Letting Go, Losing All, and the Opportunity of Finding God

Sometimes in life, it becomes necessary for us to let go of things. And it is all the more difficult to convince ourselves to let go of those things that we consider as given by God.

Jeremiah was dealing with such a generation. The opportunities to repent were not used by the people. Therefore, God had decreed that they would have to go out of their land, the promised land, for a period of time.

It is not that we have a God who sits up there and arbitrarily displaces people.

The people were clinging to the land without fidelity to God. And in the compromising of their covenant with the LORD God, they ended up over exploiting the land resources and also crushing their fellow inhabitants, particularly the poor and the helpless.

The people were clinging to the land thinking that they will never lose anything and that nothing is ever going to change.

However, we find God laying down clear guidelines for life and death:

“Thus says the LORD: Behold I have set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in the city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war.” (Jer. 21:8,9)

The summary is, let go of all that you have and surrender yourself to your enemy. The sovereign power of God is such that, when you have nothing and are at the mercy of your enemies, God is able to sustain you.

As the people of Judah had to, we also may be required to let go of things very dear and essential. And, it is in thus letting go of what we have that our hands are finally freed and God hopes that we will reach out again for God and cling on to Him instead. As difficult as it to convince our earthly minds, it is then that we truly reach home, though we become wanderers here.

Clinging to God is not our last hope; rather, it is the very destiny that we were created for.



Not Alone

What do you do about the situation where the heavy cross that you carry seem to be a very dull and heavy question mark instead???

When you, in your thinking or rather feelings, change from a cross bearer to a confounded pilgrim. When you start questioning the meaning of it all. And the answers do not amount to much.

Why God?

How long?

Why me?

Will you?

These and many more questions taunt and wear us down.

The good thing is, Jesus very well understands our pain and apprehensions, and the state of our over stretched imaginations that may be at the point of snapping off. Also, He is not so much for giving us the snap answers that many well meaning people offer us in good measure.

He is there with us in the journey of pain. He identifies with us in our moment of shame. He is there with us and for us.

Now, how can you write about the silent presence of the omnipotent Savior in our journey of pain? How can we preach or teach on that.

But, He is there, in all His might, and science, and presence. Yes, it is our journey of pain. But, isn’t it He who is carrying us on His loving shoulders.

We have with us at all times and especially in our painful moments – the silent presence of the all powerful One.

God’s Promises are True

God fulfils His promise to us. Nevertheless, while waiting, we seriously feel, “Where is God?” and “Will His promises ever come to pass?”

After four centuries in Egypt, that became a great and oppressive bondage for the people of Israel and even after many interventions by God through Moses, many people would have thought, “Where is all this headed.” But then there came the time of their deliverance.

Hopelessness and gloom gave way to a new dawn.

And when the time to go came, it came rushing them all. As they moved out of Egypt, in great haste and their numbers being so great, they were truly carried by God as if on the wings of eagle.

For those of us waiting upon God for His promises to be fulfilled – the exodus testifies that a time will definitely come when it will all be fulfilled. In fact the ‘words’ of the promise will rush towards fulfillment, carrying us along.

Another thing that happened there is that the LORD kept watch over them to bring them out of the land of Egypt. So also when the promise gets fulfilled it will be under the direct watch of God. He will Himself see us through our darkest days and the deepest pits.


The Importance of Being Grateful.

Those of us who are following Jesus Christ are also, sadly to say, concerned about many other things. One of them is regarding our position in the scheme of things. We are fighting to be the greatest at some level or the other. In our own circle we want to better others. For some this becomes even intoxication. They are seeking or craving their next high in achievements, conquests, and thus subduing others. Because it happens in the realm of faith and is clothed in the garb of spirituality, it is very difficult to identify the flaw.

The disciples of Jesus also had such episodes and Jesus promptly showed them the way, the true way to live and follow Him. Mark, the evangelist, presents the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus just after one such narrative. So the scripture passage where Jesus deals with the disciples’ ‘quest for greatness’ is immediately followed by a virtual nobody, a blind beggar Bartimaeus, being healed and who gladly follows the Lord.

