I was wrapped in silence amidst an intense battle with sleep when the pastor said “God can’t help you without your faith’’. Definitely, I didn’t agree but weeks later, another pastor said he was never sad, depressed nor sorrowful. He opined those expressions give room to unbelief and gives the devil room into our lives.

I don’t agree with either of them. The God in heaven according to the psalmist in Psalms 103:14, he says, “He knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.” That shows that God knows our limitedness in scope, depth and ability. I will give some examples below to buttress my point.

When Moses died in Deuteronomy 34: 8, bible tells us that the children of Israel mourned for thirty days. During that time, they didn’t move. God didn’t issue any directives. It was a solemn moment in the camp. He understood they were in a sorrowful time. He let them express their sadness and weakness as they broke down crying. He could have instructed them to pick themselves up and move on after all, Moses might be gone but he wasn’t gone. He chose Moses, he could choose another. But God understood.

When God rejected Saul in 1 Samuel 15, the prophet Samuel courageously looked King Saul in the eye and told him that God has rejected him and given the kingdom to his neighbor. Interesting, in the next chapter of the same book, Samuel was mourning for Saul when God told him to go to the house of Jesse, there he would anoint a king. At that moment, the humanity in Prophet Samuel was laid bare. He transformed from a tough speaking prophet to a mere mortal like the rest of us. Samuel asked God ‘’How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” Ironically, this was the same Saul whom Prophet Samuel looked in the eye and told “God has rejected you”.  Our gracious God didn’t get angry with Prophet Samuel; he made an alternative for him. He told him to take an animal with him and go sacrifice so if Saul queries his whereabout, he should say he was going to sacrifice. God wasn’t disappointed. He simply understood.

Moses was tendering his father in law’s flock in the wilderness when God appeared to him in form of a burning bush. Later, he was instructed to go Egypt to rescue the Israelites. Moses reminded God that he was a stammerer, as if God forgot. God assured him that he will be with his mouth. Moses wasn’t convinced. God reminded him that he was the one who created the mouth and he will be with it. Again, Moses was still not convinced. Our merciful God then asked his brother Aaron to go with him as mouthpiece. At that point, Moses heaved a sigh of relief. It is interesting to note that, in Egypt, we were not told anytime when Aaron told Pharaoh “thus says the Lord……”  Moses did all the speaking.  God indeed kept his word by being with Moses’ mouth.

I could go on and on about various bible heroes and how God dealt graciously with them inspite of their human frailties. So next time it hurts, cry. God answers the prayer of a sorrowful spirit. Ask Hannah. The mother of Samuel. When shit happens and you want to ask God questions, please do. Sometimes, I doubt if I would get answers; not because I lack faith but because I know that God will answer an undeserving fellow if he wants to.  We can’t dictate to God whom to answer and whom to ignore.

I don’t know about faith being a guarantee for answered prayers but I know that sometimes, I was too weighed down to believe; just like Peter, I considered the storm but despite that, God came through for me… He understands.

Image via Good Guy Swag

Responses

  1. MIA
    Thanks for this…. I have been going thru a tough time and find it hard to say a prayer, even the Lord’s prayer, its good to know God understands.
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    1. Dickson
      Try Hannah’s prayer technique. Bible said she prayed with her lips moving but words were not heard…
      He understands…
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  2. fabsomebody
    God knows that sometimes we may be too wrapped up or in soo much pain or we just think we are undeserving but His grace is sufficient for us all and thats why He answers. He promised to never leave us nor forsake us didn’t he?
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  3. H.B
    so many false things the church preaches but these past few months i am getting to understand my faith myself in a non christian way so i wont lose my mind. I was the typical church girl, i went o church everyday at least, before i stopped…they tell you, God will reward you when you give your whole life to him, your days, go to church everyday, be a worker, he will reward u. they r even so quic to point out how many people got rewarded. then you bbecome self righteous unconsciously, then they tell u to not be, cause u dont deserve it by being good, but be good, he will def reward u. sigh. how i was sorely disappointed. He pleases to bless who he wants.

    And then i slip and stop coming to church so much or workers meetings, i hear stuff like “sister remember why u joined the work force” “sister there is nothing he cant do,dont stop your service, you are backsliding” “sister snap out of it”! so many things so wrong with all those statements but i shall not rant..

    I will find God for myself, that i am sure of!

