THE MESSAGE NOW
Vol. 1, No. 18 – Monday, 7th November, 2016
(Phil.3:12-14, 2 Cor.4:7-10, 2 Tim.4:7-8)
The fierce battle between the crocodiles and the man whose wedding was moments away
The wonders of the world will never cease most probably till the end of time. The story below, no doubt will yet astound you though you might have read or heard about it before now.
In view of his daughter’s readiness for marriage (and indeed her clear expression of same), the king of a particular town made a public announcement inviting all interested young men to gather in his palace. Ridiculous you may say! Just wait and read further.
On arriving at the palace, the king presented his daughter before the numerous young men. Without a shadow of doubt, the young lady’s beauty was not just striking, it was an exceptionally dazzling one. At the end of the somewhat corrographic presentation, the king made the qualifying criterion known to his invited audience.
Pointing to a nearby small but very deep river, the king informed his intended in-laws, ‘anyone of you who can swim through and across this body of water will be that successful man’. This was no problem for any of the young men who were now standing on the steepy-edge of the river. The problem confronting the young men (and indeed) such that left them speechless and emotionally-deflated, hopeless and with their hands helplessly at akimbo was the uncontested fact that this is a river highly infested with hungry crocodiles.
To everyone’s utter-shock, shortly after the king’s criterion was pronounced, there was a big splash in the water. A young man had just jumped in. So foolish of him you may exclaim! Just wait for another surprise. The young man swam as fast and as hard as he could. Expectedly, the crocodiles, having perceived the presence of human blood in the water, pursued him with full vigour. Whilst everyone standing ashore watched the display and the ripple with unimaginable horror, the young man swam with relentless tenacity. But what could he do more with the crocodiles almost clutching at his heels.
But realise dearly beloved that tenacity is the father of a single offspring whose name is eventfulness. Eventually, the young man reached his goal. Was hurray his outburst? Just wait for another surprise.
On arriving at the shore, the latest bridegroom was not up and about to receive his bride. His initial quest was to find the fellow who pushed him into the water in the first instance. To this new bridegroom, that fellow is the hero behind his uncommon success feat. Had he not pushed him into the crocodile-infested river, he could never have made the initial attempt. But having got into the water, the choice was not to give up or look back.
Hmmm! I hope you understand the moral lesson here. I suppose the lessons are obvious:
(1) you and I will eventually at some point acclaim God (who permits problems and trials walk into our path) as our only hero.
(2) The secret of winning even whilst in the midst of the greatest factory-fire of problems is to embrace it without bitterness. Had the young man giving-in to bitter thoughts about the fellow who pushed him into the water: (a) he would have been weightier than a millstone. The result of which is that keeping afloat would have been practically impossible. Never get weighed down by the thoughts of any problem. Control your thoughts; never allow them control you. (b) When confronted by life’s challenges, the first assignment is not to pursue after the cause; for that will often be the second. Rather, the pursuit after immediate solution is a non-negotiable premier job; for in the solution more often than not lies the knowledge about the cause. (c) Self-pity is that enslaving hook which when it is stock into the jaws of a willing victim ridden by problems, total submersion down to the depth of life’s ‘trouble waters’ is the only outcome. (d) In the end, whether it be bitterness, seeking the cause before seeking the solution or self-pity, neither of these three present any hope for the future. In fact, these three are the perfect enemies of bravery and tenacity. Their offspring is failure before first attempt. Anyone armed by their companionship is certainly never going to cross the Rubicon.
(3) One is the enemy of wisdom who accepts the crown or the prize on a platter of gold. Why? More often than not, those who attain greatness without paying life’s required dues always end up badly because experience, exposure and maturity were never in their company to that height.
(4) Successful achievement otherwise called eventfulness is never attained without tenacity. The joyful trouble however is, tenacity is never activated except by the presence of life’s success-catalyst called problems. In whatever way you consider it , it is a sure fact that there is no eventfulness without first and foremost a problem.
(5) The decisions you make whilst traveling through life’s troubled waters can: (a) change the direction of your life and destiny completely, (b) make or mar others (and you are answerable to God and man for the lives you make or mar). (c) determine whether you end up fulfilled or frustrated.
Hear a profoundly spiritual thoughtfulness echoed by a righteously immortalised champion. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor.11:1), the greatest Apostle enjoins us ‘be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ’. In inviting us to imitate him as he imitates Christ, Paul shares with us in 2 Cor.4:7-10 his encounter with life’s challenges which is worthy of emulation.
In 2 Cor.4:7-10, Paul says: ‘but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body’.
What a lesson of life from an experienced, exposed and matured expert. The question any intelligent mind should ask is, what kept this man going in spite of these hastles? My answer is, Paul was never considering the start of the race or the midway through the race. His focus was always firmly fixed on the finish line.
The thought of the distance from home, the new environment, the fact of no near kinsman or kinswoman coupled with the fear of failure because of the enormous work-load weighed me seriously down at the start of my studies in Aberdeen. But God helped me. How? Suddenly, my mind came to the reassuring realisation that a man of destiny and success affixes his mind and puts his arsenals to task considering the end-glory only, not the length of time it takes or the hardships to be encountered before attaining the treasured jewel. With this kind of farsighful mind-set, the job is always done even before it ever starts.
Experiencing delay in any way, my brother my sister? Look away, and rather dream of the day of your testimony and keep such dream alive. Be strong. Be brave and be courageous. Are you going to hold on for God forever? NO. One day of joy from the Lord will erase several years of painful torture inside life’s waiting-room. Don’t give up. God believes in you. Do believe in yourself also. Forget the mistakes of the past and keep moving. Be innovative and see good out of every pleasant and unpleasant situation.
Finally, all men will eventually come to appreciate God. Not only because He is God; but because He allowed you and me go through life’s challenges for the purpose of refining us. Refining, undoubtedly is a process most torturing. It nonetheless exposes the true shine and beauty in man securely hidden by life’s comfort before refining begins.
Do you have a health, emotional or physical challenge of any kind? You feel it so hard passing through this dark, challenging tunnel of life, isn’t it? Have you found yourself in continuing quagmire of financial debts? Are you worried about your children, their spiritual wellbeing, education and the likes? Are you even tired of praying?
Do not complain and do not curse God. Remember that Job in the Bible lost everything but never lost God. Be at peace; see the light faintly beaming through the tunnel. It means you are soon at the start of the last bend. Thereafter, you will see the cheering crowd awaiting you and your unmistaking victory at the finish line.
Paul the Apostle eventually got his ‘crown of righteousness’ (2 Tim.4:7-8). Job had a doublefold restoration in spite of prior hardship, pain and loss (Job.42:10). Joseph was hated, delayed and tormented. Nevertheless, his moment came in full joyous package (Genesis.41:39-40). God who is good to one is good to all. Therefore, your bright day will certainly dawn and shine afar.
BE AT PEACE.
Hymn: We Have An Anchor
Read Ps.40: o God, give me grace and peace to calmly and patiently wait for you.
O Lord God, forgive me for murmuring and complaining.
O God, reveal to me the agenda of the wicked lying ahead of me in the new year.
O God, expose to me the escape from the agenda of the wicked.
O God my father, encourage my heart with revelations on your agenda for my life.
These twin-children shall be born. O God, let my joyful moments speedily appear.
O God my father, I have been redeemed by the blood of your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ; therefore, o God my father, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, I break free today from the curse of Adam.