Due to some recent events in my life, lately I have been questioning myself – What do I really own? What is really mine? I realised the answer is nothing, but that which God has given me. Everything comes from Him. Nothing has originated from me. I am not the creator and not the originator. What God has put into me, flows out and I make use of. Everything is a gift from Our Heavenly Father. But nothing is mine. Nothing under the sun.
During my daily Bible reading (I am reading the Old and New Testament together, chronologically), I came across this phrase by Job that struck me:
Job 1:21 And he said:
“ Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
This is all of us. We are born naked and die naked, we take nothing with us. Sadly, we leave even the ones we love behind. Well hopefully our generation will be the one to be taken up in the clouds (let the Lord’s will be done). This attitude of Job makes me want to cry, because I have realised how different my attitude has been in the past.
I have questioned God sometimes to the point of saying out in frustration, “Lord do You really care? Are You really there?” But something has changed in me. Now I have learnt to say, Lord you break me, nevertheless Lord I praise You.
This is a verse that my favourite teacher reminded me of:
Job 13: 15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
A Recent Loss
I recently lost a dear brother and friend in Christ, Ryan Netto. He had visions to set the city on fire for God. He had much zeal to turn the lost into the saving knowledge of Jesus. His loss came as a major shock. To be honest, I am still shocked. This was a man who lived and breathed for God’s Kingdom. He set his sights on only one goal, building the body of Christ. News came in on December 24, 2010 at 9 pm, that Ryan had succumbed to injuries and was no more. He left his family behind, so unexpectedly. We were not prepared for this. I questioned God, “Was this You Lord?” No answer. I said, “God this time, unlike in the past I will praise You, but You have to come in and move. I am speechless and I do not want to do or say anything. I just want to trust You. But what about his family?”
Since, then I have seen His presence move and comfort everyone in the most miraculous way. I could see His healing balm cover our grief. He strengthened us all, family and friends. At Sunday church, two days after the incident, it was overwhelming to see his wife and children stand so strong, it encouraged me. God spoke to Ryan’s mother that very morning, and she shared it with us at Church. She read:
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
The evangelical initiative that was started by this dear friend Ryan continues. Each one of us encouraged by his passion and comforted as well as persuaded by the Spirit of God. My Lord is a living God. He may not give us the answers that we expect or work out our lives the way we want. But He knows best.
Look to Jesus
When its hard for you to swallow circumstance and hard for you to understand loss, I recommend you look to Jesus. Mainly His death on the Cross and the hours preceding His arrest.
God knows our pain. He gave up His only begotten Son Jesus remember? Many times I have fallen into the grind of the world that believes God is a big man up there who treats us like lego and does things to us according to His whims and fancy. NO WAY. That’s not the Lord I worship, the One who created the heavens and the earth. He loved me so much, that He gave His own precious beloved Son, who didn’t deserve to leave all his comforts in heaven to walk the earth as a human and then die a ghastly death. Now you tell me, was that fair? No, it wasn’t, but He did it for us. Our Father in Heaven does love us. What more does He need to prove this with? You and I were saved from an eternity of torment by His sacrifice.
God is acquainted with grief
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
He bore our grief. Jesus bore it for us. Let us not mourn like others who have no hope. We, who have abandoned everything to follow Jesus, have a hope. A hope of heaven, where all our dear ones in Christ will meet us again. Where there is no pain, no hurt, no disease, no sorrow. A promise beyond our imagination.
Is there anything you are holding back?
We all get so tied up in the ways of the world. We worry about what to eat, what to drink, what to wear. Jesus warns us not to worry ourselves with these things as God the Father has promised to provide. If you don’t believe this, I challenge you to try it out.
Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
From my own life, I can say. When my salary did not provide, He did. When I was worried that people will mock my empty wallet, He filled it in the most unexpected ways. I testify with all my heart that He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. So all comes from Him. It is all His: my job, the house, food, salary, vehicle, clothes and accessories, electronics and everything we can see or experience. When you start to realise that you are nothing but poor, weak, non-existent and naked, you learn to praise God for He gave us good things freely. He gives it out by grace to both the wicked and the righteous. But hey, there is one thing we can call our own, it is Him, my Jesus. He came to become yours. Do you realise what you have?
I only have Jesus, but that’s all I need. Rest all is vanity, fading and fleeting