshly desires, apart of me understand Rachel predicament. However, with more spiritual insight and wisdom allow me to say that Rachel was short-sighted, ungrateful and driven by human ambition of wanting all the glory. She lacked compassion; it was either all or nothing. My understanding is that both ladies had no option as they were bound by customs and tradition. Their father Laban had the power to exercise who gets married first, plus nowhere do we see any indication of Leah wanting Jacob. I doubt Leah or Rachel could overrule their father.

One thing stands out; Jealousy where an absence of contentment cripples the soul. Lack of satisfaction on Rachel’s part eventually mirrors the same pattern of conversation between Jacob’s grandparents Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 16:1-2). Genesis 30:1-3 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” 2 Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 3 Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.” She was not just content with Jacob’s heart alone, she wanted desperately to rival her sister. This is revealed more on how she named the children of Jacob and her maid Bilhah. One can deduce that she was after her sister more than her husband. She painted a picture of how you can surpass me after all this… It’s a competition and I must win. From Rachel you realize physical beauty in nothing without a pure heart to accompany it. She never even loved her sister’s children. she was more concerned with what she lacked; her judgement clouded what she already had. Her spotlight was hers and hers alone. Instead she offers her maid so she can have her ‘own’ children. Eventually God remembers her, and she gives birth to her first son Joseph. But still, she lacks gratitude even before God who has been merciful to bless her. She instead names her son not with praise but with an entitled spirit ‘God will add her’. That was her expectation that God will fill her quiver with more arrows … Given her time of wait her first instinct should have been to dedicate her son to God but even at the point of delivery she still yearned to surpass her sister. We later see childbirth kills her at the birth of her second son Benjamin. I believe her approach towards her cup was half empty. Such a heart can never give thanks and praise to God. They are filled with pride for their reputation. The motive behind them asking for a blessing is to gloat towards others. They can have a whole world at their feet but will still be envious of the little their neighbour has. They have a spirit willing to die yet have what will glorify their reputation. Her physical beauty did not match her heart, which matters most.

When I look at Rachel am reminded of Hannah’s attitude while waiting. I see two ladies in similar situations however one with spiritual insights while the other is walking in flesh. The story of Leah verses Rachel is divinely ordained by a God who is most wise, holy and just. Eventually He brings out the good out of the evil. It is good to note that many of us strive for what we think will awe us just like Rachel’s heart. Thus, missed opportunity to rest in the contentment; misplaced worship hoping to find peace.

 

“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back; lengthen your cords,strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Isaiah 54:1-3

 

“We knew God before you”

“The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” ‘Charles Hodge

 

“You can’t know God more than us, we were saved before you, we experienced his miracles before you and we were then like you now.” Worst of all …”you cannot each us about God because we have been where you are, and you will find yourself where we are now”. I can attest that I heard the above statements countless times over the past years. At some point, it seemed as though knowing God and having a relationship with Him was a contest. Consequently, salvation was more of a sprint and the angels kept scores. There is nothing as worse as diming a ‘lesser person’s’ walk of faith and as a result this made me shy from testifying my experiences. Caught up in my feelings, one time a revelation came to me; the road to intimacy with Christ our Lord Jesus is an individual’s journey. Hence, to those that are called, chosen and believe in Him, he is a personal saviour. Thus, He stamps on it by telling Peter and the rest in Luke 18:29-30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” I therefore believe that salvation is an intimate affair. Christ Jesus says “Come, Follow me.” To each of us, we have different trials, various needs, several difficulties and numerous struggles. Nonetheless, collectively we all meet at the cross. If salvation was based on who came first and so who is the greatest in the kingdom of God, then Grace and love would never apply. A child can be chosen by God as an instrument of choice for His purpose and not the parent who instructed him/her on the ways of the Lord. A congregant can display more faith than the preacher who stands on the pulpit every Sunday preaching to the congregation about the very same God. The scripture talks about Christians being like children. Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. They are simplehearted and helpless. They trust their fathers for all the answers. So, whether you are a grown up or child, the kingdom of God has nothing to do with I knew Him first, thus I know Him better. I believe as it is in the scripture’s salvation is a gift Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Everything that I have come to be or to possess is not because I was/still a ‘good Christian girl’; who exercised the fundamentals and the doctrines bestowed upon her ever since she was young. It had nothing with teachings of Christian formula that justified the means/end or equated to God’s blessings. Everything that I had before, today and in future, is attributed to the Faith I possess under the covenant of Grace. God’s work with in us is different; hence, our unique giftings which results from the fruits we bear. When the Holy spirit is at work the question is in do you believe Him and are you serving Him? Its never about who is the Greatest in His kingdom. David reminds us to testify of God’s goodness in Psalm 71:15-24 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honour and comfort me once more. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you I whom you have delivered. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion. Paul further reminds us that if we are to boast about our salvation then Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

