God is faithful and it’s not cliché- Lesson From My Year Abroad
“God’s faithfulness is experienced in His continually awakening in us the grace to keep believing.” -John Piper
If you’ve ever hiked up a hill, I’m sure you’d agree that one of the most fulfilling and liberating feelings is looking back and seeing the vast distance you’ve covered. It is looking back and seeing the reward of your effort, the fruit of your energy.
I live not too far from the city of Marseille in France, so oftentimes I find myself in the city soaking up the electricity of the chaos. Now this city, like all French towns has a “Notre Dame”; a colossal church that usually signifies the religious heart of the city, in Marseille, very befittingly the Notre Dame de la Garde lies at the very top of a hill. It very dramatically overlooks the city, in many ways serving as a reminder of how small we are.
When I first got to France I begrudgingly trudged up the very steep, very high hill, huffing and puffing up to the cathedral, I remember getting to the top, looking at the view and being filled with so much pride and awe. In my last days here in France, I went back to Marseille with my cousin who convinced me do it again, so, I mustered all the energy I had and I walked through the cobbled streets, along the windy roads and ventured up the hill to this cathedral. On getting to the top of the hill, it dawned on me that I had come somewhat full circle, I was back here at the top of the hill at the same pace I had been months ago when I had first come but this time, the view was different. I was different. As I looked at the skyline of the city and how far we had physically come from one end of the city, I realised how far I had come emotionally and spiritually.
One singular thought came to my mind “GOD IS FAITHFUL”.
I read this somewhere “God is faithful and it’s not cliché” and never before did that statement ring truer than at that moment, as I looked over the city of Marseille. Since August 2016, I have moved to a country where I knew no one, hardly spoke the language and I’ve been made aware of God’s sovereignty and omnipresence. He has been present in the intricacies of my daily life, in the big, in the small. I arrived in France unsure, excited but unsure, unsure of what the next academic year would look like but He is sure. Before I left the U.K my friend said to me “Iniye, I see a piggy bank, and I see God saying your piggy bank is full and all you need for France is in that piggy bank, all you need, you have in God”. And as everyday passes by I see the truth of that statement. I have witnessed God reach down, stretch His hand and heal my heart, I have been held by the Almighty God. The God who sees me. The God who is aware.
Nothing I do makes me worthy of His grace and nothing I do will disqualify me of it.
These past months I have witnessed life change and I have seen God change my life and I’ve seen Him change my dependencies. He has shown me that He is enough, in fact more than that, I think He has asked me if I actually believe that He is enough. He has challenged my beliefs about Him. I say I believe the Lord is my ever present help in times of trouble and in these times of trouble and He has asked me “Iniye, do you really believe that ?”. It has been like Elijah in the cave, every time I come crying at His feet, every time I run from the stress of reality He seems to ask me “Why are you here?” because He knows, but His questions me challenge me, they teach me about me. They bring me to search myself. My God has been faithful, in my sin and inadequacies and disobedience and doubts and fears He has proven Himself faithful.
In these past months He has shown me what grace means, He has shown me that nothing I do makes me worthy of His grace and nothing I do will disqualify me of His grace. He has shown me that His grace is my motivation not fear, not pride, not works but by His grace alone. He has shown me that I have to accept His grace and He is faithful in waiting for me to accept it. When like Peter I have tried to do the most without accepting grace He has faithfully reached down into the waters-as my own abilities and fears cause me to drown and He has lovingly asked me “Why do you doubt?”; Why do you doubt my grace is enough for you? He destroyed dependencies I had on myself and other people.
After 10 months completely detached from everything I anchored on- family, friends and even confidence in my ability to communicate effectively. Jesus has shown me that it is Him. It is all Him. I can plan, scheme, hope, wish and do but in the end it is Him and I can trust Him because He is faithful.