Tag Archives: Faith

Perfectly imperfect

Do you ever wake up and wonder why you’re on this earth? What purpose you’re meant to achieve? Sometimes I feel that. Lately my sisters and I have been asking that a lot. The stage we’re in currently puts us in that situation where we constantly question the purpose we’re meant to accomplish. Sometimes life does that to people…

Like an answer to these questions, I found an old post I had written a while back but it was just a rough draft I’d scribbled on my notebook. As I was reading it, I felt some sense of calm descend upon me, as I was reminded of something important; each one of us has a purpose we’re meant to accomplish. We might not have realized it yet but in time it will be revealed to us.

That particular draft I’d written one Sunday evening, after hearing the story at mass earlier that day. While giving his sermon, the deacon had told us about a man who owned two jars. One was in perfectly good condition, while the other one had a crack on it.

Every morning this man would wake up and he would carry the two jars down to the river. Given the jars’ condition, it always happened that the man would get back home with the perfect jar full, whereas the other one was almost empty.

For many days, the broken jar wondered why its owner insisted on using it when he should already have discarded it. It was broken; imperfect; of what use was it? Eventually it asked the man why he was still using it, yet it always got home almost empty, unlike the perfect jar, which served its function perfectly. Affectionately, the man asked the jar to pay close attention the next day, when they’d be coming back from the river.

Anxiously, the jar waited for the next morning. Soon it was going to find out what purpose it was meant to achieve. The next day finally came and as instructed, the jar watched closely as the man carried it and the perfect jar back to the house.

On its side were beautiful flowers lined along the path. The man explained that he had noticed the jar’s defect and had decided to make use of it. He had planted flowers along the way and watered them every single day with the water leaking from the jar. From its imperfection, the flowers had been nourished. The man further explained that its perceived imperfection made it perfect for a different purpose.

Given that humans are flawed beings, I would say each one of us is like the broken jar. In our own way we’re all broken. We’re imperfect. Like my sisters and myself, someone might be looking at the life they’re leading and they might be wondering what good could possibly come from it.

Well, here’s the thing; our lives might not be perfect; we are undoubtedly imperfect, but the good news is that God focuses on our little imperfections and He brings out the best from them. If I could use examples of people we know or might have heard of; Simon Peter had imperfections of his own. He denied Christ three times, among other things, yet Jesus chose him to be the rock on which His church would be founded.

St. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a persecutor of Christians. Yet, unbelievably, he became one of the most acclaimed men in history. God didn’t shun him, instead he chose him as one of his humble servants; through someone society detested He made His name known. St, Augustine was also a flawed man and we now celebrate him as a saint…

Imperfections may vary. It could be a physical challenge that one has; it could be the abject poverty which hinders one from achieving their dreams; it could be a sinful life one is living…but as the saying goes, ‘all saints have a past and all sinners have a future.

Point is, we shouldn’t let the current stage we’re in, in life discourage us. We’re capable of so much, even in our imperfections; because those imperfections are what make us unique and therefore perfect. So if you’re there wondering what purpose you’re meant to fulfill, don’t give up on yourself, or on life. Because like the broken jar, in time God will reveal to us too what plans He has in store for us.

We’re not put on this earth because we’re perfect, or to lead perfect lives. On the contrary, God appoints each one us for a special mission, fully aware of our imperfections; and He doesn’t love us less. So if He, who is the quintessence of perfection accepts us in all our ‘flawedness’, who are we to love ourselves, or our lives less?

Since it might take a while before we discover what we’re meant to accomplish in this life, we should take each day as it comes…and be the best we can be…and whatever the situation is, we shouldn’t despair.

Year of restoration

The Divine Mercy

I don’t know about everyone else, but personally I know this year started on a very low note. I hate to say it out loud but that’s a fact. It hasn’t been so just for me, but even for my whole family. Things have been pretty messy. And by messy I mean the rock-meet-bottom kinda messy.