So, to whoever believes that they know God better than others and that they have walked in the very same journey as others. Then, their faith dwindled and so will the rest of us. That’s okay. I am not at liberty to change minds or convince anyone, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. I on the other hand will live a life exempted in Christ alone, I will testify and talk of his faithfulness.

The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.

Psalm 116:6

Kari Jobe – Forever

Kari Jobe – Forever

If there are words for Him then I don’t have them.

See my brain has not yet reached the point where it could form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God.

And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to release a breath with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of His Love.

And my voice, see my voice is so inhibited , restrained by human limits that it’s hard to even sing the praise up, you see, if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

My God, His Grace is remarkable, mercies are innumerable, strength is impenetrable, He is honorable, accountable, favorable.

He’s unsearchable yet knowable, indefinable, yet approachable, indescribable, yet personal

He is beyond comprehension, further than imagination, constant through generations, King of every nation, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them

You see my words are few to try and capture the ONE TRUE GOD, using my vocabulary will never do, but I use words as an expression, an expression of worship to a Savior, a Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so I use words.

My heart extols the Lord, blesses His Name forever. He has won my heart, captured my mind, and has bound them both together. He has defeated me in my rebellion, conquered me in my sin, He has welcomed me into His presence, completely invited me in. He has made Himself the object of my sight, flooding me with mercies in the morning, drowning me with Grace in the night, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

But what I do have is GOOD NEWS, for my God knew that manmade words would never do, for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth.

So He sent His Son Jesus Christ as THE WORD, LIVING PROOF, He is THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, THE FIRST BORN OF ALL CREATION, FOR BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED, GIVING NOTHINGNESS, FORMATION.

AND BY HIS WORD HE SUSTAINS IN THE POWER OF HIS NAME. FOR HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS AND ABOVE ALL THINGS HE REIGNS. HOLY IS HIS NAME!

SO PRAISE HIM FOR HIS LIFE! THE WAY HE PERSERVERED IN STRIFE. THE HUMBLE SON OF GOD BECOMING THE PERFECT SACRIFICE.

PRAISE HIM FOR HIS DEATH! THAT HE WILLINGLY STOOD IN OUR PLACE THAT HE LOVINGLY ENDURED THE GRAVE THAT HE BATTLED OUR ENEMY, AND ON THE THIRD DAY ROSE IN VICTORY.

HE IS EVEYTHING THAT WAS PROMISED.

PRAISE HIM AS THE RISEN KING.

LIFT YOUR VOICE AND SING, FOR ONE DAY HE WILL RETURN FOR US, AND WE WILL FINALLY BE UNITED WITH OUR SAVIOR FOR ENTERNITY! ETERNITY!

SO IT IS NOT JUST WORDS THAT I PROCLAIM, FOR MY WORDS POINT TO THE WORD, AND THE WORD HAS A NAME, HOPE HAS A NAME, JOY HAS A NAME, PEACE HAS A NAME, LOVE HAS A NAME, AND THAT NAME IS JESUS CHRIST!

PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVER!!!!!!!!” 

