I’m not going to wear a mask any more, whether for protecting myself, or for the comfort of those around me. It’s a lot of work, exhausting and not really beneficial. It’s much more work to put up a mask and have many expectations laid on me; than to break down, open up, be understood and relieved from some of the things. It must be true when the bible talks about confessing our sins to one another that we might be healed, and I think sin here covers everything, even the sin of unbelief. Love does cover a multitude of sins, the Bible says again, and I take it to mean that in that open, vulnerable sharing, there’ll be a more meaningful covering of understanding about our weak areas, and that’ll result in better productivity and relationships for all involved – as opposed to putting up a mask, being put on a pedestal, then straining so hard to stay on that imposed pedestal….and eventually failing at the given task. So I’ve decided to be raw and honest….even more deeply honest than I’ve been in this journey.
The other day, I went to visit someone in hospital. We went as a family, so we had to take turns to stay with our daughter outside the wards, because children are not allowed in there. So, when my husband was in there with our friend, my daughter and I took a stroll around the hospital. We visited many rooms, the car park, watched and talked about the leaves and basically had a good time bonding.
When we were passing near the chapel, I remembered how I’d gone to pray in the chapel at Gertrude’s Hospital when Jason was in the ICU. And my heart was sad, I was overwhelmed. And I wished in the deepest recesses of my heart, that the next time I’d be admitted in a hospital, I’d want to be getting a child, and not losing one. I really, really, deeply missed Jason. I longed for him, and the flashbacks of that day didn’t make that any easier.
This morning, the visiting minister at our staff devotions, Rev. Jesse Mwai, the Senior Pastor of CITAM Ngong, talked about God’s call in our lives. He talked about serving God faithfully, confidently and boldly. He talked about sharing God’s word not just from knowledge, but from our relationship and experience with God. Then we had a time to share what that message meant to us in relation to our work of ministry.
I battled with that message. Well, since I was about 10 years old, I wanted to be like Billy Graham or Reinhardt Bonnke when I grew up. In high school, the call was very clear in my life, from 2 Timothy 2:2: And what you’ve learnt from me, before many witnesses, entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. My mum even made a tune for that, and so as I type it out, it plays in my head as a song. Fast forward to FOCUS Kenya interviews, where one of the qualifications was a clear call to God’s work. After the rigorous interviews they took me through, I suppose that nails it, I am called.
But this morning I battled with that. It’s easy to do something good in return for a friend who’s been kind to you. It’s easy to want to go out of your way after they’ve made you feel good. But it is extremely difficult to do so if they’ve backstabbed you, or used your vulnerability to get at you.
And that’s exactly what I felt/feel about God, on and off. I know in my ‘knower’ that I want to live for Him and serve Him with all I’ve got. But after taking my son this year, or after allowing him to die yet He had the power to keep him alive, I find it excruciatingly hard to be passionate about His work, about Him. Yes, I still go to Him and cry out to Him when I need His support, because there is no better place I know; but I am honestly not excited about ‘doing His will’ or whatever other term that fits that role. It’s hard to be excited towards Him and His call when I feel so wounded, so offended, so turned against.
I know, the Bible talks about leaving our father, mother, children, etc to follow Christ, but I’m not sure it talks about God taking them away so that we can serve Him. Things He may take away, like in Job’s case, or Paul’s eyesight loss when he was still Saul, but why on earth would He take away people? Well, I know I was selective right there because He did take/allow the death of Job’s children, and He told Abraham to leave and just go to an unknown land, but that’s beside the point. There’s the part of free will, like the other place about God loving a cheerful giver, and the bible encouraging us to give according to what we have each purposed to give.
And that’s where my next point comes from. Because although I’m in the ministry, I feel that I want to give only so much – what’s required of me, meet the threshold, period. As for enthusiasm and going out of my way and all that stuff, no, not now. That’s not what I feel. And maybe feelings are not always wrong. But then again, maybe they are.
So what I’ve decided to do is really very simple. Follow logic. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. See what’s required of me in every area of my life, and give just that. As for going beyond the minimum, maybe not. Not because I don’t want to, not because I don’t care, but because I am overwhelmed, I am distraught. And I’m not so sure about going ‘all out’ right now.
Maybe this feeling that God ‘failed’ me is here to teach me something. Maybe the God who failed me is not the real God, maybe it’s my image of God that failed me. See, God was still on the throne when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, when Stephen was being stoned and when John was being beheaded. And He was still at the same place when His Son died on that cross. And when my son died in that ICU. Maybe the God I had in mind was a cuddly, embrace-y, coddling kind of a God. Maybe I didn’t see a ‘strong’ God who would stay on through the pain and beyond the pain. And maybe that’s what I need to see now, maybe. To know Him at this deeper level, and have a clearer understanding of how to live for Him and serve Him. And maybe, once again, what He wants isn’t excited little puppets dancing along, maybe; after all, it’s a faithful, consistent and bold steward who will serve Him even through and after the tough times, and say, like Job, “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”