You said yes to God. You have given 100% to follow him. You have been at it for years. Still, things are stalling for you. You aren’t seeing any major breakthrough. No matter how much you try, how hard you pray, and the effort you put in, you don’t seem to be going anywhere. Yet, according to you, – THEY –
~those who are not as spiritual, not following God faithfully or at all~
-are prospering and going places. Why?
“Why is it that I am following God and doing everything right but I am not prospering? Instead, it seems those who aren’t following God are prospering. How come these problems never end? I am tired man. Why do things just seem hard even after I have given God a hundred percent? How come it seems like things are working for other people and seems to come easy to others while for me its a fight…? Its not fair…! This faith thing must be a lie.”
You want answers!
Welcome to the club. You are not alone.
Kenny, a young christian, shared these questions in a Facebook video which went viral. His weariness was obvious and his honest query resonated with some of my friends. They in turn, challenged me with these questions. I appreciated Kenny’s honesty and felt compelled to answer.
I hope my reflections and answers help you too.
These first set of answers will focus on the theme – Spiritual Growth. Plus, its the more immediate query. Because its long, I share the next set of answers in the post tomorrow under the theme – Blessings.
Question: How come this problems never end? Why do things just seem hard for me? How come it seems other people are having it easy and I’m not?
First off –
You said YES to God. Other’s didn’t. Your friends didn’t. You did. When it was said, “Do you want to be used of God?” You said, “Yes! Use me Lord.” Every servant of the Most High must be tested by “fire” to prove their faith. In the words of my godmother, “Welcome to The University of Tears where the Holy Spirit is President, coach, and teacher.”
Remember this Phrase
The Dark Knight of the Soul.
Its based on a poem written by St. John of the Cross in the 16th century. Its simply called The Dark Knight. Its divided into body, soul, and spirit. It symbolizes the testing that comes to each person who desires to grow closer to God. It happens in three stages and there are – body, soul, and spirit – as one is transformed into the likeness of Christ. Drawing a parallel from Jesus’s life, The Dark Knight –
- Of the body would be after He fasted 40 days and nights and was tempted by the lust of the flesh, the eyes, and pride of life.
- Of the soul, it would be – Gethsemane where knowing His fate, He said, “MY God if it is your will, let this cup of suffering pass away from me; but not my will, let your will be done.”
- Of the Spirit, it will be Jesus on the cross at the moment when he shouted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” before he died.
Anyone who says yes and hopes to draw close to God will go through these characteristics of each stages. Anyone who hopes to enter the fullness of their destiny will go through stages like this with similar characteristics.
For Kenny, I discerned it was The Dark Knight of the Soul.
Here, God purges you internally. You will feel disillusioned, lost, like something is wrong while being unable to pinpoint what’s wrong. God will initiate circumstances that will lead you to face and confront your environmental and cultural beliefs and biases. Everything that you identify yourself by will be ripped from its place to help reshape you into your truest identity which is hidden in Christ.
You may lose your mojo and wonder why you don’t easily do worldly things you were good at doing. You will compare yourself and situation to other people’s circumstances and feel hurt and let down. At this stage, your mindset and identity will be the battlefield. It will feel like you are living other people’s life experiences. It will be painful.
Here’s something interesting.
God will often offer room for you to escape it. But that will mean turning back on your – YES. So, don’t be surprised at what you suffer my friends. Many of your other siblings in Christ go through the same kinds of trouble, said Peter the Apostle. Many.
Many are called but few are chosen.
Now, you know why. If you meant YES when you first said it, hang on. Its hard, but hang on. And don’t worry about the mistakes or hang your heard in shame. Just keep on walking.
If you are in Christ, so are your mistakes. If you are walking in God’s will, so will your mistakes
Time vs. Growth
God does not count time, HE counts growth.
It doesn’t matter that its taking long for you to emerge or begin living your destiny in all its fullness as you discern and visualize. It doesn’t matter that things are not changing or God is not moving things out the way. If you are still in the process, its likely there is something to be learned, though it doesn’t necessarily mean there is.
Some questions to ask are, “God, Why am I here? What would you have me do? What do you want me to discover about you, myself, and others? Is there something I should pay attention to?”
God knows your dreams. But, have you asked about His?
In part, the purpose of The Dark Knight of the Soul is to get you to –
“Lord, if it is possible, let this cup of suffering pass away from me; but not my will – let your will be done.”
Again, you said – YES.
That’s what it looks like.
But in it, He will help you live yours too.
Like many, it is possible your perception of what determines value is money. But, money is just money. Even if you have a lot of it, what then? Relationships are what makes life valuable. Relationships are what make having money worth it. So, life and destiny is about people. Its always about the people.
Regarding happiness – those who are the happiest are those with the most friendships and relationships. So, are you doing life alone? Are you trying to reach your destiny while ignoring key family, friendly, and community relationships?
If you are not making and connecting with new friends and communities as you grow, that will become a serious problem. Find your tribe!
As I have said and will continue to say it,
Life is not about the destination nor is it about the journey as you have heard it said. Its about the People on the journey to your destination. Its the people. Value, appreciate, and leverage those relationships.
Did You Pray Saying – God Change Me?
We often say, “God change me, transform me. Make me more like you.”
