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#FindingFaith : Close Up | Michael Emmanuel 

CLOSE UP

In my early days as a lone commuter, I knew so little and feared so much. I was told that, “anyone who could request directions would never wander amiss.” I was also told that, “there were times you didn’t ask for directions. Doing so begged trouble.”

A quandary, you’d think.

I relied more on my mathematical abilities than actual facts. Like finding out how much a trip would cost based on the minutes spent travelling. Like expecting a lesser price for a lesser distance. Like expecting a well toured location to be more expensive than a deserted section.

Little did I know.

So also was my starting days as a Jesus believer. I woke some days feeling high. My mum would remark that I “got a contract in dreamland.” We know how it works. Bright weather. Well prepared food. Goals for the day all ticked by noon. The perfect movie. The right guest calling. Praying for ten minutes and getting the response before the day closes.

Then come the other days. A mistake in the balance sheet. A minute delay causing an hour denial. Just over the top salt in the food. Gearing to step out of the house when a downpour smashes the roof. Everything goes wrong.

Those moments, I’d wonder if I really was a Christian. If I really believed in He who gives peace and joy and every good gift.

It transcends beyond the physical. The world we inhabit is structured such that feelings control reaction which births conclusion. Making a business move and feeling all nervy means something dangerous awaits at the bend, right?

Or going for an interview and having your heart race ahead of your steps guarantee a tensed session.

If we think something is good, or we feel good, we show that it is good, and it is good, even if others say it’s deadly.

Take family, for instance. If by ten in the morning, dad hasn’t smiled, there’s a red button going off. If the firstborn has his face drawn in a squeal, and hasn’t exchanged a sentence with anyone, then he’s troubled.

When things look rosy, they are rosy.

Same with our Father.

Those days when the right song plays on the radio, and we find the apt verse, and our hearts do a spin when we think of bible study, then God is with us. He loves us in those moments. We are His children.

We head out feeling giddy. We chitchat with colleagues. The day is a breeze. We see the A+ we’d expected. The budget is endorsed. The toddler at home leaps out of the common cold. There’s a riddle tempting us to get all tight, we whisper a prayer, and the solution we want clicks.

We are glad to tell friends about Jesus.

But when we wake on the ‘wrong side of the bed’, and the first thing we remember while stifling a yawn is the homework, and we flip open the devotional to find ‘Lawlessness and Grace’, and it’s six am before we can get a grip, God’s offended.

We engage in a trip, past the last twelve hours, last day, and two days back to be certain we didn’t cause an upset with the ‘Big Man’. It clicks. The grumbling. The obscene joke we giggled at. The lady we called ‘lazy’. The two-hour movie that featured an explicit scene.

God is angry. He must be appeased.

We fall. And force the tears. And beg. And seek forgiveness. And stand half an hour later, contented. We find the time is quarter past seven. The bus leaves at eight. We haven’t even brushed.

The nerve returns and it sticks through the day. We are certain there’s a demon laughing at us. Because God doesn’t want us anymore. The demon is hidden in the colleague’s pocket, behind the pole bearing the streetlamp, under the Uber car. It’s mixed with the food. The demon.

Ha.

Snap.

God. Loves. You. (Us.)

God will never un-want us. He’s our maker. Never leaving nor forsaking. He’s not responsible for the bad day or the foul odor zooming up at all junctures.

In a way, we aren’t too.

We only do not know better.

God and we who believe in Him is a close up relationship. The closeness. Even when we fall, and fail, He doesn’t flee, or stagger back. One look at Jesus, and He sees us in the righteousness of Christ.

So, when next you are having a ‘bad day’, know it isn’t because of the woman you yelled at last night, or the bible for the year you missed. It’s that relationships aren’t judged on feelings.

They follow trust.

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