Today in Dallas Morning News, I read a quote from a Muslim living in Baghdad, amidst a raging war. “This has been decreed by God," said Ghafel Jassim, 70, a retired railway worker, with the resignation that many Muslims say comes with strong faith. "What can we do? This is our fate."’
It made me think, What an amazing faith in his god. “What can we do? This is our fate.” He didn’t seem to raise his fists at Allah. He didn’t question. He just accepted. While I believe his faith is misplaced, I believe we can learn a lesson from him.
Last year was a series of trials for me. So many dark nights. So many weeks of uncertainty. So many months of questioning. I won’t go into the details of the past year—that’s not important. It’s what got me through that I want to share with you.
I’ll be honest—I was angry. Mad. Upset. Frustrated. But could I be mad at God and still be a good Christian? Could I raise my fist at God in disgust and expect Him to still love me? After months of wandering through the desert and looking for the light, it took getting back to the basics to bring me through.
I found a true friend and mentor who led me though a course on the basics of our faith. The reasons why I believe. The true basics behind my faith. The amazing truth of the Gospel. The amazing power of spending time—alone—with the God of the universe. The amazing power of prayer. The amazing power of the Holy Spirit.
These were the same things I knew and had heard my entire life, but learning them this time was much sweeter. It was like hearing them for the first time, but experiencing and knowing the truth behind them.
Over breakfast tacos and a cup of coffee each Thursday morning, I learned all over again that God loved me. I was reminded of the sacrifice He made for ME. I began to see that in my situations, “This is our fate.” But it didn’t end there. These things were happening for a reason—so that God could receive glory.
After being questioned by his wife and told to curse God and die, the prophet Job responds, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job didn’t know why his troubles came. The retired Muslim in Baghdad didn’t know why his troubles came. I didn’t know why my troubles came. And you may not know why you your troubles come. But we must each press on. Remembering the basics, my love for God increased. I saw how He had worked in my life, and how—even now—He is working.
Job says in chapter 19, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me.”
After everything Job had gone through, he yearned to see God. To feel His presence. To hear His voice. He didn’t question, he simply pressed on. After re-learning the basics, I yearned to see God. I yearned to feel His presence. I yearned to hear His voice. I pressed on. The question of “Why?” no longer mattered.
My searches have grown much deeper now in the past months. But it took going back to the basics and the foundation before I could press on and find a grip on the reality of my faith. And while at times I still think back and ask, “Why?” I realize that’s not for me to know.
So instead, I give thanks for the trials. I give thanks to God for proving Himself. And I give thanks because, as Margaret Feinberg wrote in Deeper Walk, “Without these trials, I wouldn’t know the extent of your goodness or appreciate the countless sunny days and smooth seas. You’ve given me in the past.”[Jonathan Blundell is a graduating senior at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor with a passion for media ministry. While graduation is less than 40 days away, he is “patiently” awaiting God’s specific calling on his life and true love’s first kiss. In the mean time, he is currently working to build a multi-media company with the hopes of finding new, relevant and exciting ways to share the love of God with his generation.]
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