Theme for the Session
  • Resources
  • Articles

STORMS AND PILLOWS

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 · Basics of Faith
Nothing can stop the tears falling down my cheeks in rapid succession. It’s like someone released a dam in my tear glands. I swipe furiously at the flow, hating myself for that moment of weakness and hating the world for being so evil. 
“Why couldn’t they have stolen from someone who had much more to spare? They took my last cash. How would I survive 2 weeks on just #40? No foodstuff, no money, nothing! God and you claim to love me o. You sat up there and did nothing when they were taking my money. Ah, this is unfair!”
I end my rant with a kick at one of the books strewn on the floor and I cuss as pain seeps through the bones and nerves in my right foot. I don’t even reprimand myself for cussing. Not today. Today is different.
My friend, Eniola, walks into my room with utter shock on her face. She’s surprised at the messed up state of my room and self. I turn around and announce that I won’t be going to church with her anymore. “What’s the point in going?” I ask. “It’s not like the person I’m going to meet gives two shits about me. They took my money again and he just stayed up there with his arms folded and did nothing! I’m not going o”, I say with a tone of finality and defiance. A look of confusion crosses her face. Who would blame her though? When she left me about 10 minutes before, my room and face looked completely normal. No tear streaked face, no books or clothes scattered on the floor and definitely no cussing God-doesn’t-care-about-me, Grace. All the while she’s standing there, trying to think of what to say, Oyinda (who’d been in my room the whole time, silently observing) looks at me with pity. Out of the corner of my eye, I see them both glance at each other, a silent agreement, they would give me some time to cool off.  
I continue to mutter under my breath how unhelpful God has been to me and how I was never going anywhere near him until he found a way to get me my monies back. All the while, I’m arranging my bed—actually shoving things off of my bed unto the floor—to create space to lie down and just forget everything. That’s when Eniola speaks up and says something I don’t want to hear albeit, undeniable:
“You can’t possibly mean what you’re saying, Grace. I’m sure you know God loves and cares for you. And you know how faithless you sound. You of all people should know that no matter what happens, God’s still got you. You can’t starve. That’s why he gave you friends. He won’t ever leave you dry and empty.”
I see Oyinda nod in agreement. “I’m still not going”, I murmur. 
“You’re going o, whether you like it or not. Even sef, this is the opportunity for you to go and para for him very well. Go there angry. You can scream and punch the wall without looking like a mad woman. Here, everybody will be wondering what’s going on. In church, it’s every man to his business.” Eniola ends her speech with a look of finality. “Fine!” I retort.
I wipe my face with a towel, oblivious to how swollen my eyes are from crying, and walk out of my room rehearsing how I’m going to shout at God. I bottle up all the rage and decide to unleash in church. “God won’t even know what hit him…” I think to myself. That’s when I realize that in my busyness and in the state of my clouded mind, I had forgotten to remember that God was and is ever faithful. In my brief moment of faithlessness, God had reached out to me and reminded me of how “Immanuel” he is. I feel an overwhelming sense of shame for thinking all the things I thought. Trust me I thought more horrible things than I said out loud that day.
That day was a storm, my boat rocked back and forth on those waters and with every creak and groan, I already pictured myself drowning. I had even succeeded in drowning myself in the waters of self pity. In the midst of that storm was a subtle reminder, in the image of Jesus sleeping, that though I got wet, I was never getting sunk because Jesus was with me in it, asleep on a pillow! 
That storm had an agenda, just like every other storm we might ever face. It wanted my awe. The realization that I didn’t have money and would have to be at the mercy of others or starve was so overwhelming that I was in awe of that situation. You wonder, “What does she mean by ‘the storm’s agenda is to get my awe’?” Here’s a simple explanation; the storm--the situation--wants you to be in awe of it. OK, that doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. The situation wants you to be in total amazement, wonder and terror of it that you forget that the only thing you should be in awe of is the sleeping divinity in your boat.
In recording accounts of that real life storm the disciples had found themselves, some had lost their faith, some had little faith and some even had no faith at all. They had given the storm their awe. It was after the storm had lapsed that they put their mis-placed awe back in Jesus Christ. 
There’s no denying that we’ve all been in situations like this. We’ve lost our faith in different situations. The storms may have been mild to some or wild to others. They’re still storms regardless. What do we do when we forget to remind ourselves of God’s promises of sufficiency and strength in our moments of weakness? First, like me, surrounded by people who would serve as constant reminders of God’s promises, surround yourself with people who’d remind you of God’s faithfulness. Friends go a long way in our Christian journey, there’s no denying that. And the more encouraging friends you have, the easier your life is. Also and most importantly, do all you can to never let the storm eclipse your faith. And like Jesus did when Jairus’ family brought the news of his daughter’s death (Mark 5: 35, 36), ignore all the voices of doubt, do not fear, only believe.
I didn’t starve to death like I thought I would. I wouldn’t be writing this if I did, right? The birds of the air and the lilies of the field both fed and clothed by God are not even as valuable as we are. Why worry? In the middle of anxiety is the letter ‘I’, signifying pride. Your worry is you saying you don’t trust God enough to help you in your storms. God knows all we need before we ask and he can do far more abundantly than we ask or imagine. Our imagination is pale in comparison to what God has in store for us. 
And as natural as it is to see lilies clothed in their white splendor, so is it natural that we are fed and clothed and satisfied. Worried that you might fail the coming exams? Worried that you might not get that scholarship? Worried that you might not get that dream job? Worried that you might not get that dream spouse? Worried that your life might not be what you want it to be? Worried about that divorce? Worried that that sickness would get the best of you? Quit your worrying. It’s not going to do anything. You have a higher chance of losing your mind from the constant worrying than you have of solving whatever problem you’re confronted with. Let God do his job. Your job is to trust him and stay in awe of the man who’s sleeping in the boat. 
I’m not in awe of him only because the wind and sea obey him, I’m in awe of him because the raging wind and sea do not wake him.                             
Return to all Articles Share Share
Previous Article ←
Valentine Lady