Returning to the Lords Light

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 30th May 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

My story of regaining my faith and learning to trust in the Lord. Whatever may be happening in your life, I urge to to trust in the Lord and believe that things will turn out fine.

1 Corinthians 16:13 - Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

To say that life has been hard on me would be a gross understatement.

But no matter how hard things got, I felt that I couldn’t share what was going on. That I should just keep trucking and that I had no choice but to keep everything to myself. Now, anyone who knows what I'm talking about knows just how much of a bitch this can be and with no one to talk to nor a good support structure, I looked for other ways to help manage my increasing pressure.

One of these involved drinking.

Now drinking isn't necessarily a bad thing but what was more alarming was the increasing frequency of my consumption.

As my list of problems grew,so did my need to run from them. Drinking once every couple of days became drinking everyday.What had always been having a couple of beers (two, three at the most) with the gents after work turned into four or five and even then, that wasn’t enough.

After drinking for a while, I grew a tolerance to beer which meant it wasn't having the same effect as it used to. It didn't give me the escape I wanted which in turn,forced me to turn to harder drinks.

It didn't matter what brand the liquor was, if it had an alcohol content above 43%, I was drinking it.

In the morning I'd wake up, get ready, grab my hip flask and head to work. Along the way, I would take a tot or two to calm me down and I'd be good to go until midday where I'd reacquaint myself with the hip flask. This would have me charged up to power through to the end of the day where I'd meet up with the team and continue drinking till around seven or eight, when I'd head home and pass out.

Lather,rinse and repeat.

In no time whatsoever, I went from a casual drinker to a full blown alcoholic but at the time, it didn't matter to me.

So as long as it gave me an escape, it was doing its job.

However, with the more that I drank, I began prioritizing liquor over everything and found increasingly irrational ways to justify my ever growing consumption.

Whenever I felt the slightest hint of anxiousness or stress, I'd reach for my hip flask. Whenever I had to meet people, I'd reach for my hip flask. Even mundane things like going out of the house required some liquid courage and as alcohol became my crutch, I began to change.My friends knew me as charismatic,charming and witty. There was never a dull moment when I was around. However as my dependency grew, my personality withered away and I became a shell of my former self.

Because my thoughts were always centered around my problems and alcohol, that was all I cared to speak of and as a result,made me terrible company.

Looking back, I can't really say that my friends didn't do enough to help me. It's just that we grew up with the idea that if you have issues, you should sort them out on your own. In any case, talking about feelings is an uncomfortable subject matter and with that came the deterioration of my relationships.

The more I ran from my issues, the more I became dependent on alcohol and while it did its job of helping me forget, the cost was high.

At my own doing, I alienated myself from my friends and family and at work,my performance went down,leading to more pressure and more alcohol. I kept on drowning my sorrows but even I knew it was at a point where it was too much. I couldn't keep living like this and I knew that something had to be done.

As far as I was concerned, talking to people was out of the question but that didn’t stop me from looking for other solutions and at the stubborn persistence of a friend, I accompanied her to a church service.

The service was lovely, the atmosphere was fantastic and these contributed into me enjoying my time there. At this point, I wouldn’t say that I was attending because I was a Christian as my faith that things would work out was in tatters but rather that my soul felt a peace I haven’t know in a long time and I wanted more.

So I began attending regularly.

Fast forward a month and it was my fifth time in attendance and the pastor had just given a sermon on trusting the Lord. The service was wrapped up and everybody was beginning to head back home but for some reason, this particular service struck a chord with me. I don’t know why but I felt the need to talk to the pastor in the hope that he would have some answers for me.

I approached the Father and told him of my desire to talk but he said he had the post service meeting with the other church leaders to attend.

“If you don’t mind, you can wait till we are done, then we can talk.”

Taking him up on his word, I went outside, picked a spot within the church garden that provided shade and waited for him. An hour or so later, the church leaders came out along with the Father and when he saw me, he signaled that I could come in. I followed him in, thanked him for his time and wanted to begin talking to him but I just couldn’t find the right words. I didn’t know what to say or where to begin and when he asked what the matter was, I couldn’t stop myself from revealing the truth:

"Father, I just don’t know what to do…”

Those eight words were all I could muster before my voice cracked and I lost my composure. All my regrets, failures and pain came back to light which caught me off guard and dealing with all of that at that moment was just too much for me to handle.

