I’ve always been very good at math. It was my favorite subject. The concepts came to me easily and as a result I was prompted by my math teacher to take a class that not many did called additional math. On my first homework submission, he gave me a poor grade. I confronted him because I was sure my answers were right. He told me that indeed they were but that I didn’t show my work, I didn’t reveal to him the process by which I came to the answers. I was annoyed. “It’s not fair” I said, after all I had got the right answers, wasn’t that the point. He told me that actually it was not, he explained that getting the right results doesn’t necessarily mean you understand the right process.
Once you have really learnt how to process the information properly then you will always get the right result, so in his class he focused on the process.
This is the same principle that we can apply to life. Sometimes we find ourselves going to and from looking for what we consider the right result, but we have not stopped to consider the process. Given the proliferation of false churches home and abroad; this man of god and that one promising to make your problems go away and provide the answer to your needs, it leads me to think that we have become very results oriented. As long as we get what looks like the right answer, we don’t care about the process by which it comes.
Problems in life, much like problems in math are meant to increase you; Increase your knowledge, understanding, wisdom. They make you better. God is always God. His strength is unmatched. He created the universe and everything in it, so do you think your problem is too difficult for him? Certainly not, but I have come to believe He is focused on the process. Consider the children of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for forty years. When God delivered them it was with great signs and wonders. He parted the Red Sea, sent manna from heaven and more, yet they wandered. He could have probably spirited them all to the Promised Land if He so chose, but they needed to go through the process in order to grow and transform.
Sometimes the process seems to suck. I mean I’ll be frank. It is hard work.
Sometimes you need to feel pain, sometimes even shame. It is not always easy, you may have to work and rework your approach to it, but it is necessary. When a pupa is being transformed into a butterfly, I wonder if it hurts. We have all heard the term growing pains. This life is not about having the most money, the best marriage, wonderful kids and more, those are all just perks and if that is all life is what a passive life, we might as well never leave the baby phase.
The real deal about the life we lead is transformation, becoming more who we are meant to be, so that we can actually recognize and fulfill the purpose for which we were born. Right now I am in the midst of a process; it is no fun at all. I am a crier so I have had moments when the tears fell and I remember going to God and saying “Enough, you said you won’t give me more than I can bear” and My heavenly father responded patiently, “my daughter, you have much growing to do, (so suck it up, you have the strength inside of you, besides I am with you always!)
I am always wary of the concept that you have to force your answers down from heaven, so that if you haven’t got what you want it’s because you haven’t prayed or fasted enough. By all means pray, it is imperative that we do so. I believe that it is not only about telling God what we need, but hearing from Him and connecting to Him, it’s about learning how to be still and how to walk with Him.
By all means fast. That is teaching you how to feed your spirit and not just your flesh. It is teaching you how to bring some things in your life under submission. As I write this I recognize that I have to bring some emotions under submission in my life even now. I get angry too easily and I feel hurt too often. I need to learn to stop, pray and then act, too often I do it backwards by acting, then stopping and finally praying, by then life is invariably in a big mess but thank God for God, He is always there fixing all the broken things just the same and if I haven’t learned my lesson, he gives me the same homework in a different way, so that I can understand the process.
In life we will not always get what we want and in fact bad things may happen to us. Problems like storms are sure to come. It is the natural order of things, just like the rains have to come for the land to produce life; challenges have to come in order for us to produce our best selves. So when a problem comes, yes pray, fast but also take some time for introspection. Let us ask ourselves if there is something to be learned here, something that can add to our growth. Let us not spend so much time ascribing blame to “our enemies”. I was thinking about how Christ asked us to pray for and bless our enemies and I wondered why if someone is the source of torment for us that we must still bless them. Then it hit me, Jesus is more concerned with who we are and who we become, what happens to them is of less consequence. As we pray for our enemies we become transformed and that my dears is the bottom line.
So, if you’re in the midst of a storm, stop worrying. It will pass. It always does. The question you need to ask yourself is “do you understand the process?”