- Religion and Philosophy
From the comfort of God's palm
Grateful to the LORD for His mercy
The Bible says, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" Lamentations 3: 22-23.
In May 2010 my family entered the storm. In August the eye of the storm was centered around the family altar, to tear it down, but that failed. The family altar remained intact. In the months of August, September, through December 2010, I would borrow the words of scripture, "And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away" Acts 27: 20.
The very first thing the LORD dealt with me was not to worry. "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" Matthew 6: 1 etc. How could I not worry when I did not have income? How could I not fear when we had the darkest winter of decades? How could I not fear when I was truly thousands of miles from home?
And yet, through prayer and the Word of God my fear subsided and my confidence in the LORD grew. Finally I was able to sleep and wake up, pray and study through the storm. Some days were more challenging but fear was not among my problems. Nothing would happen to me which did not happen to others. My life was safe in God and I knew that dying was gain. Fear and worry were no longer my problem.
I remember reading a response from a friend who followed my story via blog. She said "When you are in a storm you need to offload your stuff and travel light." Those words stuck to my heart like pieces of metal to a magnet. This is what I needed to hear! So, I took some truckloads to a thrift store near our home. I took things like extra side lamps, computer hardware, clothes, some bedding and whatever was in the garage that I did not use, If there was a book or item I had not used over one or more months, it was removed. It meant I did not need it.
The next thing I learned was to listen to the Word of God. At the beginning of every year my family makes a 30-day time of prayer and fasting. Early 2011 we fasted and prayed. Something happened. I started to realize the distance that had grown in my heart with some of my most valued scriptures. Three scriptures come to mind: Matthew 6:33, Psalms 32:9 and Psalms 41:10. It is written, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"; "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" and "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness".
I had no doubt God could be trusted and that I could lean on Him with all my weight. The problem I faced was actualizing faith. How do you believe when your children need food and you do not have money to buy it? How do you believe when rent has to be paid and you cannot find a job?
One day I prayed and asked the LORD how to make my faith work. I got no answer. At least nothing to tell you. Instead I found a voice among brethren. Now I know that when we ask out of fear and doubt and when God seems to be quiet, instead, He send fellow believers who are standing to your side.
The LORD mobilizes prayer warriors
I needed a prayer partner, someone who would listen to my story. A friend I met in Africa called me from Canada and said he was praying for me. The LORD prompted him to join hands in prayer with me. This brother called me, prayed with me and received detailed accounts of what was going on in my life and household. He became the next of kin. He himself did not have a job but he did not face my kind of situation. He nonetheless sent us $300.00 (150 at one time and then another amount later).
A sister in the LORD that I associated with over twenty years ago came to my house and left a check for $100.00. She called me later to find out how I was doing. She was shocked to hear my full account. Apparently the LORD directed her to give me that money. I never gave anybody $100.00 since I came to the US. The unique thing about this sister is that she regularly checked on us to know how we were doing.
I learned that when we are in a storm we need brothers and sisters to pray with us. We need each other not only to pray but also to confess our shortcomings and intercede for one another.
The biggest breakthrough the LORD worked out for me in the middle of this storm was a prayer group that was at Mitch and Katie's house near our church in Alexandria. This group of prayer warriors started meeting around 2007. I attended the meetings whenever I could. It is from this group of prayer warriors I saw the biggest advantage of being a believer and prayer warrior.
One day I was sitting with my family with no food left or money to buy food with. As usual we knelt down to pray. There was something different about this prayer time. We were truly sitting with nothing left to eat. So, I proudly said to the LORD, "We have nothing left to eat or money to buy food with. We have no one to turn to but You LORD. Give us this day our daily bread." We all said Amen.
A long time ago I read about people who stood where we were standing, with their faith in God. They received miracles. Well, that night we did not see our miracle. We went out that evening to see a family friend in a nearby place. We were absent from home for just an hour. When we came home we said our good nights and went to sleep.
The following day, a Saturday, I received a call from Katie who wondered where we went the previous night. I told her we went out briefly but avoided telling her about our desperate food situation. Well, she said, she came to bring us some food but found no one. She kept the food and perhaps we could go and fetch it. I went.
What I found there amazed me. I just can not explain the feeling that came over me as I realized the faithfulness of our God. There was so much food you could feed an army. Fresh meat, vegetables, names it. Tinned as well as whole food. They also had ready cooked food.
God did something only a friend can do to send a message to a friend. Among the tons of food there were two small avocado pears. Now, only my wife knows this: whenever she took me shopping with her I bought two avocado pears without fail, 100%. Every time I went shopping, which did not happen too often because I do not like shopping, I would go to the fresh vegetable sections and pick two avocadoes, one ready to eat and one for later. That is what I found among the mountains of food Kate and the prayer group prepared for us.
God answers prayer, always.
The most amazing God
God did not take us out of that storm. He kept us there for as long as an eternity. Something new was shaping up. My faith was renewed. I continued to apply for jobs and hoped to get one. I received some responses. Usually they were typical one line messages that went something like, "You are not the person we are looking for, there are others who applied who qualify; we will store your information and perhaps we will remember you when a suitable job opening comes along, and please do not write or call us."
