O ye of Little Faith!
A True Story
on Oct 17, 2021
If there was one virtue that Jesus admired most in people, it was faith. He was so moved by the deep belief that some folks had in Him that He healed them from their sicknesses on account of their faith. And He went on to say, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed ... nothing will be impossible for you."
Jesus placed such a premium on the virtue of faith that He criticized those who had little faith in God. He liked saying, "O ye, of little faith!" - a phrase He used to rebuke even His disciples who sometimes doubted His divinity. I find it strange that the disciples who traveled with Jesus and witnessed the miracles He performed doubted Him more than some other ordinary folks did.
While reflecting on my Christian faith recently, it dawned on me that I have been more like the disciples of Christ in that I have witnessed God answering some of my prayers and then doubted whether He will satisfy the desires of my heart. Will I ever get married? Will I ever build my own home? Will I ever own a car? Will I ever travel overseas? I have wondered.
Given how I have doubted whether God will satisfy the desires of my heart, I can relate to the following words of a favorite hymn of mine:
Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to say that I have doubted the existence of God. That God exists is a fact I have always held to be true. And I believe God exists in the same way I believe my heart exists. You see, I have never seen my heart and never will during my time on Earth. But I believe it exists not only from what I learnt in my high school Biology classes but also for the pulses I feel whenever I place my palms over my chest.
Let me at thy throne of mercy, find a sweet relief,
Kneeling there in deep contrition, help my unbelief.
Similarly, even though I have never seen God and never will during my time on Earth, I believe He exists not only from what I read in the Bible but also from the wonders of nature that I witness in my day-to-day living. Wonders such as the rising of the Sun in the East every morning, the beaming of the Moon at dusk and the twinkle of stars at night.
Yes, I believe God exists. What I have doubted is whether He will satisfy the desires of my heart as He promises in the Bible. And those doubts could work against me because the Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. The Bible advises us that when we approach God in prayer, we must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Having learnt from the Bible the importance of possessing an unshakable belief in God and in His ability to fulfill the desires of our hearts, I have embarked on a faith-building program. About a year ago, I subscribed to be receiving in my email devotional articles which I have been reading every evening before taking supper. Oh, how I have come to enjoy those articles!
Besides reading devotional articles, I have also memorized the lyrics of my favorite hymns which I croon when I am showering, washing my clothes and cleaning my room - all in an effort to bolster my faith in God and in His Word. So far, I have succeeded in memorizing the lyrics of about 35 hymns, a testament to the amazing power of our brains to store a lot of knowledge.
My efforts to grow in faith seem to be bearing fruit because this week, I woke up one morning having this firm belief in God and in the Bible as His inerrant Word. I intend to keep on that trajectory of growing my faith since this fallen world tends to erode the hard bumps of conviction that we acquire in life.
As Apostle Paul put it in one of his epistles, I will strive to walk more by faith and less by sight. How? By believing that God loves me, that He has wonderful plans for my life, that He will satisfy the desires of my heart if I delight in Him, that He is fighting my battles for me and that He will make all things work out for my good.
God places seeds of faith in the heart of every believer. Our work is to water those seeds of faith with lots of prayers, fertilize them with words from the Bible and cultivate them with lots of love. So let's get to work on growing our belief in God, in His Word and in His wonderful promises, O ye of little faith!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn which is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to access the hymn.
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A True Story
on Oct 12, 2021
There is this neighbor of ours we call Mkisii because he hails from the Abagusii community of western Kenya. I've known him for the past twelve years since he came to live on the land that borders our farm on the northern side. And he must be a man of modest means given the way he used to come to our home to borrow water before Mum instructed him to refrain from doing so.
Now, Mkisii has been having an annoying habit of letting his goats stray into our farm. On a number of occasions over the past four years, my sick Mum has flown into a rage at the sight of Mkisii's goats feasting on grass and food crops on our farm. And no matter how stern she has been with Mkisii, he has still left his goats to wander onto our farm through gaps on the fence separating our land from his.
One morning on October 2019 after Mkisii's goats strayed into our farm, I tethered them to a tree to keep them from devouring on food crops on our farm. And when Mkisii came for the goats a few hours later, I demanded Ksh. 200 for the work I had done in tying the goats to a tree. He promised that he would pay me the money once he received the salary he earns as a watchman.
Being the smart young man that I am, I kept reminding Mkisii about the money. I would phone him to ask for the cash and even mention it to him whenever we met on the road. But however hard I tried to get the money from him, he would come up with an excuse as to why he was not in a position to pay me. Eventually, I stopped bothering him after it dawned on me that getting money from him was like getting blood out of a stone.
Late last year, matters came to a head when a woman employed to take care of my sick Mum spotted Mkisii's children stealing guavas from our farm. Mum was so vexed to hear what Mkisii's children had done that she asked me to be on the look-out for the children on our farm. Well, I never got to see them on our farm but it sure did vex me too to hear they were pilfering fruits from our farm.
It is not only the straying of Mkisii's goats into our farm and his children's stealing of our guavas that have annoyed us. We have also been offended when Mkisii and his family began using a road on our farm as a short-cut for a journey to and from a nearby town called Kiserian. My Mum was the first to raise complaints when she spotted Mkisii using our road.
After Mum raised complaints about Mkisii using our road, I noted a gap on a certain spot on the fence separating our land from Mkisii's. I suspected he and his family were using the gap to trespass into our farm without our knowledge. And when I confronted him about it, he denied using the gap to enter into our farm.
Guess what! A few weeks later, I noticed the gap had become wider after someone cut a barbed wire on the fence, thus raising my suspicion that Mkisii was using the gap to trespass into our farm. My suspicion turned out to be right because two or three months ago, I caught Mkisii red-handed using the gap to enter into our farm.
When I caught Mkisii red-handed using the gap to trespass into our land, I asked him to desist from doing so and then instructed him to seal the gap with kei-apple plants. He promised me that he would do so. But alas! He seems to still have been making use of the gap, for I have noticed a beaten path on the ground below the gap.
Given how Mkisii has a history of lying to me, I have been tempted to speak rudely to him and to call him an inveterate liar on the occasions I have met him over the past few months. I have actually visualized myself reminding him of all the times he has lied to me, such as promising to pay me Ksh. 200 which he has never done. And I have visualized myself doing so with a touch of rudeness and arrogance.
But on mature reflection, I have chosen to be kind to Mkisii and ignore his wrong-doings. For one thing, he is a widowed man bringing up three or four children on his own. His wife passed away three years ago, and on the morning after his wife died, he came to our house to inform us about it. So I have asked myself: Why be rude to such a widowed man of modest means struggling to raise children on his own? And that has reminded me of a quote that says, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
I have also chosen to be kind to Mkisii because the Bible says in the book of Proverbs that "he who despises his neighbor sins". Since I believe in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, I have this feeling that if I despise Mkisii by speaking rudely to him, God might refuse to grant me the desires of my heart such as owning a magnificent home. I will therefore continue being kind to Mkisii. It's more important to be kind than to be right.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on being kind, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about three years ago on "Death Strikes My Neighborhood". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.