It will hurt, but you will feel better after

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A few weeks back I had a Spa session; the days preceding the session had me really excited. For some funny reason I had some body aches culminated in carrying my laptop in my handbag back to back to work. I finally got to the venue, and the routine started, occasionally falling in and out of sleep but midway I felt some ache on my back and I let out a scream. The masseuse touched some areas to get the exact spot causing the pain, and she found it as a result of my body movement. She found some stress lumps and went on to massage the area, Oh!!! It hurt real bad but she said something remarkable, “It will hurt but you will feel better after” and it happened that way. I do feel better.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with a spa session. Just stay with me a little longer. If you’ve recently made a life decision or about to make one, you may possibly have heard the following statement from well meaning people. Once you experience peace on the inside, it’s an indication you are making the right decision, an absence of peace means you’re on the wrong path. You see, while this statement may hold an element of truth it’s not applicable in every decision making venture. Two years ago I was at cross-roads in making a major decision in my life. A little history, I studied Metallurgical Engineering, I loved my Sciences with the exception of Biology. I was the student who had the funny combination of Further Math, Technical Drawing and History in high school. I graduated and worked in both a Telecommunication and Engineering firm. Everything seemed pretty normal, a paycheck at the end of the month, amazing colleagues but there was a desire for more and that more was an unknown territory.

I started the journey of going back to school for a Post-graduate degree and chose Peace and Conflict studies. It was insane, entirely off my Engineering trajectory, my dad, colleagues and friends asked why. Someone even asked me if I’ll ever get a job with that degree and did I mention I recently got promoted in the office with a raise in pay. While all these questions were going on on the outside, I had a major battle on the inside. It led to the post on Striking Out. I was scared, I stayed up nights thinking of the possible scenarios that could play out during and after my course, I spoke to people I respected, prayed, some days I thought I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Oh, and every form of peace disappeared in the months before my start date.

But I took the bulls by the horn, and went back to school and had the time of my life. Met amazing course mates, experienced what it meant to really take a stand for Jesus in an environment with people from various beliefs, went ahead to win the Nobel Peace Prize (not yet) Most likely to take over the world. But this is beyond the good stuff that happened. I’ve graduated and all glory to God, got a job in the same field. In the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of retrospection and I can’t help but marvel at how my life has turned out. Exactly two years ago I took the plunge into the unknown, the only lead I had was total dependence on God.

I’m not sure where you are in life, neither do I know if you are at cross-roads in making a life-changing-threatening-frightening decision. Please hear this from me, you’ll have the jitters, your heart beats can play the national anthem and you’ll be faced with lots of questions that you may begin to doubt yourself. But listen, even Moses who saw God’s awesomeness in the burning bush still needed a sign from God, even Gideon requested a sign from God twice “Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken. And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.“… Judges 6:36-39.

You are not alone, these men although they had heard from God were still freaked out at their assignments. Beyond what everyone says, you’ll be solely responsible for your decision. A few questions to guide you, what is your reason, what is your motive, what inspired you and above all commit it into God’s hands. I can’t say what will happen to me tomorrow but I choose to believe my steps are ordered, I may not see the entire road map for my life, I may not even know where to place my feet next but I’m learning to listen to the promptings of that Still-small voice. So like my spa session your decision-making may not be immediately gratifying but keep the big picture in mind, you’ll feel better and more fulfilled at the end.

Loads of Love

JMAD.

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Keep your hands raised

We are currently living in times where the division is so glaring; and that division has brought about differing opinions leading to crisis. But in the midst of all this division, football has remained a unifying factor. It remains one sport where every player on the field regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation have one thing in common which is to score a goal for their club or country. It’s really a sight to see the huge turnout of spectators in the stadium but what is more interesting is the reaction they give when their team scores a goal. From those shouting it’s a goal, to those with priceless expressions on their faces to thousands of hands lifted up; thinking about it now leaves a smile on my face.

There’s something about a lifted hand, it is not just peculiar to football or other sports. As a rule while swimming if you’re experiencing any form of drowning keep your hands up to float. Moses one of the greatest leaders in the Bible isn’t left out; Exodus 17 : 8-13 tells an amazing story. Israel was attacked by the Amalekites, although Moses instructed Joshua to select some men to go into battle, the victory they needed wasn’t found in the strength of the warriors rather something that seemed foolish in the sight of men. But hasn’t God told us He has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the wise, that’s exactly what Moses did. “It turned out that whenever Moses raise his hands, Israel was winning but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning…” Exodus 17:11-13 MSG.

Who would have imagined such an act to produce victory, but then again we serve a Living God whose ways are past finding out, the earth is His and all that is in it. One thing that still baffles non-believers is the concept of salvation, they can’t still wrap their mind around the fact that One Man, Jesus Christ paid the price of death by crucifixion and was resurrected and all we have to do is believe in His death and resurrection and we’ll be saved. They are wondering isn’t their supposed to be some hard labour to make it to heaven but thank God we are not saved by works. This is seen in the battle of the Israelites, to the natural eyes the battle was taking place on the field with arrows and swords but an over-riding force done by just one man was influencing hundreds of people.

Someone who came around when Moses’ hands were dropped would probably have left thinking the Amalekites won but that’s a lesson for us all, don’t be too hasty in drawing conclusions for the end of a thing is better than the beginning, neither is the race to the swift. Moses was wise enough to take two people with him, in our walk here on earth we need each other, and no one is an island. Ecc 4:9 sums it up “two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed”.  Imagine for a second the outcome of the battle if Moses went up the hill alone? We need more relationships that enable us keep our hands up when we are tired because those days will surely come. And when I say raised hands it’s beyond the physical hands but rather a sign of total surrender to God and belief in His already won victory. Our hands are raised up even when we are sick, when we at cross-roads, when we are hard-pressed on every side, when it looks like the world is caving in on us. Yes!!! Through all of that our hands are still raised because we believe He who started the good work in us never abandons it half-way.

As long as you believe in Jesus Christ, you’re in the winning team, we stay winning all through. The journey to victory may not be a bump-free ride but we know we can never loose in our Christian walk. The ultimate question is, what is your definition of victory and whose definition are you living by? May we not get distracted with what is happening around us but keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Prayerfully align yourself with those who can “raise your hands” for you and equally be a hand-raiser for someone else. See you on the winning lane.

Loads of Love

JMAD