I even feel like I forgot how it feels to be truly happy, because when I will myself to forget, even if only for a few minutes, the things happening around me, something just happens and it knocks me back down; reminds me of the harsh reality.

Basically, all these problems my family and I are having are mainly financial. Their genesis was mom quitting her job more than a year ago. As it is, she was the sole bread winner, and I say ‘sole’ because even though dad has always earned more than her, he just never helped out much; therefore everything that required money had mom digging into her purse. All dad did was pay the mortgage and pay our school fee; but that had stopped at some point.

Before mom quit her job, there had been lots of tension at her work place. The company she was working for had started closing down some of their branches so employees were just being dismissed arbitrarily; without due notice or any valid reason. We figured it wouldn’t be long before mom was also shown the door in the process of resizing; it was only inevitable given how things were going. When she consulted my sisters and I, we agreed it was best she quit before they humiliated her.

We knew life wouldn’t be easy if she quit, but we had figured she was going to lose her job either way and if she waited for them to throw her out she would leave the company she had worked for, for about fifteen years with her dignity frayed. That we couldn’t let happen, because then she wouldn’t be able to claim any benefits without seeking a court’s intervention; a process which would require her to pay for the legal services.

Eventually she did and since then it has been a downhill turn. A few weeks before she quit, she started her own business, when she’d taken her annual leave. She invested most of her savings in it but the fledgling business remained our main source of income. Sadly, the expenses far outweighed the income and on 31st of last month, while we were preparing to cross over to the New Year, she closed up.

The worst part about all this is that though my sisters and I are perfectly capable of working, getting jobs has been the perfect definition of a mission impossible. But that story I’ll save for another day because again it’s too depressing. One would wonder where dad has been when all this was happening but the truth is he’s just been too caught up in his own world, imbibing mostly.

What saddens me most is that he’s still the same person he’s been since we were kids; too stingy with his own money. He doesn’t invest in something unless he feels it benefits him somehow. Buying something as basic as food doesn’t count as important in his books, so now that mom’s out of work and he’s the only one making money, he gives us money only when he’s in a good mood; which happens once in a blue moon.

Before mom closed down her business, I had thought a lot about it, wondering how we were going to survive but then I thought, this far my family and I have come has been made possible by God. Ergo, there would be no need to worry. Even when we have very little or nothing to eat, I think of this situation we’re in as the desert the Israelites were stuck in when God rescued them out of Egypt. He provided them with manna. It wasn’t the best food, but it kept them from starving.

Things have been so bad because dad never gives freely and when anyone of us asks for something, he’ll just snap. About three weeks ago he came home one morning at six, drunken silly and he said we were all like birds, always waiting open-mouthed for him to feed us. Personally, I was hurt by those words because he said it, knowing how much we’ve struggled. However, I felt most for mom. She’s laboured for years, just to see this family’s needs catered for, and now that things aren’t going too well for her, he insults her in such a belittling way.

It’s true; I feel we’ve hit rock-bottom. Every new day that comes is another one for us to keep pushing on; trying to jump all the hurdles, lined up on our way, which feel unbearably many and awfully steep; but every time I remind myself to hold on, because as long as God reigns, there is hope.

About two Sundays ago, we were celebrating the baptism of Christ. The priest said a baptism signifies a new beginning; leaving behind the old life and taking up a new identity as a child of God. He further said that this is a year of restoration. All that had been lost, God will restore; and every little thing that has caused us pain will be fixed.

Furthermore, this is the year of the Divine Mercy; a Holy year of Mercy.

That is the message I’m sharing with you all. The year might have gotten off to a bad start, but that’s not reason enough for us to get discouraged, because God’s got our problems, all in control.

 

 

 

Lord, help me know your ways

Because the Lord is righteous and good, He teaches sinners the path they should follow.

He leads the humble in the right way and teaches them His will.