HIS SOVEREIGNTY IS BeyoND tHE gravE

To the lady who is grief-stricken,

‘The suffering of the Christian or anyone else in this world is never ultimately an accident. All suffering is within the pale of divine sovereignty. All suffering comes within the broader context of the sovereignty of God’ R.C. Sproul

The other day I spotted your story and I could not help but empathize from a standpoint of similarity. There is nothing as difficult as witnessing your ray of hope turn into a dark cloud. I can also imagine amidst all that grief while coming to terms with your difficult circumstance. Majority of your followers reached out with a message of an ALL-knowing God, whom you could depend on. Through your reply, I did understand where your emotions and state of mind was/is at the given time. I just want you to know that through it ALL, the love God is beyond measure. I can attest to this based on my own experiences and out of it all I stand to testify of His Glory shinning through the darkest hour. While this is not to lessen your pain, rather to assure you that HE is still God even in our most difficult, heart wrenching circumstances. When your heart is breaking into tiny pieces from the very thing that was once a breath of hope, only to be dead in your hands. I would like you to know that there was once a man who called out life in what was already DEAD, His name is Jesus Christ. We serve a God who does not need man’s approval neither does He thrive in proving Himself in our tough situations only. I pray that you find it in your heart to know that COME WHAT MAY OUR GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! His sovereignty is absolute, and He stands to be exalted even in death. I pray that in this difficult time, seek refuge under He who has sent that storm your way and he will steer the vessel. Don’t let your wounded spirit confuse Him as the gardener at the graveyard John20:11-18. This is the time to seek Him diligently, For He breathes life into wombs that were once pronounced unfruitful by man. He raised the dead after 4 days, the giver of life and the only one with the right to take it. Stand by His word like Job, have faith in Him like Abraham. Even after many years of waiting, God delivered the promise and still tested his faith with the very same gift. And if all fails, remember God the Father sacrificed His own son for us. He led him literally like a lamb into a slaughterhouse for our sake. That’s a God who’s love for us is unconditional. My beautiful sister, our faith must be tested and when God tests His children, He touches the very core of what we deem of value and even worth our worship. Therefore, if you are in His reverence in spirit and truth even with nothing but bare hands. Glory belongs to Him alone.  That’s how our faith as believers is moulded in Him, under the fiery furnace of life. He is building a ministry and perfecting the image of Christ in us. ‘A faithful servant’ is being raised out of you and for that to happen you can only contend for your faith in a gymnasium of obscurity. It is tough love however, a love that sustains even in our weakest moment. His Grace is enough!!  Remember the sad story of Horatio Spafford who composed the hymn IT IS WELL. You are a stricken vessel allow God to rebuild the ruins of what life has brought at your doorstep. Our heavenly father who is ever so caring is looking for worshippers who profess lifestyle faith and not situational belief. You are blessed, you are loved. You are important to His kingdom and that’s why this burden has been bestowed upon you. You are a testament in the making, a witness like Mary Magdalene. Don’t quit on Him at the graveyard just turn around. He is there amid all that grief.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

 

A.Begg once said, ‘the notion of the sovereignty of God is able to evoke in the mind of man either humility or rebellion.’ OUR LORD JESUS AND SAVIOR we surrender ourselves to your truth instead of focusing on the trial. Even though our faith is shaken, and our dreams are shattered. We dig up every poisonous root of bitterness that may our difficult circumstances never alter your sovereignty in our lives. That though we make plans, we plead that your purpose may prevail. Determine our steps Oh Lord and to our unanswered questions. Christ Jesus replies that even though we don’t understand now … Someday we will. Grant us your perspective Lord, you are our Rock of confidence and a comforter to those of us who find rest in Christ. We elevate your name for you are our hope and our trust is in you.

 

Yours sincerely,

fellow sister.

thE caLL tO ObEDIEnce

Featured Image -- 217

Have you heard the saying that ‘God does not speak to be heard but to be obeyed’? Let me give you a little background.

Matthew Henry: “Love is the root; obedience is the fruit.”

Now, I come from a place where traditional authoritarian regime is the order of the day. This is where a child will always be a child despite your age. He or she should be seen and not heard. A child’s opinion is null and void 99.9%, the 00.1% is for Yes and No questions. The authoritarian figure at the given time is never wrong (I have grown up to learn that we are all human, some skills do not come with manual rather owning up to our misjudgement does not make us weak and that man is to error). As a result, we grow up hating authority. This is because at the end of the day, what was the use of being subject to it when your voice is stifled. What was the use when judgement has already been tailored beforehand. Eventually we yielded to the rules not because our spirits were wiling but because the consequences of not abiding to the last letter were very dire. Our actions may have obeyed but our spirit was never in the rules, it was rebellious all through. Being a follower of Christ I have come to learn that submission lies in the heart, and because our actions are contrary to the spirit within us. Eventually, what is within begins to manifest in the outward and our actions start betraying us. So, when we grow up we separate from the authority and charter our own paths. What we don’t know is whatever was instilled into us during the tight fist regime always come back to haunt us. Because no matter how far we run or where we hide we are never too free.

