I trust you are well and surviving through this tough time which has somehow become our new “normal”. In any case, I am well and have been taking things a day time as well. This morning I was shocked to realize at how much time has elapsed since the partial lockdown was first implemented in my country and how much things have changed since then. Well, today marks Day 50, Can you imagine that? Wow, time sure does fly by and as hard as everything has been God has not stopped moving. Yes, there have been quite a number of losses of which is quite poignant, however, there have been gains which are blessings that for some reason have been underrated. For example, we have learned adaptation, patience, restoration especially for our faith and relationships and for others it has been a reflective time to discover and work on who they are and most have received their breakthroughs of which we thank God.
Anyhow, today I would like to share my testimony of faith which I hope will positively speak to you and if you can please do share your own personal journey.
Faith matters. Faith is the essence. Faith is key. Faith moves God.
Hebrews 11 gives a clear account of faith from definition to citing examples on how other believers in the bible demonstrated their faith in God. Now- faith is not easy especially since it is believing in what you cannot see, faith is seeing beyond your circumstance, faith is disregarding your physical sight and engaging your spiritual sight instead, faith is believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you seek to accomplish, of which others deem impossible is in actual fact, possible!
Well, faith is a level of spirituality beyond comprehension to most and we had a discussion on faith during one of our bible study sessions some time ago in which one of the brethren stated that we all have faith, the only difference lies on how we use and exercise it. Faith requires no hesitancy because that hesitation is what halts a lot of things in our lives. I mean take for example the story in Matthew 17:14-20, you would have expected the disciples of Jesus to would have healed that child, but instead, they couldn’t and after Jesus had healed the boy, they inquired on why they had failed. Jesus went on to tell them that it was due to their little faith and this is the case for a lot of us, believers especially. We believe in God, we believe He created everything and has given us authority over all things. However, each time we face giants, fear gets the best of us and we hesitate to exercise the authority bestowed upon us by God with faith. So even before we attempt to put that giant in its place, we have already discredited ourselves and accepted defeat. God made us in His image and granted us authority, however, when it comes to handling any hurdle in our path, we forget all about that. We become inferior beings to all the things He granted us power over; we bow down to demons, we bow down to giants and we move around the mountains instead of commanding them to move. If we still aren’t winning in any sphere of our lives, doubt sets in and we wallow in self-pity forgetting that Jesus said, whatever we ask in His Name He shall give to us (John 14:13-14). We just need to keep up the faith in Him and trust that His purpose in our lives will indeed be fulfilled and what we deserve shall be granted to us for the Glory of God.
Faith just like patience is not easy to maintain. In fact, both need to be prayed for on a daily basis. We need to ask God to plant the roots of our faith deeper each day and grant us the virtue of patience too. Through my journey with Christ and my journey in life in general, I have come to comprehend the true meaning of faith and its importance thereof. I have shared with you my mental battles, my losses and my-faith-wavering-days, and from all these, I have come out stronger than when I went through them. All these were never easy times, they all took a hard toll on me and I swear there were times when suicide felt like an option, but then again, my connection with God I think is what repaired my broken psyche and gave me hope, which is why I stand for and by Hope in Christ!
We face trials on a daily basis and some days these waves of hardships come through in strong tides that they wash us offshore whilst we try pedalling through them and sometimes these storms last so long that we doubt if they will ever subside. During such times, our faith wavers because we view our situation as being bigger than our God, forgetting the fact that He is bigger and through those storms, He stands! God has amazing plans for our lives and Jeremiah 29:11 confirms this by providing a sense of calmness and reassurance as well as a reminder that God stands and His promises are always fulfilled no matter what. This scripture coupled with James 1 means so much to me because each time I read through them I am reminded that God does not change, trial or not, He stands and even though I may walk through shadows of darkness He is with me and because of that, I will neither fear nor doubt that I will get through it (Psalm 23). So, even during those days when things did feel overwhelming and my spiritual sight blinded, I still believed that God knew that His pure, perfect and good plan for my life would be fulfilled, which is why I remained grounded because I knew He would complete the work He started (Philippians 1:4-6).
My life has changed drastically in the last month and each day I awake I am filled with gratitude. God showed up! God showed up! I am still in awe of what God has blessed me with and each day I read the word and pray I feel my being transcending beyond my physical. Spiritually I am content. Spiritually I am at ease. Spiritually I am at peace. Spiritually I am growing.
You guys know part of my struggles, especially those I’ve shared with you especially the mental and spiritual battles, but mostly how the mental battles affected my life socially and academically enough for me to have to start over. In any case, I started over and it was not easy but I was determined because I knew that God would not forsake me, He would see me through the process and He did. So I graduated in November 2018, and after that, I ensued to apply for both work and scholarships to further my studies. Unfortunately, scholarships did not go well and so did job opportunities instead I went on to apply for voluntary work in my field so to expand my knowledge base and sharpen my technical skillset too. So 2019 was dedicated to that and I did continue to apply for work even during the time I was volunteering but nothing ever came out of it. As such when the period of volunteering elapsed in December 2019, I had a conversation with God about the direction I wanted my life to head to in 2020. I asked Him to be my guide and for His will over my life to be fulfilled. So New Year’s Eve I was in Church and I had written down what God and I had conversed about and dedicated it to Him then. I had it on paper but I also declared it by mouth. This is why I stand by the power of the tongue, faith and their effectiveness because what I declared in faith was given to me.