With faithfulness and love He leads all who keep His covenant and obey His commandments. (Psalms 25: 8-10)

Today is the first Sunday of Advent (the period preceding Christmas). I just can’t believe how the time has flown. This would be that part where I just stare into space and ask, “Where did all the time go?”

Christmas is practically right around the corner. That still sounds hard to believe. People have actually started putting up Christmas decorations because in less than a month we’ll be celebrating the birth of Christ. Would you believe that?

Many people around the world –Christians and non-Christians alike- are waiting excitedly for that festive season. To the former it is because the birth of Christ signifies so much; new beginnings and all, whereas to the latter it’s about the festivities; fun trips, parties, gifts…merrymaking and all.

In my opinion, Christmas also shows that the year is coming to end. We’re counting days now, before we cross over to Year 2016. That means this is that time of the year when we start evaluating whether we achieved the resolutions we set when the New Year was starting.

The verse above (in italics) was our responsorial psalm in church today, and it had me thinking about a few things.

Primarily, it’s a prayer, asking for God’s guidance. That reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago. We were talking about relationships and he asked me how one knows when they’ve found ‘the one’.

As I’m not a love guru, I answered him based on my Christian belief and a few experiences. For starters, I am of the opinion that relationships don’t last nowadays. And if I was to put in my two cents worth on the matter, I would say it’s because majority of us lost track of what people should be looking for in relationships. If for instance, two people get together for financial reasons, it goes without saying that if God-forbid the money runs out, even the relationship goes, ‘bye-bye’.

There’s this one time my sisters and I paid our paternal grams a visit and she was saying, “Nowadays young people are spending too much money on weddings, even taking loans to fund those extravagant events, yet very few of them are lasting for more than five years”.

So what’s the problem really?

I feel many people have turned away from God. Sex is not sacred anymore, in any case it’s been reduced into a currency that the better of us give in exchange for goods and services; people worship money, such that the penurious are treated like pariahs, who don’t have a place in society; and because of this importance we’ve attached to money, people are doing just about anything to get it. We’re practically ignoring all that’s right because as most ask, “How far will being good get you?”

In my humble opinion, we should go back to God. Seek His guidance in all that we do, and He will never fail us. Regarding the question my friend asked me about knowing when you’ve found the right partner, I told him to pray. That sounds cliché I know, but it’s something I learned from experience.

See there’s this guy I was so into; I even told my mom about him because I was almost sure he was the one I would be spending forever with. He proposed informally and that put me in that place where I knew the decision I would make would be one of the most important ones I’d be making in my life. So I embarked on praying, asking God to help me make the right choice.

It’s been a few years since then and given that I’m still single, it obviously means I said no. In the course of the brief relationship we had, I found out a few things, which if I had found out later, we would have divorced. Point is, praying feels a bit overrated, especially for those who haven’t established that personal connection with God, but it actually works.

However, there’s one thing I believe; for as long as the sun shines and the earth rotates in its axis, we’ll always need God; whether we realize it or not. And like my friend asked me, “How do you know you’re making the right choice?”

My answer was, “God will grant you that discernment, to know what is right or wrong. The conviction will be so strong and everything around you will point towards the right thing/person. You will know it.”

Therefore, as we prepare our hearts to welcome the new-born Christ in our hearts, and as we assess the decisions we’ve been making since the year began, it’s imperative that we seek God’s guidance in all we do, and trust me; God never fails those who rely on Him.

“Teach me your ways, O Lord;

Make them known to me.

Teach me to live according to your truth,

for you are my God, who saves me.

I always trust in you. (Psalms 25: 4-5).

Matters Faith

Matters faith

In my opinion, when it comes to matters faith, there are basically two categories of believers, who can further be grouped into four other sub groups:-

  1. The suffering believers
  2. The content believers

The suffering believers are fundamentally those who are immersed in unimaginable perils or typical glitches that could be feeling a little weighty at the moment. They can be divided into two:

  •  those who drift further away from God because they believe He abandoned them and that’s why they’re suffering;
  •  then of course there are those who trust God more at that time because they put their faith in Him to find a way out of their problems.