The final days of the storm
The year 2012 came; my family time of prayer and fasting went as usual. Thirty days ended and life continued in the storm. The second anniversary of unemployment came and went. It was hard to believe that two years of trying to get back to work had just failed. I started to accept the possibility of a third year without a job. After all, three is a famous number in the scriptures. Then April came.
The 5 day notice
I did not expect it but I knew it would happen one day. As April began to fade away I received a final notice from my landowner (landlord) telling me to pay up or vacate the house. We prayed over that notice and prepared ourselves to move. The preparation was entirely in the heart. We accepted it as God's will. "All hope that we should be saved was then taken away" Acts 27: 20b.
God has done it in the past; it was not going to be the first time it happened to someone with faith just like me. So, I accepted whatever would happen. The time was too short to find so much money. I did not even try to look for money I only told the LORD it was okay, we were emotionally and spiritually ready to go.
The day was Friday and the deadline was Saturday. Fear wanted to return but I said no. Fear causes me to ask questions like, "Who should I speak to?" and "Where can I go for help?" My help was in the LORD. In any case I had gone too far for human intervention. I could not hope for anyone to help us out even if they were so close to us. I was right.
I was coming from the Tennis court - you play tennis when you are not afraid of what the future holds, don't you? I have no idea where I found that courage. With a deadline hanging over my head I was playing games and having some fun? I could not drive up to my house because there was police activity in the area and all the roads leading from the tennis court area were blocked to traffic. At the same time it started to rain.
I walked home, prayed as I went, crying in the rain, not sure how the LORD would handle this real crisis. Normally I would enter the house through the garage door. But because I was walking I had no option other than enter by the front door.
As I came closer to the door I noticed an envelope stuck under the door mat. It had to have been placed there. Yes, indeed, as I got closer I realized it was there placed by someone. Anxiety wanted to rush over me that perhaps the landlord or the Sherriff had placed an eviction notice for me. I lifted it up and ran indoors from the rain. I called my daughter and told her to open and read the content. My wife knows I do not ordinarily open threatening mail when she is home. Since my wife was away and my daughter was in the house, I asked my daughter to open and read the contents to me. She told me it was addressed to me! So, I opened it.
There on the doorstep was an envelope with cash $2,000. This is the exact amount I needed on Saturday.
My daughter told me also, a young couple in town received a word from the LORD to give us $1,000.00 which they did. We had enough money to pay the immediate bill and more above. When I saw the faithfulness of God in these miracles I worshipped Him who lives forever; I prostrated myself on the floor and said Thank you.
These are things I heard in testimonies from around the world. Perhaps I was used by the LORD to bless someone else in my life, but I never thought it would happen to me, at least not in the US. Many people who have never lived in the US would not understand the size of this gift of two thousand dollars, or indeed of ten dollars! It is a lot of money indeed.
My confidence in the LORD was now made complete. I knew that God hears prayers and answers our prayers indeed.
A few weeks later I attended a Saturday meeting at the DC Metro. There I heard the LORD say to me, "I want you to jump into the darkness." I knew the LORD was saying I want you to trust me so much that you can let go at my word. For a few hours I actually panicked because I never heard anyone tell another to jump into the darkness. What do you do if your God tells you to jump into the darkness? Go to a high rise, find a window and jump?
I thought the LORD was saying, "Take off in your car, leave your family and go wherever the car will take you..." That is what I thought to do. But it was not coming together in my mind. I abandoned the idea of riding out of town in that way. I just said, "LORD, I do not understand your language, so, please use mine. Use Tonga or English."
Exactly one week later a couple came to visit our home. The brother was a Pastor. As they were about to leave our house the faithful sister came under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. She prophesied and said, The LORD wants you to wait. The LORD says He is coming, wait.
She would not have known my prayer. I was asking the LORD how to proceed. There was the answer for me, Wait. So, I started the process of waiting. If you defeat fear and worry take heed because your patience can be tested. Mine was tested. I knew we were on to something significant but I did not know what it was and I was in a hurry to get there. Wait! What do you do when you wait?
I gave myself to minister in the best way I knew how. I was wholly given to the LORD Jesus.
A few weeks after the prophesy, my wife and I were praying in the house. It was an unusual day. There was something big happening in the air although we could not capture it. We prayed. My wife who usually goes into tongues went off and prayed like she does on certain occasions when the walls of Jericho would come down. Then we decided to shift our prayer meeting from the privacy of our bedroom to the open living room.
We were in that meeting for about 15 minutes when my wife stopped me and looked at me. I saw that beaming light in her eyes, a little naughty I mighty say. She opened her mouth and said, "The LORD has told me to tell you to sell everything and wait for your next order. You will call up a sale where people will call the price on your items. Whatever a person says he can afford that sets the price for that item." I looked into her eyes and knew she was not teasing. "Yes, I will do that." I said. This is what the LORD was talking about, "Sell everything you own now and get ready for the next order."
This is the hardest of all commands I have received so far. I owned a lot of stuff. How could I and my children just literary walk away from all of this stuff? What kind of life would I live? When the sale started people were buying goods at giveaway prices. A sofa went for $10.00; an item that cost us $800.00 went for $5.00; $2.00 for a duvet, $1.00 for a computer screen, and the story goes on and on like that. We raised no more than $1,500 from the sale of household goods. Whatever was left over, we donated to the thrift stores. He who turned water into wine can still turn lives into new springs of life today. Be blessed. More for another day.