Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
I’m honored and humbled to be used of God to reach many. Many years ago I would have never imagined what God would plant in my life as His servant weaknesses and faults. When I tell people I used to be shy and intimidated, it blows their mind and they find it hard to believe that was me. I remember even joking about it and telling my family that the day they will put me in front of a congregation, they better have an ambulance outside to drive me to the hospital for I knew for sure I would pass out. After many years of looking at myself that way, God began to give me confidence by looking at other people who were moving forward and I told the Lord that if they can, I too can. Not because I was jealous of them but because I believed there was more do too for the Lord.
From experience, few people can move forward by themselves without the inspiration of others. Over the years I have learnt to encourage myself in this journey because not always will you have people around you to help you with that. On the other hand God has brought around me people to provoke and challenge my current position and it’s upon me to decide whether I want to remain where I am or challenge myself to move to the next level. As long as there is nothing to challenge or provoke you, you will feel that you have arrived but the moment something begins to come your way as a reminder that where you are could be a stepping stone, you will purpose in your heart to think twice. Pastor Phil challenges me in the area of witnessing, the Word and discipleship. I have grown more in these areas through him. I challenge him in prayers and encouragements because I find myself stronger in these areas.
1Samuel 1:1-28 is an interesting story. We are told of three people, Elkanah, Penninah and Hannah. Elkanah is the husband to both Penninah and Hannah, Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah as the bible says. Elkanah always gave bigger portion of gifts that he had to Hannah and less to Penninah. Penninah on the other hand was blessed with children because God opened her womb while Hannah’s womb was shut. In the Old testament to have children especially boys was a sign of a blessing. A man was considered blessed if his wife could give him boys. Here we see how Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah and yet Hannah had no children. If you remember, Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and yet Leah had many children while Rachel did not until at a later time.
One thing about the story of Hannah that fascinates me is that she was okay until Penninah had children and she desired her own, to make matters worse in 1samuel 1 vs. 6 says”… her rival (Penninah) also provoked her severely, to make her miserable”. Yes Hannah was loved more than Penninah, and yes she received more gifts than her but yet she realized there was more she could have desired. Her desire was not to compete against her rival or get even, her desire was to gain more from the Lord. God had allowed Penninah to provoke her as Leah was allowed to provoke Rachel. She decides to go to pray to God, a prayer of desperation, praying earnestly and constantly the only thing that made her prayers to be answered is when she vowed that the child God would give her, she would dedicate him back to God serving Him all the days of his life. Samuel is born, became a prophet and what a mighty man he was. Also, Rachel bore Joseph who later became the number two man in Egypt. Through his life, Israel was saved from a severe draught.
Suppose there was nothing to challenge and provoke these women to move to the next level, what an opportunity many would have missed. “All things work together” whether it be frustrations, someone provoking you, or through what you see and get challenged by. I would pray that we will evaluate and examine the reason why we would desire more than what we have.
I thank God for this far He has brought me but with the new things that are provoking and challenging me, I am going after them. No need to be frustrated when people are provoking and challenging you, they are doing you a favor and I would say those are loyal friends. Judas betrayed Jesus, but it worked for our good as God’s pre-arranged plan for our salvation. Blessings Ev