The content believers are those who are satisfied with the current state of affairs. They can be divided into two:

  • those who drift away from God when they are happy because they are in that bubble of bliss, which bursts eventually and it’s only then that they realize that they can never live without God; think the prodigal son…
  •  then again there are those who get closer to God at this time because they believe it’s only by God’s mercy that they have been able to enjoy the good moments in their life.

Point is, whether we’re struggling beneath the weight of overwhelming miseries, or are in a place in life where we feel life couldn’t be better, the situation we’re in, whether good or bad could determine the relationship we have with God. And it’s a choice we make…

Sometimes when life is too good we drift further and further from God, when we’re too caught up chasing the pleasures of life. One wakes up in the morning but because they are in good health and have servants at their every beck and call and money to indulge their every whim, they forget to say thank you for it all.

Truth is, we don’t always have to present ourselves before God when we need favours from Him. It’s only right that when He grants us our desires we thank Him; and even for those irking situations, because if we remain positive, we’ll see the good in those painful moments.

Unfortunately, our sinful human nature deters us from doing so. More often than not, I have heard a sick person say they can’t wait to get better because in more ways than one, the illness is curtailing their lives in ways so unimaginable.

When they recuperate, they realize that being healthy is not something that should be taken for granted. Looking at it from that perspective, I believe that while the majority of us might hate being in less desirable situations in life, we can choose to look at it from the ‘glass-is-half-full’ perspective: it’s only when we’re freezing during the chilly weather that we realize how much we need the sun; and when the sun’s blistering hot and we can’t stop whining, that’s when we realize we need the rain; we momentarily forget how much we detest mud.

In short, unpleasant situations in life make us appreciate the really good moments. As it is though, in life nothing is constant. Today someone is seated at the helm of a prestigious company; next thing you know they’re church-mouse poor because the company was declared bankrupt;

or maybe one is so healthy today, and tomorrow they’re moving from one doctor to another hoping to get a different diagnosis because they’ve recently discovered they’re suffering from a chronic illness. Such is life; no one knows what the next minute holds.

One thing I know though, is that the God who was there before those who came and went before us, is the same one who still reigns. He makes the earth rotate in its axis, clothes the ground with beautiful greenery and flowers.

If one is in a situation where they are struggling, they should remember the same God who provided for them before is still the one who reigns and will therefore grant them their heart’s desires when the time is right. So one shouldn’t let despair get the better of them.

If on the other hand one is feeling really blessed because for some glorious reason everything is falling into place, they should remember to hold on to God, because He who gave them all that gladdens their heart could take it all back if He deemed it fit; say when someone becomes too arrogant because their bank accounts are bursting at the seams and they could buy anything money can get them, so the need to be humble escapes them.

Whatever stage we’re in, we should remember nothing in life is constant; and as the cliché goes, ‘life is full of surprises’. What we need to always remember though, is that God never changes; and neither do His ways. If we don’t have what we need today, it’s not because He hates us. And when humility feels like a needless task because we have everything we could possibly want, we should remember that tomorrow could be a very different day.

Either way, we need God. When we’re happy, we should thank God and remember to treat everyone else with kindness. We shouldn’t wait for life to deal us tragic blows for us to grasp the whole concept of humility; and if we don’t have, we shouldn’t be bitter, despising all those who are blessed, because when our time comes, God will bless us too.

The dejected man’s cry

“Month after month I have nothing to live for; night after night brings me grief. When I lie down to sleep, the hours drag; I toss all night and long for dawn…Remember O God, my life is only a breath; my happiness has already ended.” (Job 7: 3-7).

Sometimes when I’m listening to songs, the poignant ones especially, when I’m feeling down, I feel like each word was written just for me; and somehow, as the songs play on I feel the weight on my chest ebb. I guess that’s why I love songs so much. They take me to places, and then bring me back to the present moment. In a way they heal me.