I just sat there, fighting with myself. At one end, I was trying to keep it together because I didn’t want to seem like I was weak but eventually it all came apart and I was openly weeping.

The Father took my hand in his and led me out to the benches at the front of the church where a cross with the Body of Christ hung, towering over everything in its path. He sat down and beckoned me to join him.

The Father looked a good forty years my senior. Time had taken its toll, evidenced by the prominent wrinkles etched across his face and the sagging skin surrounding his neck and what had once been a full head of healthy black hair had been reduced to withering grey strands but in spite of all that, his eyes retained what can only be described as a youthful exuberance for life which was only matched by his incredible optimistic nature whereas as I (in my mid-twenties) was looking haggard and weary, having all but given up on living.

I just couldn’t make sense of it.

“Forgive me Father; it’s just…too much for me.”
“Child, there’s no need to apologise.”
“How do you do it, Father? How do you keep your faith in hard times?”

The Father smiled.

“Do you own a bible?”
“I haven’t held one in a long time, let alone actually own one.”

One again, the Father smiled then stood up and walked to his pulpit where he fetched his Bible. He returned and handed it over to me. Despite having some wear and tear, the book was in fair condition.

“That one has been with me for twenty-three years and like its owner, is still going strong.”

What he said got a chuckle out of me which in turn made him grin.

“Well I’m glad to see that I’ve still got my gift of the gab.”
“Yeah, you still got it, Father.”

What I said got a chuckle out of him.

“I would like you to open up to Romans 8:18 and read what it says”

Doing as I was told, I paged through the book till I got to the passage and read it out.

The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

“Doesn’t mean much on its own, does it?”
“Well, I sort of get it. I must keep faith that things will work out? No offense Father but what good is having faith when there’s no proof?”
“That’s a good question. What’s the point of believing if things suggest otherwise? Come to think of it, what is faith?” Can you tell me?”
“…I don’t know.”
“That’s fine. Knowing that you don’t know is half the battle won. I now want you to find Hebrews 11 and read it to me.”

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…by faith we understand that the universe was formed at Gods command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible –

“OK, you just heard what faith means right? Faith is hearing, believing and acting on the Word of God, which means trusting God in spite of your situation. You may continue reading.”

And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

“Faith, my child, comes from hearing the Word of God. We walk by faith in Christ, not by sight. That’s why Hebrews 11 begins the way it does. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You coming here and telling me everything that’s happening in your life wasn’t the result of you being at the end of the line: it is an exercise in faith. Saying that you don’t have the strength to continue is not true. Open Isiah 66:9.”

I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.

“You look like you work out often. To get where you are, you had to work hard, right? Sure, you might’ve had a couple of rough days but you kept on persevering in spite of the pain because you believed in what was waiting for you at the end, right? This is the exact same thing. Struggle builds strength. Instead of just handing it to you, the Lord chose to give you the chance to get the strength so that in the end, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s as Proverbs 3:5 says, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

I couldn’t explain it but while the Father spoke, something was happening within me. All that hopelessness and doubt was being replaced by a timid but steadily growing reassurance.Everything he said might’ve not made sense to the cynic in me but for some reason, it just made sense and felt right.

I was going from I can’t do this anymore to maybe I can do this.

Leaving me to stew in my thoughts, the Father got up and headed to his office and returned with a notepad and a pen with which he began jotting down some verses. When he was done, he handed the page over and closed off our time together with some parting words.

“Ben, I want you to go home and read these verses as part of your daily devotion. Whenever you feel down or things are getting too much for you, remember what we spoke of and use these verses to remind yourself that the Lord gives us not burdens, but opportunities. This will not be a quick fix. It will take time. But be joyful in hope, patient in expectations and faithful in prayer. For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life!”

I did as he advised, attended services regularly and found my faith growing with each passing day.

It took a lot of work but I can finally say that I am a believer in the Lords work and although I might not be perfect, I am nonetheless honored to call myself a Christian. In closing I just want to share the verses the Father gave to me and if you happen to be struggling, remind you of what the Father said of hard times:

I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, said the Lord.

•Proverbs 17:17
•John 15:13
•James 1:2-4
•1 Thessalonians 5:11
•2 Corinthians 4:16-18
•Galatians 6:9
•Ecclesiastes 9:11


Personal Experience, Religion And Spirituality

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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author avatar Retired
11th Jun 2018 (#)

Thank you for sharing.

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