So, I spent my years planning to run and hide far away from any kind of authority. These include anything where I would be subjective to anyone as I felt like any kind of authority over me would be oppression and slavery. I wanted to be free, as my aunt would describe like a chicken which walks out of its chicken coop in the morning and comes back in the evening. Don’t get me wrong I was not planning to do anything illegal or ill-mannered, I just felt rather oppressed by the system. Adhering to orders has never been a problem to me, it’s a robotic move that I mastered to survive. People love that robotic side that takes commands to the latter and executes them as said. But it was not until I encountered God that He stripped off this survival mode side of me. God did not want to deal with my robotic side just observing his commands and feeling obligated to follow them. For this meant that there was no relationship instituted but Master -Servant relationship. John 15:14-16 You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

My heart had to yearn for its saviour, an open heart ready to receive from him. A heart cannot submit to authority when it does not desire to please its Ruler. When it comes to pleasing God the body and the heart must be in tune. So, when He speaks, and we obey the heart is already in motion eager to please its creator and not just masquerading in our actions. It was through Jacobs story that God showed me my fear of being under authority. Because the models of what I considered to be authority distorted the idea I had of what authority was supposed to be over me thus leaving me hard hearted. I remember this contributed a lot in my view of marriage, therefore, I was never in a hurry to tie the knot as I was Luke warm about a man being an authority figure over a woman.  But God was hot on my trails, He wanted to change my heart in authority and that obedience in him and those he sends to fulfil his purpose through us was different. That He was willing to listen to my voice when I call, and for him to make a move I had to submit and obey his instructions WHOLEHEARTEDLY. A day came two years ago, when God pushed me to a place where man describes between a rock and a hard place. I turned to that Rock of all ages, in that bathroom floor, I fell and surrendered to a point where my heart yielded to its creator who was in pursuit of me. I was in turmoil. I was losing the battle, my only hope and way out according to me and my own plans. God wanted me there, in that home, in that very work place in that very circumstance. Where He would manifest and show Himself to me. That everything that happened all through was to push me to that Rock where I fell and surrendered all to him. No more robotic life but an intentional heart ready to be used by Him. After that is when God answered me and I penned it down gRaCe AbOuNdS .

I used to have many questions about my life though some are not yet answered. God sometimes in his Grace and Mercy points out to me how if this did not happen then you would not appreciate my hand on this or that in your life. For I believe God in His wisdom and predestination of those chosen, makes sure that all that happens to us is for His Glory.  Genesis 32:22-32 We see God in pursuit of the true Jacob. A God who provokes calamities in our lives for the sake of revealing our sincerity in Him. The misfortunes thrown in our paths have a way of forcing us to contend with our true feelings and the reality of our faith. Many are the times we go to God, but our hearts are in other things and therefore we miss out on God’s desire to lift us from our misery. Because our destiny lies in surrendering our control to God and submitting under His authority. I love Jacobs story because when God meets us at our lowest and most vulnerable situation our identity is revealed, we cannot hide, for the heart knows the Master. D.L. Moody says that there will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.  There is beauty in obeying God. Just like the call of Moses everything pointed towards his anointing and commission in leading out the Israelites from Egypt.

“My sheep listen to my voice: I know them, and they follow me.” – Jesus Christ the Good shepherd and His Sheep

TruST hIM tO DELIveR

Romans 4.17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”  He is our father in the sight of God in whom he believed –the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

God wants to be trusted with the big things, not just the small stuff… and this means things that shape our destiny. They include where we choose to work and not just asking God to help you pass the interview, or does he want you in that companyto begin with. The number of children we choose to have (yes… to those who are busy looking at their pockets and what they can afford.) Children are gift from God. The friendships we choose. The spouses we choose (This is key and it all started from the Garden of Eden). Where we choose to settle, it can be a foreign land or even somewhere within the parts of your own country. In otherwords life altering decision that will guide or change the course of your journey.

