A Different Perspective

Giving Through the Pain

Hey y’all. How are you doing today? I hope all’s good with you.

The truth is, times are hard for many, if not most, of us. A lot of people are suffering, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally. People are grieving losses every day, broken dreams, dashed expectations, prolonged waiting for some relief or aid or change to happen.

Things are really hard right now in my country. In the run up to the elections, people are fighting at cash dispensers over the new policy of daily cash withdrawal limits, queuing long hours for fuel, being charged exorbitantly to make simple purchases and withdrawals. That’s in addition to all we have been managing before, with the constant hiking of diesel prices and the decline of our Naira. Many of us are speechless.

Beyond speechless, many are discouraged, and in such a climate, selfishness or self-preservation seems to be the way to go. But we can’t give in to that, even if it looks like the only thing we can do.

I recall the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 (vs 7-16), during a time of severe famine. God sent Elijah to the widow saying He had made provision for Elijah there, but when Elijah met her, she said she was down to her very last meal. All she could do was make enough for herself and her child, and then wait for death. But still, Elijah asked her to give.

It seemed so impossible. How can you SEE my situation, see that I am suffering, I am in lack, and you are asking me to give you? What can I give you??? I imagine that would have been her thinking.

But Elijah not only insisted that she give, but that she actually serves HIS food first!!!

Now, what happened to the woman after obeying this absurd request was truly a wonder of God. Yes, the man of God promised that her flour and oil would be enough and not run out, but it took great faith for her to believe it and act on it… And even if she was already prepared to die, whether or not he was right, no one really wants to die. So, her obedience is something we can learn from.

I believe that God is asking this of every one of us going through a challenge or a hard time right now. We shouldn’t let our circumstance dictate our character. We must always keep our hearts soft and tender before God, and our hands open to give, because whatever we have in the first place came from Him. And even though the situation around us doesn’t change (though He also has the power to change it), we have to trust that He will sustain us through it.

Guys, if we believe the lie that we just have to think of ourselves and fend for ourselves only, and we have no obligation to be kind or generous to others, then the devil has succeeded in his plan to destroy us. We may think we are helping ourselves, but what we refuse to sow cannot bear fruit in our lives. Like Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). This is the message of the Cross, where we die to save ourselves, rather than the other way round (Matthew 16:25).

Selfishness only breeds wickedness. It starts a destructive chain of events that ruins us as well as those around us. But kindness performs miracles. Even when it hurts, please choose to give.

I’m not just talking about your money…

Give your smile, though it hurts. Give your attention, though you are stressed. Give your time, though you are busy. Give your aid, skills, and resources, though it goes without payment or praise. Give your forgiveness, give your prayers, even to the ones who despitefully use you… Most importantly, give positivity and hope. Do not let discouragement settle into bed with you. Chase it away with good thoughts, good words, and faithfulness.

This post came to me last night when I was feeling despair on my bed. I kept thinking, I’m tired of giving. It’s not working. Nothing is changing. I expend a lot of time and energy on my writing, not just telling great stories, but promoting them. And the results just were not adding up…

But God ministered to me that I must ‘give through the pain.‘ Like Paul said to the Galatians; “Do not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith…” (Galatians 6:9-10 KJV).

So, if you have been holding tight to things for fear of what will happen to you if you show kindness, release your grip. What is in your hand that God wants you to sow into someone’s life? Even if it’s your last…

We know ourselves. We know the word from God we neglected to heed. Let’s repent and return to the Father in full trust that He will sustain us if we will continue to honour Him in faith and be His generous hands in the midst of the famine all around us.

I pray you are encouraged and motivated. You are not alone. Your trial is not unique, though your experience is. God is very personal. He is very intentional. Just look at Elijah and the widow. His grace is sufficient for you for what you are passing though. Believe and be blessed.

Photo credit: http://www.canva.com

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