When God Doesn’t Make Sense

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(“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”- Isaiah 55:8)

This is a guest post by Anita Giwa-Andrew. She is an inspiring woman and wife. You can follow her on Twitter.

Are there times when it seems as if God does not make sense to you? I posed this same question to a friend of mine and he responded with a you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me look. We both knew this was a rhetoric question as he was going through some challenges at that period (wedding planning thingz) and he had asked God “how far?” many times when tangible progress did not seem apparent. Sounds familiar? Have you ever been in a situation where you had no clue what God was up to? You had no idea how the problem at hand was going to get fixed. You had no idea, no clue, no inkling, none whatsoever… pretty frustrating huh?

Most people claim to believe in a Supreme Being, with their ideas about God shaped by the Bible. It teaches that God is loving, all-powerful and able to be everywhere at the same time. Yet at times those who believe in God find themselves in situations that don’t seem to make sense. Why doesn’t God intervene in a personal crisis? Why is a young person allowed to suffer an untimely death? Have we been left in the dark to work this out for ourselves?

The dealings of God with His people often appear mysterious. His ways are not our ways… His thoughts are nothing like our thoughts. Many times His way of dealing is so contrary to our plans and expectations that we are amazed and confounded. The thing is that humans are too logical. I’ve come to realize that in order to enjoy the many benefits from God; you have to let your heart defeat your mind when it comes to serving Him. You have to trust Him just because… We must have confidence that God has our best interests at heart.

Remember Naaman, The Great Syrian Commander? Naaman was an important man. He was head of the army of one of the major world powers. The Bible tells us that God had used him to win great victories for his king, the king of Syria. Naaman was brave. Naaman was influential. Naaman was very, very sick. He had what the Bible calls leprosy. Leprosy was taken very seriously. It was thought to be extremely contagious. Because of this, people with leprosy lived isolated lives, cut off from the rest of society. For a public figure, this was especially tragic. Then someone told Naaman that there was a prophet named Elisha who could cure him of his illness. Naaman traveled to the land of Israel to find this prophet and seek to be healed. When Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house, the prophet didn’t come out to greet his visitor. Instead, he sent a servant to inform Naaman that he was to submerge himself seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed. Naaman was outraged! Not only had the prophet not received him personally, but the holy man had the gall to suggest that Naaman dirty himself in the filthy waters of Israel! If Naaman needed a bath, he could use one of Syria’s mighty rivers. Servants convinced the military man that he had nothing to lose by trying what the prophet had told him. Naaman swallowed his pride and went to the Jordan. He went down one time, two times, three times…and when he came up the seventh time, his skin was clear. He was healed! (You can read the whole story in the fifth chapter of 2 Kings)

We are often like Naaman .God wants me to do what? He wants me to go where? That doesn’t even make sense!

God’s instructions don’t always make sense. Love my enemies? Don’t worry about tomorrow? Eat bread and drink wine to remember His Son? Submerge myself in water in order to be cleansed?

At some point, we have to decide who is going to rule our lives. Will it be God? Or will it be common sense? Will God tell me what’s right and wrong? Or will logic be my guide?

Am I willing to have faith that God is good enough, wise enough and powerful enough to do what’s best for me?

Today I want to encourage you to trust God, to build your life around Him, even when you can’t understand every detail of what is going on. Because He is so much greater than we are, we can trust Him though we do not understand everything which happens

Prayer: So often, God, I don’t understand why your ways are not my ways. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

4 Marriage Lessons in 4 Hours

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This past weekend I travelled to Abuja for my uncle’s wedding. My girlfriend Chanu and I decided to visit her cousin and I had the rare priviledge of meeting this fantastic couple. This couple have a lovely daughter Kayla which I spent a huge chunk of my time with playing with. I couldn’t but help learn some valuable lessons about marriage from the couple themselves.

Every now and then I get, both solicited and unsolicited, relationship advice that seems to really resonate with me. I think I can write a whole book on relationship advice I have received so far; from people who think I should be married by now and those who opined that I am way ‘too young’ to get myself entangled in marriage yet.

This couple offered no advice. They simply lived the principles for me to learn from. I later wrote to Chanu that evening and said, “this couple are not just happy, they have a deep seated joy.”

1. Communication is not only what you say or do, it is also what you think towards your partner.

I couldnt help but notice that they have only the best thoughts towards themselves. It was so evident. I am so sure they wouldnt have to worry about thermostat settings, husband’s dirty socks, toothpaste caps and those little habits that drive couples crazy. They are just nice to themselves not nitpicky.

2. Be supportive

The way the man helped with baby Kayla amazed me. I was just smiling all along.

3. Be yourself

It was simply warm to see them behave so loving and so natural at it even before their guests. It transcends that moment neither is it once-in-a-long-while thingy. You could see this is a thing that  exist even when the guests are long gone.