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    1. Dickson
      Thanks for sharing. I suggest we all strive to be like the Berea Christians who we were told about in Acts 17:10-11.
      They received the word with willingness of heart and after the sermon; they would go back to cross check whether those things are true.
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    2. Mimi
      that’s what happened to me, around 2 years ago, i started reading the bible and my church attendance drastically dropped (from what it had dropped to before) there were many other issues, but it just seemed like Christians are out here quoting and interpreting things that were never meant to be interpreted that way, then i got scared like, what church is going to have it right? i started reading books on how to unlearn some “christian” things, all these believe-it-claim-it gospels, have faith for being rich and what not… and when i read the bible myself… i realised finally that God doesn’t care (deeply) about how good you’ll live it up on earth, if earthly suffering /poverty for your entire is the only way he sees you’ll be able to enter heaven with your personality, best believe that’s what you’re going to get, because God is about eternity, about how he’ll get you to eternity, not this “as short as a breath” life that we got here. whatever reward is in the bible is totally not the rolling in money, human being are thinking it to be, it’s eternal life, that’s the major promise, it’s not good health, money, a huge house, a great job, it’s eternal life and the things to do with it. but the churches be changing the gospel, rather than promises relating to eternity we change it to mean success on earth, pastors used to come to our church and talk about how when they started serving God he brought them out of poverty, they now have two jeeps, they have land, if you believe the promise of God! you too can claim it, i used to say amen, i recieve it, that my faith is the only thing that moves God’s will (as opposed to God being the only one that moves God’s will), when i read the truth, i got a little bit dissapointed, when i read about “men make plans but only his prevails” i almost got mad with God cos…wow…we are only humans after all, people be preaching like they are just a little bit below God… but nope… we are far away from him. then i couldn’t pray anymore… cos wow, God can do anything he wants, these christians had me believing i could move him for money, great scores (don’t get me wrong, pray for those things, pray for strength…but they are not the ultimate promises or even promised in the bible, every promise relate to your well being in eternity.

      then i went back to these preachings and now just feel empty, they talking about riches and my mind is just done, like what is this nonsense… i even unlearned “Mystiticsm” as well, like where i believed feeling tingly was the holy spirit moving, or that a feeling of peace mean a decision i was about to make was right (the human heart is decietful o), at one point i used to believe that i wasn’t saved cos i couldn’t speak in tongues (the emphasis placed on tongues is amazing), just until two years ago did i learn that all you need to do to be saved, ALL… is believe… like that is literally the only requirement, but our churches have placed so much on emphasis on works, that we now think a woman with a short skirt is going to hell? revealing cleavage, hell! we have become judgemental (i don’t mean telling someone that something is sin, but telling someone where they are going after death based on the two seconds you saw of them, or their clothing). when the pastor used to say to the church, where do you think you’ll go if Jesus came now… i used to try and think if my good works outweight the bad by 51 to 49% , at 21, i realised the full meaning of being offered salvation by grace alone so that no one could boast, now if he asks that question, i will ask myself if i really believe and have faith.

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      1. H.B
        nailed it when he said they be playing on emotions, and you just explained my feelings properly, not like i read any books, just the natural unlearnin process. they actually frigging feed on your pain. they talk about works the whole damn time and your rewards and how you cannot be weak…how he brought them out of poverty! ahhh i suffered! i remeber how I was constantly plagued by sickness and some idiots(forgive me) made me believe i was not having enough faith or i was sinning! I was crying in public. i kept saying “he’s not going to do anything” and they made me look like lucifer (this was at a christian program) cos at that point i was mad and angry at God. They broke bread on my head there and then, i still got up from my seat and still praised and hailed baba God and of course the sickness didnt magically go away till i finished my dose and i was back at the hospital two months later. My collegues call me “sikirat” lol. i got supplements to boost my immune system instead and tried to just better my health. i still have a surgery im afraid to go for, i have prayed, fasted and communioned the thing away e nor gree, i have peptic ulcer, angina, etc lol and i have refused to go down the science route for years cos of these beliefs i kept swallowing. THANK GOD for enlightenment!! i will just die one day and get to the gate of H and i will be asked “who send u to suffer yasef!”.. after praying for a car for yearsss based on how i suffer to get to church all the time and how im a good ghe, but using my money to buy crap, i just saved up instead, and instead i am praying i get a good deal with my money! I can say my life has been so much less depressing since i stopped “casting all my worries upon him” and just dealt with life as a realist with the knowledge that God loves me and his will shall be done, sikena!
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        1. Mimi
          People want to holify and mystify everything at all costs, don’t want to believe that God is in the unspectacular, simple looking, normal stuff too, the fact that we have drugs, surgery those are answers to prayers, that drugs can interact with the human body to reduce pain and heal, God is there too. but there will be churches out there who accuse you for not waiting for magical instant healing. many people have suffered because of that nonsense (I read an actual story of someone who got cancer but did not get treatment because they refused and went to do spiritual stuff instead), drugs, saving money, doing the stuff that’s in your power to get what you want is not a lack of faith, its what you’re supposed to do, trust is supposed to be for the moments when things seem impossible… thats why faith/trust is needed. When your prayers are answered, earthly people and things are used to do it, it might all look normal too, the way he answers.