Well, if you didn’t know, that means time, space, and effort. Problems have to be engineered to help you transform over time. I’m talking months and years. But, waiting, my dear, is not our strong suit.
In part, the Dark Knight of the soul is painful because it encompasses the discipline of the mind to think like Jesus regardless of circumstances while we wait. That, is not a piece of cake. If you prayed it, don’t whine about it.
Accept your answered prayers.
It seems when God has an incredible task for you to accomplish, whether its in sports, church, entertainment, politics…etc, you have to overcome the very opposite of who He calls you to become.
Eg. Joseph had a dream of ruling someday. But, he started as a slave. David was anointed king. But, he started as Saul’s armor bearer. In a more familiar language – a water boy. Father Abraham was told he’d be the father of many nations. Well, for about 80 years, he was fatherless. Want me to go on?
So, to say that you are inspired by God to become a motivation speaker means you would have had to overcome and lear from the opposite of the very financial, spiritual, physical, and emotional subjects you will be talking about, generally speaking.
What About me?
Sure, other people are blessed. Did you want them to be cursed!?
They too are God’s children.
God will bless them even if they didn’t say yes. But, you asked for the privilege to be a witness of the good news. Unfortunately, your path will be unconventional. That’s what makes it a promising adventure. Plus, as you grow and emerge, many will come to your light because it will only shine brighter and grow bigger.
The Generational Connection
Again, some are blessed but you who follows hard after the Lord isn’t. Isn’t that unfair
Think in terms of family for this answer.
Some of the people you refer to may come from good established families. But you are the first to believe in Jesus and to stand in the gap in your own family. You are the one who has taken the initiative to clean up the family mess, deal with generational mindsets and curses too. But for those people you mention, their father, mother, or grandparent, paid the price and paved the way for the current generation. They built a healthy platform for them to grow, learn, and become successful.
However, for you, its the other way round. You are the pioneer. This means you may or may not enjoy every blessing. You will have to pray and work in ways your friends won’t. But those who come after you, whether they appreciate it, believe in God or not, will be blessed because of your believe and sacrifice now. God did say he’ll bless generations of your kin, yes? That’s what that means my friend. So, what others may be enjoying may be the blessings of Grandparents and parents. Unfortunately, that’s not you.
Keep fighting. In many way, I am a pioneer in my family. But, the seed began with grandma, delayed with mom, and then well (not to brag), sprouted with me. Now, you understand why the bible says its a blessing to have a father who not only loves but leaves an inheritance for his kids. See Proverbs.
Are you part of a group or community?
If so, are you serving there?
If not, that’s a big problem.
Immediately after David was anointed King, he became the Kings armor bearer and played the harp. What interests me is that he joined the army community. Joseph, even though against his will ended up working with other slaves and prisoners. So, even if you don’t like where you are – serve. Gideon, after God called him joined or had a couple of folks join him. Tribe, community!
Jesus was definitely part of the Synagogue. After all, aside from the streets, that’s where He started preaching. Even after that, he had his disciples. Even so, he was always in the midst of – people. Again, its always about the people.
To develop your destiny, aside from the hidden work that happens in private, becoming part of the community is vital. After all, your destiny is not about you. Its about the people God is calling you to serve. See that again? Its about serving the people, starting with the group or community.
What! God was Lying?
When God told the children of Israel, while they were in Egypt as slaves, HE would take them to the promise land, was HE lying?
Pssh…no He wasn’t.
How come the one’s to whom He initially promised the land to did not enter in? It was their children who inherited their promise. Does this mean God was lying or that He could not keep His promise?
No, his majesty wasn’t lying.
But for that promise to be established, it required the children of Israel to be responsible and connect with the promise. It required a commitment to a continuous change in character and attitude in the heart. This is the wisdom of wholeheartedness. This is why they failed.
God usually ignores complaining when you are growing. At some level in your spiritual growth and dialogue with God, He doesn’t! And it must be dealt with. When you willingly change, you enter a new level of perceived authority which marks you as a leader. If you don’t, you run the risk of blaming God and delaying your destiny.
Let me wrap this up –
Regardless of who you are, what you do, what you have…
You still have to do life. You still have to live through the inescapable realities of life. Life has to live its own life as you live your life in the midst of it. That means you will have conflicts with you life. You both will argue and often, it will win. It will do sneak attacks on you and throw some jabs and uppercut “surprises.”
That means you will experience pain, love, broken hearts, laughter, anger…all of it. You will have car breakdowns. Friends will be sick, others will die….and you will mourn. You too will experience fear and death.
This, my friend, is part of living. You still have to do life.
Its in the middle of all this that we are called to do life as UNUSUAL. To live a supernatural life as lights in a darkened and mundane world.
Plus, in Christ, God causes all of it to work together for your good if you love him and walk in his purpose. That’s why you are told to rejoice in ALL circumstances, giving thanks to God.
My friend, this is just – life.
In Conclusion –
At the end of the day, you said – YES TO GOD!
Things are hard, everything seems so unconventional, you don’t get why God’s clock is broken and He seems to be late all the time…
Ah! But, you said YES.
So, as you transition and in the midst of it, question everything, have an honest conversation with God –
Mãno a Mãno
Keep it real. Keep it simple
And don’t forget, life maybe sneaky but,
Life is not full of surprises -YOU ARE!