Today, I have the same nostalgic feeling, only that it’s not a song that has me drenched in those emotions. The words above are Job’s cry to God when the devil took everything away from him and God allowed it because he knew Job would forever remain faithful to him, no matter how much pain he went through; no matter how much tribulations the devil put him through.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Job’s story an awful lot. The trials Satan put him through were just too many for a mere mortal to tolerate. Still, he persevered, and even though at some point he got angry at God, his faith remained firm.

In all honesty I cannot compare my problems to Job’s, but at the same time I feel I have a few of my own too. The thing that has me comparing my situation to Job’s is that for the past few weeks, since the year started, I’ve been feeling so burdened. Mine’s a rough patch though and I have faith I will be getting over it sooner than later; keeping the faith.

However, there are instances when life hits us really bad and we find ourselves losing our faith in God. When things feel like they are spinning out of control, we let go of God; those who are ailing cease asking for God’s healing; the weak stop asking for God to renew their strength…

If Job’s story is anything to go by, then we know that even if the storm seems so ugly; even when it has destroyed everything we’ve ever cared for and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, the sun will always shine.

We can’t refute the fact that Job suffered; and God allowed it. But there’s that issue of God knowing our strengths and weaknesses. He knows what we can stand; what we can handle, and what we can’t. God let Job suffer because He was confident that whatever Satan put him through wouldn’t be enough to weaken his faith.

This shows us that when God allows suffering into our lives, it’s because he believes in us. He doesn’t do that because he hates us, but because he knows our faith in Him is strong. This also goes to show that if God knew we couldn’t stand the tribulations without forsaking our faith, He wouldn’t let us go through some of those very weakening moments which punch the air out of our lungs and we’re left gasping for air, trying to overcome that asphyxiating feeling.

As we can see in Job’s story; for his steadfastness, God blessed the last part of his life than he had blessed his first. He lived for one hundred and forty years after his tribulations and God gave him back what he had lost and even doubled it. (Job 42: 12-16)

Life might be difficult, and we might feel like we’re losing our grip on things; but the truth is God is watching over us and when the time’s right He will come through for us. The secret is to keep believing and trusting in him.

Of temptations and Lent

Jesus in the wilderness

“We’re all in the desert”. Those were the priest’s words during mass as we celebrated the first Sunday of lent. Today’s gospel was on Jesus’ stay in the desert for forty days and nights (Mark 1: 12-15). In the olden ‘Biblical’ days, it was believed that demons resided in the desert.

Ergo, when Jesus went to the desert, He put Himself at ‘a risk’…not that the demons would have done anything to Him, no matter how desperately they desired it. However, that just goes to show the magnitude of His suffering for those forty days He stayed there. I’m imagining it was like head-to-head; with every demon giving it their best shot so they could brag they’re the ones who annihilated the Son of the Almighty God.

Satan, the father of all evil, tempted Him but Jesus remain steadfast; his faith unwavering, as He prepared Himself for the excruciating pain He knew lay ahead of Him during His passion. Based on what we read in the bible, He wouldn’t have wished such agonizing pain upon His own self, but only agreed to it as that was His Father’s will. Forty days later He was out of the desert, having triumphed over Satan.

In the Genesis story of how Lucifer – a once hallowed angel- came to be the father of all evil, we’re told that He wanted to have the same power as God. Subsequently, God kicked Him out of Heaven and damned him to hell – the eternal pit of fire.

Angry and vengeful, Lucifer waged war against God, promising to turn the same men He’d created in His own image against Him. With that he set up camp on earth, determined to live up to his threat. From then on, temptations became the order of the day as he tried to win more and more souls for himself and slowly, the world became full of evil as brother turned against brother, shedding blood callously… and the rest, as they say, is history.

