Lol. Don't judge me.
Since I was little, I always wanted to control things, maybe walk on water or even move mountains. You know make it rain when I wanted it to, make NEPA or PHCN supply power when I fancied, and stuff like that. In nursery school, my teacher taught me a song. She said a star will fall if I sang it late at night. I got so excited, I mean, who wouldn't. When I got home, I sang the song so enthusiastically that all the stars just might have fallen. You can't imagine how heartbroken I was when I found out stars weren't really star-shaped twinkly cute objects that sat in space. Worse was when I found out stars were way bigger than earth. I think that's when my distrust for people started.
A few years later, my family and I went to visit a zoo. I had just learned about faith, about how I could make things happen if I believed they would. So it began to rain right? And of course, I needed to practice my faith. Ironically, I actually didn't think that just believing something would happen would make it happen.
Realizing how silly I would sound if I commanded the rain to stop, I authoritatively whispered: "I command you stop raining, In Jesus name". LOL (I'm so embarrassed for myself). I can't imagine how ridiculous I was. I mean!! Who whispers authoritatively? Maybe you can.
My customized version of faith
I always thought faith was commanding or wishing things to be. I just learned this year that, all these are definitely not faith. It took me a long time to understand it. It caused me a lot of distrust in God, a lot of pain and wounds because I'd believe so much for something to happen and it wouldn't. I couldn't understand why it didn't. I mean, I believed! When declaring the things I wanted, I asked in the name of Jesus, so why didn't it work?
I used to stay with my aunt (she's an amazing woman by the way) and commute to work every day. My workplace was quite a distance from home, and the traffic in Lagos was excruciating to sit through. What made it all worse was that I used to commute in damfos. The buses that were available at my office's vicinity were a lot narrower than the regular damfos. You can imagine being sandwiched between the armpits of sweaty people, on a bus that had poor ventilation and having to sit there for about two to three hours because of traffic.
It wouldn't have been as torturous if that was all. Most times, the driver drove as if he had just smoked pot, and the already tired passengers would haul insults on the driver and anyone who dared to piss them off.
My will be done
It was a nightmare, trust me. So, I decided that it was probably time to rent a place close to my office and also get a car; not that I had enough money to afford these luxuries. So I did what I knew to do. I prayed about it. Did I bother to ask God what he thought? Nope. I mean why would he be against it? I just had faith that I would get them. Because I had faith, I started looking for a good car that I could buy and a place to rent on the internet. I got so obsessed about finding the right place, all I could do was daydream about life in my perfect studio apartment. I found a particular suite that was so, so cute. Right beside it was a resort that had a gym, a swimming pool, and a bar. I mean, really, what could beat that? Seriously, if it was faith? I had a lot of it. Every time I drove by the apartment, I'd tell everybody that it was my house and I'd live there someday.
Finally, my dad agreed to get me a car, and I saved up enough money to rent an apartment. Everything seemed to be working fine. So, I decided it was time to tell my parents about my plan to rent a place. They became hysterical. They thought I was rushing things, so, they suggested that I wait for the right time and look for a housemate. The problem was that our definition of the right time always differed.
Because I love them so much, I decided to look for people who were willing to rent an apartment in the same vicinity I was interested in. Fortunately, I found two people. Although we had different budgets, we were headed off to a great start. We went all in, I mean! We browsed all the websites for real estate apartments and got a list of agents that had houses within our budget. And then began the house hunt.
We found a great place, a newly finished apartment located in a nice neighborhood, with great electricity supply and clean water (everybody knows clean water in Lekki is like gold, if you didn't, you just found out). We were even able to beat the cost down to a reasonable price.
Just when I thought nothing could go wrong, one person bailed out. I was so close to getting everything, yet things didn't fall into place. The apartment's value was still too high for her funds. Whenever I found a car online, it got sold before my dad could even have someone check it out. I was obviously doing something wrong. I would doubt and then have faith, and then despair and have courage again. It was a maddening cycle. For some reason, God just seemed so far off. I wondered if he could really hear me. I had worked myself into frustration. At that point, I had more questions than faith. After a while, I just gave up. I let everything go.