At the start of 2020, I continued applying for work and scholarships but still, nothing positive came out of it because the application process would elapse and I received no response. Some days doubt would creep its way into my heart and I would pray about it as well as ask my prayer buddies to stand with me in prayer for my faith. It was hard guys, even harder when all the people who’d asked for assistance in writing motivation letters and résumé would call to tell me they were scheduled for interviews. Of course, I’d be excited for them that I would even help out with their interview preparation. However, my faith got tested all the more when all these individuals came back to inform me about their success in attaining the job. Receiving those success stories was wonderful because in some way I knew my day would come too but there were times I questioned if I was able to speak success over the lives of others but not my own. I asked God about it and that was the day He led me to Psalm 77 and Psalm 46:10. I remember after that conversation just declaring with great conviction that April 2020 would be my month of breakthrough and in my heart, I knew it would be so. After that day I stopped questioning God, I stopped asking from God instead I gave thanks each day for that breakthrough He would be manifesting soon in my life. I swear that change in me, that change in how I did things, that change in how I prayed and read the word from that day on gave me a sense of peace, joy and appreciation for my relationship with the Lord. I opened my spiritual ears and heart more to listen to His voice attentively and fed my spirit with His word. I remained patient in faith, steadfast in prayer and on March 27, 2020, He answered!
The number seven biblically symbolizes completion as well as perfection and that’s how on the 7th of March and April 2020 completion was demonstrated in my life. I was baptized on March 7 and I remember my Pastor elaborating about the significance of this number and how this step we had taken to complete the process of our redemption through baptism meant. At that time, I did not know that twenty days after that my life would change completely. March 27, 2020, marked the first day of the partial lockdown in my country, which was implemented to try and curb the spread of coronavirus. By this time, the virus had caused so much havoc across the world already; Economies were crashing, both the infection and fatality rate were on the rise. So, with all this happening, a lot of countries decided to implement lockdown measures which meant that a number of places had to be shut down and restructuring done to try and mitigate the spread of the virus. Therefore, with the effects of the virus being felt across the world, Eswatini decided to implement a partial lockdown which presented us with a number of uncertainties. Well, for one some people suffered job losses, others pay cuts and a number of things were on standstill. For the rest of us who had been applying for jobs, this literally presented us with bleak prospects because we thought the chances of receiving any job listings with the economy suffering or interviews and jobs even were slim. Honestly, things were uncertain, well come to think of it, they still are but we still cling on to hope. Anyway, in the midst of that uncertainty and on that very first day when all things were set to close off, God decided it was the RIGHT time to open up and set things in motion for my breakthrough!
I received the unexpected call at 10:40 am, on Friday, March 27 and when the guy on the other end of the line introduced himself I thought it was a prank call. I honestly could not believe my ears and to this day I still cannot believe the position God has placed me in. Each day I wake up and head for work I am filled with so much gratitude. God’s grace sure did locate me on this one and I found favour in Him because all that I have now is because of him (Isaiah 26:12).
Just days preceding to this call, my devotional passages focused on confidence and faith. The core of each lesson was based on not having any doubt about that which you have asked from God but to be confident about it as well as avoid giving out mixed signals but instead believe yourself worthy for the grace and blessings of God. So that entire week my prayer points were directed towards my faith, gratitude, and getting rid of any sense of doubt whatsoever and I declared by mouth and in writing that the position of which I was later called for was mine. And dedicating myself that entire week to God and being steadfast in the word and prayer carried me through from receiving the call that scheduled me for the interview, to preparing for the interview by having God guide me through the studying process, to Him granting me the confidence and removing away all the fear as well as giving me enough wisdom to tackle the questions that morning of March 30th at the interview. His guiding light went shined right through to the completion of the process to me receiving the call on April 6th that I had been successful and I was given an offer letter which stipulated my first day on duty as April 7th.
So friends when I talk about how God’s grace has located me and how faithful He has been in my life, this is part of all the wonderful things He has proven Himself faithful about.
God has given back to me in abundance, God has sustained me and God continues to maintain His place in my life. I have learned not to take lightly all that I have been blessed with because so many people only wish to have a bit of that which I sometimes feel not enough. I have learned to give thanks to God daily because having attained what I have during this past 50 days of lockdown, I can only attribute to Him because it has been nothing but grace. Honestly, I have come to realize that we have our hearts desires of which God grants us but He has deeper desires for our lives that only He fulfils and when He does, it is then that you appreciate the fact that what He has blessed you with is what you have always wanted but somehow along the way, you lost sight of it and even forgot about it, worse still doubted you even deserved it. However, God is God, and being the loving Father that He is, He only wants good things for us, the best of all things and that is what He offers to you.
I am still offering my thanks to God and coming to actually try to understand it too because I will not lie to you, I honestly feel like I am still in a trance, and I am still in awe of God. What God does can never be put into words and how He does it too is inexplicable and you need to take your time too learning how to handle it all. So during this time I am rooting myself deeper in offering my dedication to Him and not stopping now because He has granted me a favour but going deeper in my faith because without faith you cannot move Him. Therefore, daily I pray for my faith. I pray that it never wavers, I pray that I remain grounded, I pray that I never stop locking eyes with God that I remain focused on Him in spite of what may come my way. I stand by this because I have seen it work wonders for my life because in giving everything to God He has managed to handle it for me and removed that which was not working for me and replaced it with that which He has purposed for me.
Now faith my dear friends is indeed the substance of hope!
God is faithful, remain rooted in Him and trust the process. Things work out for the greater good for those who trust and love Him (Roman’s 8:28) and I am a testament to that. Remain rooted in Christ, grounded in faith, steadfast in prayer and the Word, ALWAYS!
Grounded in Faith