This, I believe, is what the priest had in mind when he said we’re all living in a desert. Satan walks in our midst, doing his best so we can all sell our souls to him. More often than not, we find ourselves at crossroads, trying to choose between the real right decision that might not be the most pleasant or even easy to achieve and the easy decision which appears more appealing but which invariably turns out to be another one of Satan’s numerous traps.

For instance, someone’s marriage is on the rocks. Right when they are in the middle of that crisis, another person comes along promising them the moon. So instead of working on the breaking marriage, which might actually turn out to be the best decision in the end, one opts to get into a secret affair with the ‘stranger’.

Eventually, one learns first hand that ‘it’s better the demon you know than the angel you don’t’, when everything with the ‘stranger’ moves from rosy to disastrous. It’s all part of the devil’s schemes to get back at God; problem is, were the ones caught in between; and he strikes when we’re most vulnerable.

The painful fact is that for as long as the earth rotates in its axis, and the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, there will always be temptations; moreover, based on the strength of our faith, chances are we will fall sometimes.

We may not be in a situation to help it but there’s a solution; to pray without ceasing. Lent is that time of the year when we’re called to reflect on our actions – what we’ve done and what we’ve failed to do – and how all that affects our relationship with God.

Mostly, we fall into temptations because of the problems we encounter in our lives. If we’re going through a difficult phase in our lives, the bible tells us to pray, believe that God has heard our prayers and then wait patiently without worrying.

Not worrying, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts is easier said than done, but once we get into the habit of entrusting God with those ‘impossible’ problems, we will realize the benefits that come with it. We will wade through those murky waters and come out victorious, just like Jesus did.

So don’t forget; the secret really, is to pray, pray and pray some more. Additionally, the pillars of lent, are prayer, fasting and alms giving –helping those in need; and as I’ve said before, anyone – irrespective of faith/religion- can take this Lenten season as a period to reflect, and to see what they can do to be better than they were yesterday.

 

Lord, what shall I do?

the annunciation

Everytime we pray, we’re always asking, “Lord, I need…” or “Lord give me…” We always know what we need from God. But how many times do we remember to ask Him, “What do you want me to do Lord?” or “What shall I do?”

Nowadays there are many false prophets, and what they want people to believe is that God only talks to them. What they fail to realize is that God actually talks to everyone; whether they believe in Him or not and what makes the difference is whether we listen or not.

Many people will refute this because in their minds, God would speak to someone in a booming baritone, or alternatively one would expect some major sign like the wind howling, windows banging as they shut violently, leaves falling from branches as trees bend and all… but truth is God has more subtle ways of visiting us, and it’s only when we’re quiet; when we listen to the voice inside our hearts that we actually hear God’s voice.

He guides us; speaking to us through our conscience…for instance, when a married woman/man keeps getting hit on by other men/women, especially on social media and all, God gives them the shrewdness to know they should remain faithful to their partners.

Nonetheless, some people adamantly ignore that voice and subsequently go ahead to engage in clandestine affairs. Even then, they continue to feel tormented by guilt, because at the back of their minds they know that is wrong. That little voice in our heads going on and on that whatever it is we’re doing is wrong is God’s voice… or that voice urging us to do something good that we’re so afraid of doing

Additionally, we should strive to do good. When we hurt others, it’s not God’s work we’re doing, but the devil’s. If you’re in a public place for instance, and you see someone crying, don’t just pull out a phone and send the person’s crying face with captions like, “Stress is real…” on networking sites.

It is sad, that nowadays many young people seem to have lost touch with reality. Everything done is mainly to impress a wider audience-mostly on social media. It’s advisable for one to reach out to the aggrieved person instead of mocking them; even if they are rude, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you tried. That is doing God’s work; doing the extra ordinary; even blessing those who wrong us.

Many people seem to be under the impression that God’s work entails going to church every Sunday, reading the bible, donating money to charity (even when the donations are merely a pretext, so one can win over the public) …

Truth is, there’s someone who’s never stepped foot in a church/a place of worship, but they will go to heaven regardless. This is because, they spend their lives serving God, even though they may be oblivious to it. In actual sense, they are better than the pastors/church ministers who stand in the pulpit, preaching God’s word and later go on to sleep with married women from their congregation.

They are better than those of us, who have crammed several verses of the bible but when we go out there we’re the cause of breakups between married folks; we instigate fights between friends; basically perpetuating hatred and violence.

Being a believer in God is more than just going to church and reading the bible. Of importance is whether we live what we preach or we just preach love and brig hatred? Kindness, and push away those who come to us for help…

God gets really pleased with us when we dedicate our lives to help others. Sometimes we may be willing to serve Him somehow but we are unable to figure out how. If in silence, we ask Him to help us know what to do, He will talk to us.

As we ready ourselves for the birth of the Messiah, we should reflect on Mary’s humility… When the angel Gabriel visited her, telling her she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, she didn’t object, instead, full of humility, she replied, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it happen to me as you have said.” (Luke 1: 38).

happy holidays

In the same way, we should focus on God’s voice; listen to His command and ask Him to grant us the grace to do, that which He desires from us.

Let’s invite God into our hearts; that He may be born in us this Christmas.

 

Many are invited but few are chosen

wedding feast

Jesus again used parables in talking to the people. “The kingdom of heaven is like this: once there was a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son. He sent his servants to tell the invited guests to come to the feast, but they did not want to come.

So he sent other servants with this message for the guests. ‘My feast is ready now; my steers and my prize calves have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast! But the invited guests paid no attention and went about their business: one went to his farm and another to his store, while others grabbed the servants beat them, and killed them.

The king was very angry; so he sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city. Then he called his servants and said to them, “My wedding feast is ready, but the people I invited did not deserve it. Now go to the main streets and invite to the feast as many people as you find.

So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, good and bad alike; and the wedding hall was filled with people. The king went in to look at the guests and saw a man who was not wearing wedding clothes.

‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The king asked him. But the man said nothing. Then the king told the servants to, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and and throw him outside in the dark. There he will cry and gnash his teeth.’”

And Jesus concluded, many are invited but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22: 1-14).

In your opinion, was the king’s action justified? Did the guy who wasn’t in the proper wedding clothes deserve to be thrown out? What we, as readers need to understand first is that Jesus used parables to relay messages. I guess He felt it would be easier to tell stories (parables) because that way listeners would understand better.

He started off by saying, “The kingdom of God is like this…” so naturally He used the word king to refer to His Father, and the servants are the people among us–preachers-who he anoints to spread His gospel. When they go out to spread the word, they are turned away and in some instances they are killed; for instance, John the Baptist was beheaded.

God, like the king, invites all to His kingdom, without discriminating. He doesn’t pay any attention to who is a sinner and who is not. Furthermore, He gives us all an equal chance, hoping we will heed to His call.

In the parable, Jesus talks about a banquet and normally, banquets are happy occasions. The guy who was thrown out attended the party, seemingly unprepared, and given that this was a parable, one could interpret it from many perspectives. The proper attire could be humility, kindness, love…

When God calls us, he expects us to show acts of kindness to those around us. Maybe the guy lacked that, and so even though he was invited to the feast, he was thrown out. The ‘proper wedding attire’ could refer to many things.

The parable gives us something to reflect upon; if we were standing before God today, would we be fully prepared for the feast, or like the man, we would be thrown out? And if it’s the latter, what are the things we do wrong, which would cost us a chance to take part in God’s feast?

 

 

Don’t worry; Pray instead

pray

Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, asking Him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which goes beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7).

Worrying is essentially a waste of time because we worry about things but then it doesn’t all amount to anything important. Once I heard someone ask, “Do you remember what you were worrying about last year at a time like now?

At the time I tried jogging my mind and I just couldn’t remember what it was I had been worrying about, though I was certain there was something that had been stressing me then. In many of my posts I have mentioned I struggle with anxiety; and even though I try to stay calm all the time, sometimes I feel it overpowers me and I find myself worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.

Earlier today, when I walked into church, I asked God to help me learn something that would guide me through this week. After my short prayer, I looked at the pamphlet with today’s readings, and I smiled when I saw the reading above.

See the thing with anxiety, is that it makes you worry even when you don’t want to. Anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety will tell you it takes so much willpower to fight the negative thoughts, which creep up on someone when they least expect it. It’s like a dark cloud that won’t scud away no matter how you will it to.

We’re told not to judge others because we’re not always privy to what all the people we meet are going through. That means, everyone has one or two issues bugging them; something that prevents them from smiling or enjoying the good things they have, however few. I believe today’s message is not just for me, but for all of us.

We’re asked to pray for our needs instead of worrying about them. It doesn’t matter how complicated the situation feels; or how gigantic the problem seems. God has a solution to all those situations which distress us. All we need to do is take those problems to Him in prayer.

Remember, don’t worry: pray!

Do have the loveliest of weeks ahead.

 

Blessings hidden in our crosses

Accepting our crosses

A Christian’s life is basically filled with suffering and tribulations. Jesus suffered too, ergo as His followers, our own suffering doesn’t come as a surprise. He set the precedent for us so we wouldn’t find it unusual or even unfair; He personally showed us how to persevere even when the crosses feel unbearably heavy.

Sometimes, it happens that when we can’t deal with those problems we start running away from them. That however, is not the right way to handle difficult situations. Problems are meant to be tackled and as it is, those sufferings are not meant to weaken us. They are meant to strengthen us. In those crosses lie massive blessings. So if we’re to uncover those blessings, we need to work hard, handling those crosses right.

Countless faithful have been known to abandon their faith when the going gets too tough. But a Christian’s life is about perseverance. Life in general is all about perseverance. If one was to take a close look at people who have made it big in life, they didn’t have it easy. Most have gone through so much agony to be successful.

The good thing is, when one perseveres, the victory feels even greater. Instead of running away from those crosses, we should embrace them and take them to God, so He can help us deal with them. He listens to all our problems. One thing I keep reiterating is, God works at His own appointed time.

If He is not granting us our wishes, it is not because He is not listening, but because He knows there is a better time to fulfil those prayers; and the best part is, His timing is always right. Difficult situations could make us sceptical-even I, get sceptical at times-but that is the absolute truth.

When God allows crosses like sicknesses to torment us, He doesn’t allow it because He wants us to suffer; on the contrary, He allows it because He knows we have so much to gain from it. Sometimes when those crosses feel unbearably heavy, we imagine God is punishing us. But again, that is not the case. He is a merciful God, and no matter how many times we wrong, He is ever willing to forgive us.

If you’re going through something difficult right now, it’s not a punishment. What’s more, there are many blessings contained in those crosses. If you trust God enough and remain patient, He will reveal it all to you in due time.

Before Jesus died on the cross He said, “Father, if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, but yours, however, but your will be done.” (Luke 22: 42). He didn’t want to go through what had been prophesied because He knew it would be so painful, but because He knew it was His Father’s will, He accepted it.

Instead of despairing, when in great anguish He prayed more fervently.

That’s the spirit we need to embrace; to accept the crosses which come our way, because like with Jesus’ suffering, there is victory in our own suffering. His death on the cross was not for naught; He saved all of mankind, by paying the ultimate price. If He didn’t accept that cross, He wouldn’t have had anything to triumph over. But because He persevered, we still sing His praises centuries after He resurrected.

Such will be our victory, if we hold on. If we take those crosses to God and ask Him to help us with them instead of running from them. We need to remember, there are blessings hidden in those crosses. We should think of the problems as a treasure hunt. During the search one encounters many difficulties, but then, finding the treasure makes all the suffering worth it. besides, nothing good comes easy, right?