Whenever I sit for too long, I get really restless, so I liked the idea of ushering during church service. I loved the concept of walking around and helping people, and besides, I needed to make friends at church. Few weeks after I started ushering, I stopped obsessing about my needs (I had other things to keep me distracted). However, I had another tini wini issue. I had to be at church at 7:00 am, and my church was farther than my workplace. Commuting all the way from my aunt's to church by 6:30 am was a big hurdle. Hence, I had to spend Saturday nights at my uncle's so I could get to church early enough to usher. His place was closer to church. It worked, and I enjoyed serving. I decided to give out money I had saved for rent, and not worry about the house and car again.
Funny enough, after a month someone resigned from my workplace, and his room at the company's apartment became available. So just like that, I had a place that I wouldn't have to pay rent for. I could usher without any difficulty. I got a car seven months after I got the room. The car came just in time. It came when I got posted to another church expression which was further away from home. You see, everything worked out. But not the way I thought it would.
Let's talk bible
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
It is the belief in God for the things I hope for (which should be according to his will), and my confidence must be in God. Faith isn't the belief that things will happen the way I desire they will.
James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
The Bible says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Most times we get disappointed when we don't obtain what we hope for, and we are tempted to think God doesn't love us. We get weird thoughts, sometimes, we go as far as reasoning God doesn't exist. My favorite illustration of faith was Abraham's. The impossibility of it all. Sarah was old and barren, and God wasn't known by many people. So, there were no testimonies for him to hold on to. They were both old, and Abraham had already waited a long time. Still, he believed.
The confusion of it all
We confuse having deeds with doing everything in our might. Our acts are to be in accordance with our faith and not a replacement.
Sometimes I catch myself worrying about what my future would be. But I have to believe that God has something amazing in store for me even if my present circumstances don't indicate it. My hope has to be in God's unfailing love; the fact that he fancies me too much to plan a mediocre life for me. Faith is hoping in God to fulfill his word, and God has a word for each season. Sometimes it's "Stay"; other times it's "Fight, I have gone ahead of you"; it can also be "Wait"; or it may be "Let go". The tricky part is we may be holding on to a word that's not for our current circumstance and hoping that somehow God will fulfill it. When nothing happens, we despair. However, there are times it may be the right word, but the time for its manifestation has not come, just like Abraham's promise. It may take years to come to be. Faith is not about you leading God, it is about believing God will lead you and fulfill in his own time and power all he said he would.
It may require you wait and trust God, the wait could be for years!!! I'm going to do some small amebo! So today en (in my most Nigerian voice), I was talking to a friend the Spirit led me to make. She was telling about one of her colleagues, whose wife passed during childbirth. And how he prayed for her from 7:00 am to 5:00 am (the next day). Guess what? She came back to life. Honestly, I admire his faith, I'm sure people must have thought he was mad or must have tried to talk him out of it. But he didn't give up.
So often, we listen to naysayers and get so concerned with what people will think. Faith is about having one mind; the same you know that a blue pen is blue, and no matter how many people tell you otherwise you know it's blue. That's how faith works, you can't nurture doubt. Peter tried it, he almost drowned. You must believe completely.
James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
No trust, no faith
When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac - the very promise of God. I'm still so amazed that he actually obeyed. I'd probably be thinking I was hearing God wrong (like God if that was you let my mom call at 6:00 pm). Or I'd quote scriptures to remind God of his promise and probably throw in a fast so I can hear clearly. Abraham didn't question God, he obeyed, even if his obedience to God would cost him the very promise he had waited years to receive. He trusted God completely. This, this is faith!
The question is, "Do you trust God enough?". Regardless of how long the wait is, or how impossible it seems. Do you trust him when he rejects your request? Beyond reasons and logic, do you believe him?