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Struck down but not destroyed

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Sometimes in 2012, I was evicted from my rental house in Kasarani on the same day my grandfather was being laid to rest. That morning, I packed all my belongings and left to say goodbye to the most caring person the family has ever known. Even then, my then landlord kept sending text messages reminding me to vacate the premises by the end of the day.

I will not go into the details of the eviction, but I could not forgive that man (until later when God came into the picture).

Fortunately, I took my stuff to my brother’s place and left to the other side of town at a friend’s who had offered to host me. Neither my mum, son, brothers, sisters or relatives knew I had been evicted – only the lady next door who was a close friend of mine, and my host knew.

At the time of eviction, I did not have money to rent a decent house (and my host discouraged me from renting anything less that a 1-bedroom, saying I should never walk backwards) or pay my son’s fees (schools had just opened and I was penniless).

But God came through during my exile and showed me that He commands my destiny and that everything that happens is for a good cause. He knows the end from the beginning!

I ate well, got a free laptop and internet to continue working (I was still a freelancer), paid my son’s fees (I raised it within the first 3 days of ‘exile’) and lived in peace.

During the three months I lived in exile, God spoke to me (through a Catholic priest) and asked me to forgive EVERYBODY that I was holding hostage in my heart – including my landlord.

Prior to that, hurt is all I knew. Almost everyone I came across left me wounded – from family members to the stranger on the street! Everyone who walked through my heart made sure their feet left with some piece of flesh and so I was full of scars. I even remember one friend telling me: “Pauline, you are always going through shit.”

But you know what? While it was true that I was always going through shit, I knew that was not my home.

As I would come to learn later when I started reading the Bible, God will never give us more than we can bear. Again, I also came to learn that ‘the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.’

I did struggle to let go of the people that had hurt me – since childhood. And I remember writing the former landlord saying that I had forgiven him but he could not believe. This was the very first time God taught me about forgiveness, and sure, He made sure I reaped the fruits therein.

That week after forgiving the people that had left my heart with scars, I got my job.

And there are many reasons my job had to come while in exile. First, my PC did not have a camera and yet my interview was conducted via Skype.

My (former) boss did not know this, but even the cardigan I was wearing during the Skype video chat belonged to my host – it was my favourite though not mine! (God bless you Peet and my host – who will remain unnamed).

God also used that opportunity to teach me about faith, trust and forgiveness. I learnt to always trust in Him and never lean on my own understanding, as well as to praise Him in the midst of storm. Above all, my pain threshold went up and that is how I have managed to handle the challenges of life – including deliberate acts aimed at hurting me, opposition, discrimination, rejection among others.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Jesus also mentioned that every day has enough problems of its own. Yes, you will be hated, slandered, sidelined, mistreated, looked down upon, forgotten, forsaken, fired, discriminated, opposed and rejected but keep your eyes on Jesus and you will never suffer shame.

Maybe the reason you are not progressing in life is because you keep running away from your problems.

As our Bible teacher says, your problems should give a hint of your purpose/destiny. Didn’t the devil want Jesus killed because he knew that the time to set captives free and have his crushed had come? You have to feel the ‘strain’ in lifting your feet or head in order for you to move a step higher.

The Bible advises us to consider it great joy when we go through trials of every kind (James 1:2).

Something good will always come out of unpleasant circumstances. Yes, there are treasures in the darkness (Isaiah 45:3). So stop whining and thank God for your problems. After all, didn’t He say that ‘mourning may last a night, but joy comes in the morning?’

Be still and know that He is God.