I remember one time someone close to me told me not to limit God but rather, consult him over the big and not just small things or ideas. This was around the time I wanted to make the big move from our home into a bedsitter. I remember that I was trusting God to give me at least provisions for this passage and then maybe I can furnish it as well slowly. I did not want a big house, just a small one tailored enough for my budget then I would be okay and fulfilled. At the time I did not realise it, but I limited God to my salary. In addition to the financial needs that needed my attention, I then decided for myself and God that I was suitable for a bedsitter. Don’t get me wrong bedsitter is a good start for anyone transitioning from home to a new job. But the thing was I had many financial commitments and moving out of home would stretch me too thin. At the same time, I wanted to go back to school soon, so I needed to save for this project. I remember trying scholarships, but it did not work so I resided to my fate. One time it had been my prayer to God that I may go to New York university I don’t know why I guess my love for America and the chance to leave in the big apple was then attached to it. But since my budget could never accommodate all that I settled for USIU-kenya. I even did my research got the applications form and started saving for my fees. Then I looked for a roommate to share a house with so that I did not have to pay for the whole house by myself that way am stretched thin enough to manage day by day… Am ashamed to admit that all these were my plans and I was fixing God in them by asking him to make it possibl. Bearing in mind that I was not yet confirmed in my then job and until the very last month of my stay God shut all doors for my confirmation. It was until I was writing my resignation letter and my boss was writing my recommendation letter that I got the offer on the table. Direct offer after serving them 3 years, isn’t the devil a liar! I never accepted it, story for another day.

‘Why do you limit God? Ask God for the big things and Trust Him to deliver.’ It got me thinking of how I used to ask God for little simple things that would push me through to the next. So, I set to change my approach and prayer. I had major plans and big dreams (still do) with a limited resource, when I say limited resources what I mean is that it was close to non-existence. Just as in Jeremiah 33 he promises to restore revealing His merciful and kind nature.  He says (3) Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know… and for all the good thing he will do (Jews) they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it. I remember reading and mediating on Joel 2:13-14 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

When your life stretches you too thin and someone tells you to seek God and wait on him patiently for an answer. Depending on your faith, sometimes you might wonder of His existence. Considering that maybe you have spent years or months praying away your situations and circumstances. For example, I wanted to be confirmed in my work place at the time. Yet, God had shut all the door so that I could put my focus solely on Him and only then would He make a big move by uprooting me from the said organisation and leading me to greener pastures. But I was holding on, waiting and praying for a confirmation. According to me, having the job was the ticket I needed to sort everything in my life. Nonetheless, God had bigger plans for me. Taking into consideration that everyone around you is getting blessed in different areas of their lives but somehow you are stuck in these mud that you can’t seem to pull away from. We all have situations that we want God to work on and bondages that we need to be set free from. God is whispering that you can trust him. But how? When all odds are against you. Well! Am here to tell you that despite those years that seemed like he did not answer, despite your very present conditions. Joel 2:25-27 he promises “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed”. God the ever-present help in time of need, is closer than you think.  Christ tells us in John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. Speak life into it, believe it, claim it, pray over it and above all give room for God to do his perfect will. Trust God with your plans, He knows the best course of our life. Have Faith in Him, rest your confidence in our Lord Jesus. He is life. God does not need your help or your wisdom to bless, favour or even restore your life. He is the expert, the creator of heaven and earth, animals and you as man or woman. So, who are we to tell him what is best for us. If I trusted my wisdom I would not be where I am now. I would be stuck in a job I hated and an organisation that was meant to test my confidence in Him. Struggling to maybe go to school in the evening. My life would be miserable… am grateful I exchanged my plans for His plans for me. Because plans built on the very word of God, He says I will bless you with a future filled with hope, a future of success, not of suffering. A.W. Tozer says that God bless us not because we are good but because He is good. He also adds something profound True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof that the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God has said it. Praise Jesus, He is a Good God and His character is revealed to us through the faith that we possess in him! Mark 11:24 therefore I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it and it will be yours. His every word is true. Now note that not all our dreams and plans are not answered as we want but we trust and serve a radical God… through Christ who appeals our cases, our situations and circumstances are overturned. A God of impossibilities. The Word Hebrews 11:6 say that it is only through faith that we can please God. Let me end by saying, have Faith in God!

Jesus said to the woman “Your Faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman