God is a loving God. He desires to bless us. But more than that, He desires to mold our character to becoming more like Christ. Why? Because that is what holds eternal value. Earthly blessings will fade away. But then there are times when we’re so attached to our blessings that we don’t want to let go. So how do you surrender the blessing you love most?
A lot of people wonder about their faith. How come I find it so hard to put my trust in God? How come I don’t feel my faith?
Naaman, the Leprous Commander
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.“ – 2 Kings 5:1
Naaman was a great man. He was highly esteemed in the eyes of the king. A powerful man – he was a military general. He had many, many victories. He was also leprous.
“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” – 2Kings 5:2-3
And Naaman, being a man who was well-off, sought healing. He wanted to be cleansed of his leprosy.
“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” – 2 Kings 5:9-10
He went to Elisha because he believed that Elisha could heal him. But there was a problem.
“But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.” – 2 Kings 5:11
In the eastern culture, it was customary to greet a person of great importance as they arrive at the door. Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman. Probably his servant. Signaling that Elisha did not really care about the importance of Naaman. And to top it off, he was asked to dip himself in the dirty, muddy, Jordan river.
You see, Naaman was also a proud man. Pride is the one distinctive that brought even Lucifer to his fall.
“Pride is like a cancer that will rob you even of common sense.” – C.S. Lewis
God has a way of denting the pride – He struck Naaman with just a touch of leprosy to remind him of his finitude. And when Naaman did not like God’s way on being healed from his leprosy, he got angry. He did not want to do it God’s way. He wanted God to do it his way.
Most unbelievers are willing to go God’s way if God goes their way.
And sometimes, even with us Christians, whenever things go tough, we do not want to follow. Our faith does not translate into action when it is no longer easy for us.
Our trust in God falls short.
The uniform tells us who he was.
The medals tells all he’s done.
All of a sudden he’s without both.
Suddenly he realizes he’s just like everybody else.
When you realize your finitude, that is when you realize your dependence on God. That is when you realize that all things is under His sovereign will. That is when you realize, you need to put your trust in Him.
Putting your complete dependence in God has a lot to deal with how you look at yourself and how you look at God.
If you see yourself as how Naaman saw himself without his medals and uniform, you will realize your finitude and your need for God.
If you see God as an all-powerful, almighty, sovereign, loving God, who cares about you and knows where you are in life, you will be able to trust Him.
Faith is a matter of the heart and mind. It deals with humility, trust, and and accurate fear and knowledge of God according to His Word.
More often than not, when we travel to an unfamiliar place – whether it’s a new summer haven or a developing tourist spot, one of the first things we ask is directions on how to get there. We’d search for a roadmap and study it, so that when we decide to go, we wouldn’t be lost.
This is based on a devotion I shared over the weekend. Somehow, I was convicted to write it down to clear the points I’ve mentioned in the message and support them with scripture. For those who’ve heard the devotion, I hope this article would convey the points I wanted to bring across more clearly.
Somehow, we behave the same way when it comes to God’s Will. When God casts His vision, we would want to ask Him for full details. But God often reveals them step by step.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve encountered two stories in the bible that fascinated me. One is in Mark 8:22-26 where Jesus performed a two-staged miracle in healing a blind man from Bethsaida. The other is from 2 Kings 2:1-11 where Elijah was taken up to heaven. I had the same question on both stories – why did God made the blind man and Elijah go through “checkpoints”? Why did He reveal His Will step by step? What was God’s point in doing so?
God wants us to know who He is. It is often hard to know God’s will in certain aspects of our lives, not because we don’t pray enough nor is it because He’s just messing up with our heads. All over scripture God tells us, “I am the Lord your God”. In our anxious moments to know what God has in store for us at the end of His Will He tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I believe that more than the destination, He wants us to know who He is – His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His omniscience, His joy, His peace, and His love.
Christ makes us ready, and often that takes time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a time for everything. It’s true that God casts His vision on us – but He reveals the steps to achieve that vision step by step. He told Abraham that he will be the father of all nations, but God didn’t tell Him right away that He will test his faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. He had a vision for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but it wasn’t until chapter 4 that opposition came.
Try doing this as an experiment. Go to a room with bright lights and stay there for a while, then suddenly turn off the lights. Notice that at that instant all you will see is pitch black, but give it time and slowly your eyes will adjust and you’ll start seeing. In the same way when you suddenly turn on the lights, you squint because the light is too much and your eyes aren’t ready for it, but in a few moments they will adjust and you will see things clearly.
Think of it the same way with God’s Will. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says “…Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
God wants us to trust Him. The notion of the unknown often gives way to trust in the One who truly knows. The bible tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). This involves trusting Him in situations where we will be inconvenienced, situations we don’t want to be in or situations we want to skip. We hold on to the promise that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Instead of having a roadmap, wouldn’t be better to have someone who truly knows where we are supposed to go walk us there?
People are relational beings. We have friends here and there, we have family members and relatives in a lot of places. We have our best friend, our close friend, our tight friend – you name it. We even have pets with whom we believe we have a relationship with. Some relationships can last long – yes it can last a lifetime. Still some relationships end up closing doors.
This entry has been inspired by a very good friend of mine with whom I have gained wisdom with and have grown together in Christ with – to you I dedicate this entry.
This post is also inspired by my relationship with a very special person with whom I have learned with and gained wisdom in Christ with.
Oftentimes we are faced with major decisions we have to make with the relationships we have in our lives. A really close and tightly woven relationship can make things ultimately joyful or dreadfully devastating for us. Relationships in our lives make out a big part of us. And those relationships always come to a point wherein you have to make a choice.
When push comes to shove and a really close relationship starts to falter and break
There will come a point in time where the tides of our humanity will push us to misunderstandings, emotional instability, arguments and disagreements and what have you. We all make mistakes and sooner or later we will disappoint. Even the closest woven relationships are not exempt from this – all relationships must go through hard times.
And then it all boils down to a choice. “Will I choose the relationship over what has happened?”, “Will I overlook the offense?”, “Will I step back and let it cool off?”, “Will I choose to end the relationship and close the door?”
There isn’t always a happy ending
Our mentality of a happy ending is a never-ending, ultimately joyful relationship. But sometimes that relationship is just not what God had planned for you. If God takes away a relationship in your life do not view it as a failure in your part – because that is how we often view it. Look at it in God’s perspective.
Because God didn’t want that relationship for you, in His eyes, it is a success.
And if He wants you to learn from it and to see if you’re going to make the right decisions about what has happened then He will be the one to give the relationship back to you if He so desires. God is God.
When doors are being closed and you’re left outside
I’m a very relational person. I love talking with other people – sharing stories and insights. I love to communicate. And sure, I make friends here and there but I’ve also had my share of being left outside a closed door.
Just lately one of my dearest friends told me that he/she was closing his/her doors for me. It was emotionally devastating for me. And I had to go through a time wherein I so desperately held on to God. I asked so many questions like: “Lord, why did this happen?”, “Lord why did you allow us to meet in the first place?”, “Lord will it ever go back to the way it was?” “Lord…” And the questions went on and on.
My quiet time more than doubled lately. I sought God desperately and talked with Him all the time. It was a very intimate time between me and God and slowly but surely, I got His answer: “Continue to love unconditionally.”
See, I had two choices. One, take the pride road – I could’ve thought of all my accomplishments and blessings and about who I am and who I’m going to be. I could’ve focused on the closed door and the rejection and told myself “I don’t need this anyway. I hope that this person sees the mistake he/she has done in leaving me out and closing the door for me.” Right there and then I knew that if I made this choice and walked on this road, our relationship would end and there would be no room even for friendship.
My second choice was to follow what God told me. “Love unconditionally.” It is extremely hard especially when my emotions betray me. If the first choice would kill the relationship, this one will take a HUGE amount of humility – being already rejected and knowing the doors are closed for me. I followed the choice that would glorify my God. And what He told me amazed me.
Yes there are locks but God holds all the keys.
“Closed doors will be closed doors. But God is God.” That’s what I told a friend who is going through, I believe, the most relationally devastating time in his life. Closed doors can only be just that – closed doors. Don’t make it any bigger than your faith in God. I believe that even if doors are closed on us in relationships, God can open it up in His time and in His ways.
We are merely stewards of the ‘duplicate’ keys that He’s lent us. In the end, God holds all the keys. I sought God and the questions in my mind became fewer and fewer. I decided to just trust in Him – He planned it all out. That closed door was ordained by God even before time began. It doesn’t mean it’ll stay closed forever. I still hope in my relationship with that person – that someday he/she will open it up again for me.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” –Proverbs 21:1
God can change hearts. God can open doors. Trust in Him completely.
God is God. Don’t make Him any less than He is. Lord of Heaven and Earth. The heavens declare His majesty. “I am the Lord your God.” He says. Believe it. Don’t fear about closed doors. Fear God and put your complete trust in Him.
In your eyes, closed doors may be failures but in God’s eyes it may well be success – success that the relationship has stopped there because it isn’t meant to go any further under His sovereign will. And that’s just one of the millions of possible reasons. We can never really understand God especially in the aspect of relationships – but that’s where real trust and faith in Him is put to the test.
I choose to trust God.