          Your car story reminds me of my hair story, I prayed since I was maybe 5 till I was 18, trying to have faith like a mustard seed (lol) at 18 I realised that with the atrocious way id been treating my hair, it was actually a surprise there was hair on my head, but would those churches have said that to me? Nah, theyd be like my faith is not enough thats why my hair is still short. Faith is not the only factor here, God’s will is one like you said and the other is us sitting down to “wait on God”.

          I still cast my worries on him, but anything within my power to do, I do it, I dont cast my worries and then chill there saying I have “faith”, when I’m worried about an exam I pray then I read, when ive got a weird headache that won’t leave, I pray then I pop some pills and see the doctor. whether the drug works or the headache dissapears on its own, God made both cases happen.

          Im glad you didnt leave God though, when some realise the truth, they think its God fault and then they leave, reminds me of when Jesus was accusing the pharisees of making people more ready for hell than they were in the first place,(mt 23:15)… putting all these burdens that are not meant to be, so that we almost collapse under them, to the point you think Jesus is joking when he says come to me my burden is easy and my yoke is light (mt 11:35)

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          1. Engoz
            I like your use of the word ‘unlearn’. With the way I think and my line of profession, I could easily become an atheist. But one thing I like about myself is that I do not follow the band-wagon on what is trendy. I had to read my Bible over the years (especially Paul’s text) and was able to unlearn what has been enforced on me and analyze the scriptures with my God given brain. Christians don’t read their bibles and that is the problem. During the debate between the apostles on circumcision, this was the verdict to the gentiles in Act 15

            19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

            24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

            This is what is expected from we gentiles. When I see today’s pastors trying to mingle Jewish customs like tithes and first-fruits into the church, it makes me question where this was practiced in the early church. Where did we see the apostles policing tithes and first-fruits? Every Christian is entitled to do what they want with their money, if they intend to give tithes that is their business, but to police it the way churches are doing that is akin to armed robbery.

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  4. Berry

    Even sarah doubted when she was told she would have a son at her old age, that didn’t stop the baby from coming…
    This is really inspiring.
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  5. Jude
    Truth be said….majority of the churches out there just play in the emotions of people who seek to find a better solution to their problems……I do always say not everybody will be rich hence we need to understand that,God is really a just God. He knows how to meet with everyone needs…faith on the other hand is a great tool but the same Bible says what is faith without works……like one comment read.. Be like the Berea Christians…search the scriptures,but then do not forsake the gathering of the saints too… Going to church will only mean so much if the man standing behind that pulpit is able to feed your souls…….bftchurch.org
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  6. Morris
    The post is all about the truth. I, however, feel like, it could have used a much more appropriate title. The ’21st century church’ is as flexible as can be. I think some pastors just try to use the words to suit their believes. May I also add that they are human beings and honestly, No one wants to be responsible for you backsliding all in the name of not being rigid. I do not agree that God is ‘Flexible’, I however agree that God cares and understands.
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  7. Simi
    Hmm.the write up is a good one. Yes God knows we are human and sometimes he lets us go through some things so we can learn from that experience which in the future if you are patient enough would see the reason why it happened. God loves us in our weaknesses and in every single thing we do. As christians, i do not think it is right to judge what one church does or what one church is not doing. Serve God for yourself, know God for yourself and have a personal relationship with him. Your pastor is just there as God’s servant to lead you, do not base your relationship with God on your pastor or anyone in church. Until you have a personal relationship with God, what a church says or what a pastor does would not affect your service to him.
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  8. Uzy
    Nice piece though I would have preferred if there was a comparison between what God is and how rigid the 21st century church is. It’s all good. Bravo!
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  9. Ufuomaee
    Nice post, Dickson! I was expecting to read more about how inflexible the Church is, but you really gave a lesson on how gracious God is. Good one 🙂
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  10. seeyou

    Amazing article Dickson and I’m not even a christian.
    Isn’t it ironic that Od’s comment is conspicously absent in a beautiful article like this?
    If it were fire and brimstone topics, you would see him all out, guns blazing.
    Pharisees! The lot of them. You guys lack a distinct trait of your saviour: love, compassion, empathy.
    And please, save your temple flogging story for your church members.
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