Today, are you too concerned about your position in life, though you also happen to be following Christ? Or, are you glad that your eyes have been opened and so you are indeed following Him with a grateful heart?


The Perils of Forsaking God and Trusting Human Help

When we find that a task or challenge is beyond us we are on the look-out for alliances. The problem is that we just do not know what can become of such alliances in the future. Equations do change. When things go bad, we tend to say that our calculations have gone wrong.

What happens when we cultivate friendship, that too in our desperation, at the expense of our fellowship with God?

With that question, I would like to explain that – there are three ways to face insurmountable problems:

  1. Draw near to God and be led by Him.
  2. Do your best, and when your efforts fall short, seek help from others.
  3. Form alliances and face it together.

In the history of Israel and Judah we find them God’s people many times deciding to avoid God and rather try out the alliance options.

Now let us consider some more questions:

  1. Can any alliance help us when God has resolved otherwise?
  2. Can we trust 100% that the ally itself will not go against us?

Jeremiah utters an important and prophetic word –

“What will you say when they set as head over you

Those whom you yourself have taught to be friends to you?” (Jer. 13:21)

Drifting away from God they cultivated friendships and finally ended up in servitude. The people who were welcomed as friends afterwards became invaders themselves.

Nobody ever stands to gain by neglecting the relationship with God and trying to cultivate other relationships with the expectation that they will help.

Such may help in the short term, but you stand every chance of coming under their servitude.

God is your friend for all seasons and your only true and faithful ally.



When Your Problem Flares Up….

You are somehow very convinced that it is the time for God’s move. That your prayers have been answered and that your problems will be over very soon. You feel the promises of God beginning to be realized or being fulfilled and you feel so much better. However, to your surprise, the problem just flares up and kind of knocks off your faith. You feel knocked out and overwhelmed.

Moses and Aaron had convinced the people of Israel and rallied them in the faith that God is going to deliver them. With the elders Moses went and spoke to the Pharaoh. But, their newfound confidence was dashed to pieces when Pharaoh flatly and mockingly refused to heed. Moreover, he also ordered that their labors be made harsher by not providing them the straw for making bricks which they would have to fend for themselves.

Did all this affect Moses? Yes, he had his own little time of disillusionment. But God was steadfast in assuring His deliverance.

“When Moses spoke to the people of Israel, they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” (Exodus 6:9)

Broken spirit. Harsh slavery. No longer listening.

What can become of a people that are broken in their spirit within the bondage of harsh slavery and who refuse to listen to what the man of God has to say?

Taken as a hypothetical question, it is a very hopeless situation indeed. However, for the people of Israel in Egypt – though they had hit the rock bottom and had lost all hope – God did deliver them.

To the person struggling to survive yet another day under the difficult and merciless yoke of your problem; maybe your problem has just magnified itself against you – breaking your spirit. Nevertheless, God is at work.

It will be just as He has said.


Becoming Useful

Let us take part in the fellowship meetings purposefully. Every person can add value to the body of Christ by making it a point to bring some gift, purposefully and meaningfully, to the fellowship gatherings or church services.

It is very clear that there are a variety of gifts and the call upon us are diverse. However, many are restraining themselves from contributing or doing their part due to various reasons. The church is truly strengthened when each person adds value in their own unique and special way.

Let us look forward to take something that we can to the people of God. It can be a teaching, a psalm, or a song. It can also be a word of comfort to someone in pain, or an assurance of prayer for someone struggling. It can be a sharing of physical resources with one in need or an offer of assistance to the one slogging it out.

Every person that is blessed in the context of fellowship or the church service results in the glory of the One who is building the church, His own church that is. That contribution from you makes the church all the more strong and beautiful.

However, carrying forth our gift to the people brings with it the risk of rejection. We may offer and that may be rejected or the gift may not serve the intended purpose. That also creates the possibility of being mocked, rebuked, or having to listen to discouraging talks. Yes, it is far easier and safer to not venture out to others at all. And that is the problem with the church today – with all those blessed and gifted people playing it very safe for themselves.

