Being Monday and the start of the week, I find it appropriate to speak about the place of faith in my journey with illness and as well as conclude this story.
Faith is defined as complete trust in something or someone. Religiously, faith is deep conviction and trust in God with or without proof. Its trusting that someone has your back even when its the back thats receiving the biggest beating. People in trouble like debt, sickness, deaths, danger tend to exhibit more faith than the other guys enjoying some good sunshine. You need not look further than our tens of religious t.v stations especially when its miracle time! Unfortunately, when things get really bad, people become desperate and therein lies the danger of manipulation, cult worship and broken hopes.
Faith is personal and no one can adequately judge another on how they believe. I will not impose my faith, its interpretation or practice on anyone. I will tell you of my journey, hopefully it will enrich yours.
I will not sugarcoat the truth, during the six years and counting, I didn’t like God very much. I had seen so much suffering both myself and at family level especially with the deaths, I had asked the question ‘why me’ so many times that now, I had accepted it was me to bear untold pains. One question that never had an answer was ‘where was/is God when it hurts? I had read the Bible and quoted and stood with all the promises therein but things kept going south. To say that I was disappointed with God is an understatement. I felt betrayed.
Now, I know many Christians will cringe in horror at what I have just said. The temperate ones will call me of little faith while the extreme ones will call me selfish and a heretic. Its OK.
Phillip Yancey, a man of great wisdom, ventured into the topic of disappointment with God by attempting to answer three questions that everyone who has been through a bad period like me asks;
1. Is God unfair?
2. Is God silent?
3. Is God hidden?
When they told me at KNH that I had drunk myself to pancreatitis and that further drinking would kill me, I immediately stopped and started medication religiously. However as time progressed and things got worse, I met a few friends who had been warned of alcohol and worse had undergone surgeries due to the damages alcohol had caused but now were back to drinking like fishes and not an iota of pain in them!! Worse, their surgeries had been approved and undertaken within hours of admission yet here I was with files upon files of admissions and no doctor wanted to cut me open!!
how does God distribute favours and pains? Was I meant to serve as an example? Was I paying for my sins and if so, was my constant repentance rejected? Was I paying for the sins of my forefathers and if so, what was the essence of Ezekiel 18?
Phillip writes and i paraphrase, to expect life to be fair because God is fair is to miss the boat by a river because God is not life. You will be disappointed!! I read and searched for answers about God and fairness and i came out disappointed. I read of historical and bibilical titans and figures who got away with a slap on the wrist after committing heinous crimes like David and i also read of people who paid dearly for mistakes that deserved a slap on the wrist. Even today, our society is full of such examples.
Because faith is personal, i leave the question of God’s fairness to individual interpretation.
Is God Hidden
The bible tells us that at some point when Jesus hang on that tree, God hid his face, probably because of the horror he saw. Throughout the six years, i couldnt help but ask, is God hiding his face from my situation. See, there is something about God turning his face towards or away from you. If he turns towards you, your life changes for the better, valleys are filled, hills are brought low, you give fruit in your season, you are called blessed, whatever Saitan has thiefed from you is given back and so on and so forth.
Woe unto you if he turns his face away from you. Life kamatias you chini, problems move into your life with its grandkids and livestock. The devil steals from you so much that he makes you a partner in stealing from others. Basically, your soul becomes so malnourished, that you beg to die.
Unfortunately, most people and specifically Christians will innocently bombard you with verses and quotes and messages of how it’s gonna be OK, of how its darkest before dawn. They mean well but they are not in your shoes and don’t know whether God has hidden his face from your situations.
Sometimes, God will not even hide his face per se, He will just allow satan to play wandindi with your life. Just Ask Job.
One thing that is natural to human beings, is to pass judgements about other people whether they know the full story or not. Job’s friends were no different and we are neither. It calls for a lot of wisdom to restrain yourself from judging but its worth it. Those of us who have been in the rain can tell you, its not fun and it’s not funny. Yes, we may have messed up, we may even have repeated the mess and we might be paying for our sins but your judgements and self righteousness is the last thing we need. Remember you are not immune, remember that the sun shines both on the wicked and the righteous, the strong and the weak.
Truth is, God can turn his face away from us. Why He can or does it, is entirely upto him. If you are going through a tough time or know someone who is, help where you can, pray with them.If your faith can help them, extend it. If not, dont judge them. You never know, maybe God was waiting for your faith to turn His face towards them.
Did you know that there is a 400 year period between the last book of the Old testament and the First book of the new testament? Now you do. According to Bible scholars, God was silent kabsa. Like he said nothing, no thunder, no lightening, no manna, no prophet, nothing!! During the 400 plus years of slavery in Egypt, all the Israelites heard was the sounds of whips and pain.
God’s silence in life can be disturbing. When prayers go unanswered, you doubt and pray more but with less expectations. when fasts go unaswered, you become thinner and more angrier.
Many times during this period, God has been silent. At times, I toyed with the idea that he had travelled and will answer as soon as he returned. Nothing breaks your heart more than when your cry for help goes unanswered, you resign to your fate. You wait for any outcome. You stop hoping.
Many times, my family and I cried and yelled for help from above. We joined hands and hearts and called but……… In the end, only my mum was left calling. Mimi kwanza, I quit kitambo. I can never tire in saying that MOTHERS ARE SIMPLY THE BEST.
Again, why God would choose to go mute, I don’t know. It defies everything I read and believed from the Bible.
Because am still alive and learning, allow me tell you what i have learned:
That in the end, its only God’s will that shall prevail.
That He does what pleases Him.
That we are all clay in His hands and he finyangas us as He wills, to achieve what He intends.
That whether we live or die, thrive or suffer, laugh or cry, He will remain to be God.
That without doubting, faith can never grow.
That when you can, assist whoever is in need, it’s a seed you are sowing