4. Its all about Friendship and Respect

Obviously no marriage can work without friendship. For this couple the word “friendship” conjures up thoughts of honesty, vulnerability, companionship, and mutual respect.

Sincerely, I intend to ask them how they were able to do it and I am going to blog about it.

Commitment: The Grease Between the Wheels

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Some years ago I visited a mentor of mine, a very wise man. During the course of our conversation, after outlining my dreams and goals, he paused and asked me “How committed are you to these goals?” That marks the beginning of my intentional consciousness of the word Commitment. He made me realise that no success is ever achieved without commitment and being intentional about it. He asked me lots of questions and I gave honest answers to those questions and by the end of our conversation I realised that other factors in place, without commitment all you can ever achieve will be average. He told me that when moving toward success its commitment that greases your wheels and makes you overcome friction easily.

An ancient chinese proverb says the will of a man is like a cart pulled by two horses: the mind and the emotions. You must get both horses moving in the same direction to move the cart. Committment is an affair of the will. It moves past the mind and emotions. My relationships actually helped me learn a lot about commitment. First of all, it starts from the heart and seen in action. Secondly, it is measurable and precedes achievement of whatever sort.

But these three things defines commitment:

1. Purpose– Commit to a cause, vision or goal

2. Perspective– Have a crystal clear picture of the future

3. Persistence– Learn to move ahead despite the odds. I like to call it Stick-to-it-ability.

Put all these things together and you have the big picture of what commitment is all about.

Attitude Called Excellence

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I began writing on the leadership qualities I intend to develop as part of my goals for this year. I outlined three qualities in my last post and today I’ll focus on just one-an attitude called Excellence

In everything I do I’ve always strove to be the competent. I’ve always worked toward being the best. I realize that success comes as a result of two things working together-your hands and your heart. Thus, there is need for a balance of skill, competence and inward integrity. That explains why I am developing the attitude of excellence. I regard Excellence to be skill + competence + integrity + consistency. Excellence ensures credibility. This translates into buy-in from people around you. One sure way to become distinguished in everything you do is to become excellent in whatever you do.

How do I intend to achieve Excellence?

1. Henceforth I’ll make Excellence a watchword, a hallmark. I’ll value Excellence more.
2. I’ll learnt to pay attention to details, especially little, seemingly insignificant details.
3. Not settle for average, give 100 percent and give no excuse for complacency
4. Demonstrate capacity
5. Go the second mile
6. Never stop improving
7. Remain committed in what really matters

What other ways to develop Excellence do you know?

Leadership Qualities Am Working On

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As part of my goals for 2012 I set to develop some key leadership qualities in me and I am going to share them with you.
Some of there qualities I already have, some I’ll have to work on from ground up. In any case it is my desire that by the end of 2012 I’ll look back and see the better leader I’ve become.

1. CHARACTER
I realize that it takes character to win and maintain trust and a healthy relationship with people.Years ago some defined character to me as humble and honest. he couldn’t be far from the truth. I think the whole sum of a leader is explained in one word- Character. It defines leadership which is why I want to develop and cultivate positive character. So, how do I intend to achieve this?
a. Studying my Bible more often and with deeper purpose
b. Associate myself with people of reputable and sound character
c. Read at least 2 books on character development
d. Be accountable to 2 people

2. CHARISMA
This is the ability to make people believe in your cause and act appropriately; the ability to make people buy-in to your idea I possess this quality to a certain degree which I can qualify as ‘lot’. People naturally flock to people who make them feel good about themselves. Good thing about charisma is that it can be learnt though I think there are a couple of people who may simply be born with it. So, how do I go about developing charisma?

a. I will learn to love life and enjoy each day I grace. I ill complain less. I will exude more love and warmth.
b. Be more vulnerable, real, open and down-to-earth. Will share my heart, my thoughts, wisdom and experience more readily and often.
c. Expect the best out of people. I realize that not everyone can be trusted. But I hope to rely on God’s wisdom to know when to hold back and when to give someone the benefit of doubt
d. Improve my poise and be more optimistic. I will learn to establish connection with any audience
e. Be a good listener

3. COMMUNICATION SKILL
John C. Maxwell said a leader who cannot communicate his calling and vision will definitely have trouble getting anyone to buy-in into his leadership. The ability to communicate and get understood is very critical to success in any endeavor. By this I mean I will improve my speaking skill, my writing and my listening skill. How do I intend to achieve this?

a. Enroll for SCORRE to help improve my speaking
b. I’ll accept more speaking engagements this year so that I can practice what I have learnt
c. Enroll for an online course in fiction and non-fiction writing (am yet to decide on which. Suggestions are welcomed)

I still have more qualities which I will share in my subsequent posts.But before you leave, Kindly let me know your thoughts concerning these qualities.