Fear not, God is with you. Bring your gift and add value to the body of Christ. Impact many or impact one. Reach out to many or reach out to one. No act in true love is ever insignificant. Do it all for the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


When you are moved by your problem….

When your problems move you to tears let them also move you to Jesus Christ.

A mother had nowhere else to go other than to Jesus because her little daughter was tormented by an unclean spirit. And she heard from Jesus Himself that His advent had a limited scope. The taking of Jesus to the ends of the world was to happen later. But her crisis required urgent attention. So without missing a beat she also made it equally clear in the very same vein that she had made no mistake in coming to Jesus.

Jesus speaks deliverance for her little daughter who was not even there. And she goes back home to find “the child lying in bed and the demon gone” (Mark 7:30).

No matter what your problem is and no matter where the storm’s eye of your problem is located, tell the Lord about it all. Be persistent in seeking Him and asking for His favor. Now that your problem has brought you to Jesus, stay there till He consoles you. He will indeed console you.

He will console you and tell you that your problem is resolved. Will you not then be going back to find that it is just as He told you?


Clear Conscience, Even in a Storm of Problems

Job was in the darkest pit of his life problems and he had this to say –

“God … has taken away my right and the Almighty, has made my soul bitter.” (Job 27:2)

But then he also goes on –

“As long as my breath is in me,

And the spirit of God is in my nostrils,

My lips will not speak falsehood,

And my tongue will not utter deceit….

Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.” (Job 27:3-5)

So here we see a totally broken man in extremely great anguish, who does not have answers to the many questions haunting him. One thing is very clear though – his devotion to God and dedication to live upright was not a means for temporal gains.

Human character is severely tested when one is made to experience great happiness and extreme sorrow. And Job had the distinction of going through the extreme limits on both sides of that spectrum.

God knew his heart that he was not after Him for happiness. That he was truly devoted and dedicated to live upright.

When our own world collapses and we find ourselves miserable, more so for not having answers to the very many questions – we stand at a decisive point in our life. On the one hand we have this choice before us that is taken by many who blame God and give up on their faith, or we can choose to go the way of Job and remain committed to God in faith.

Job teaches us from the throes of his anguish –

“There is no hope for the godless when God cuts him off.” (Job 27:8, paraphrased)

I would like to reaffirm this truth especially for those who feel lost, helpless, and broken; those who feel that their prayers are not answered – There is no hope for the godless.

Job says,

“I hold fast to my righteousness and will not let it go;

My heart does not reproach me for any of my days.” (Job 27:6)

The circumstances were totally against him. His friends were accusing him. His wife had lost all hope. The devil was celebrating. God had not yet spoken to Job. But Job was holding on to that which is all that is worth holding – his faith in God and his resolve to lead a blameless, upright life. Every voice he heard was only discomforting and his own voice seemed vain in defense. God was yet to speak to him – but in the multitude of pain and voices of betrayal his own conscience never ever blamed him.

Now that is the way to live. For, happiness comes and happiness goes, but a clear conscience is priceless.


Maybe it is Good to Go the difficult Way

Saul was, kind of, an accidental leader. He was definitely not thinking of becoming a king while searching for the lost donkeys. Nevertheless, by the choice of God he became king. He was capable, however, he did not show the will to grow or even be consistent. He was afraid of taking risks and bereft of growth in character, he also never showed any signs of growing in his fellowship with God. While failing to express gratitude to God for exalting him, all that we see are his desperate attempts to cling to the throne.

David was God’s choice too. In all probability he too never dreamed of becoming great leave alone becoming king. He was anointed to be king of Israel. But there was a long way to go. Trouble filled days when he had to flee for his life and just be on the run trying to keep alive.

So, while Saul had it easy, David had to go through great pains before he eventually became king. He was the right choice to become the king and all those painful moments also molded him as a person. Moreover, he discovered new depths to his faith in God.

God has appointed a destiny for you. In truth, it is good if you find it very difficult, if your path is strewn with pain. For it gives you the unique opportunity to grow as a person. It gives you a sacred ground for your formation and also to discover the depths in your faith life.

Above all, you have Jesus Christ your God and Savior who can sympathize with your pain and struggles.