Many people are scared whenever they think about the future and this is because they do not know what the future would bring. They are scared because circumstances around them only suggest a bleak future. Many people are already scared of the next year while this present year has not run out. They think of where they are in life, or where their age mates are and then they begin to compare, contrast and conclude. Slowly but surely, they begin to get scared. Scared of examinations they are yet to write. Scared that the man who promised to marry them may not keep his promise; or of a quit notice from the landlord. Scared that if they travel, they might encounter an accident; or that the symptoms they experience may develop into a full-blown disease that will kill them. Scared perhaps that they may have contacted HIV/AIDS from that reckless sexual intercourse. If there is but one thing the devil is good at doing, it is to scare people.
If you read the book of Job and you’ll find that Job performed sacrifices everyday out of fear that his children might have cursed God in their hearts…not even in their mouth. He didn’t want any harm to come to them, and so when eventually his children all died, he made a comment saying:
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Job 3:25
I’ve come to know that in life, what you fear most has a great tendency to happen to you. Whenever you entertain fear, you inadvertently open your doors to the devil. Fear is a motivator of evil works. Whenever you entertain faith you open your doors to God. Every man has the door of faith and fear in his heart and whichever one you open determines who you let into your life. You enthrone either the devil or God in your heart when you open your heart to fear or faith respectively. I need you to understand that faith is a currency for tomorrow.
If you are sick, you need faith to be healed. If you are confused you need faith to step in the right direction. If you are living in sin, you need faith to start living a holy life. Did you notice that Jesus never said to anybody, “My faith has healed you?” He rather always said to them, “Your faith has made you whole.” everyone that got something from Jesus had faith. Lazarus who was raised from the dead had no faith, for the dead cannot exercise faith. However, his sisters had faith.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” John 11:21-22 (NLT)
Now that is faith at work. You need faith to receive your future. It is this faith that differentiates us as Christians. An unbelieving man in his sick bed begins to plan his burial. He even selects what he should be dressed with, and where he should be buried. But a man of faith in the same circumstance will tell death that it is not yet time. It may shock you to know that to die is a choice.
One of my daughters travelled after fellowship on Sunday evening. In the bus she travelled in, a police officer sat to her left and an old woman to her right. On their way from Onitsha to Owerri, their vehicle somersaulted three times. At the first somersault she said, “I choose life.” In her heart she reminded herself that her father in the Lord taught her that life and death is a matter of choice and so, she chose life. They were later rushed to the hospital. The police officer and old woman sitting by her side both died, but she had no scratch. When she was sharing her testimony, she said, “Life is a choice.”
Even the bible records during the stoning of Stephen that he already prepared his mind to die.
As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7:59 (NLT)
Apostle Paul faced a similar situation. He was stoned until they confirmed he was dead. The disciples even came to bury him.
Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. Acts 14:19-20 (NLT)
As you read this, I prophesy that you will not die or be buried before your time. The earth will not receive your body until you finish you divine assignment in Jesus Name. Amen!
It is because we do not operate with faith that the devil has something to capitalize on to attack Christians. People perish not because of the devil is all too powerful, but because of lack of knowledge of what they are capable of. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances say, but if your faith will say “Yes”, God will not say “No!”
Do you realize that God can plan to do something but your faith or lack of it will stop the plans of God?
Likewise, your faith is capable of undoing what God has done. Many would disagree with this last statement but I will give you two examples from the bible where this happened.
And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. 1 Samuel 1:4-6 (NKJV)
Twice in verses 5 and 6 the bible says “…the Lord had closed her womb.” Many of today’s Christians would have settled for singing:
“If God says it,
And I believe it,
That settles it.”
Or they would say something like: “It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight.” It is not every doing that is marvellous. That you are unable to provide food to eat, or to meet a pressing need is not necessarily the Lord’s doing. And even if it were, it is not marvelous. The bible does say that “The expectations of the righteous will not be cut short.” Hannah would have said, “Well, it is God, let me give it a rest, I have nothing to do about it.” But she didn’t decide her own destiny that way.
So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 1 Samuel 1:9-11 (NKJV)
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:17-18 (NKJV)
The Lord opened her womb and she gave birth to Samuel. That is what faith can do. Notice that “her face was no longer sad”, she didn’t get pregnant immediately, but she knew it was only a matter of time. That is what means to have faith in the unknown. It doesn’t matter what has happened in your life but if you trust that God is the holder of your future, you are condemned to victory. Victory is your birthright; that is why we celebrate the unknown. With her faith she began to celebrate long before she gave birth, long before the manifestation of her request. It really takes faith to celebrate the unknown.
Something happened to me many years ago in my undergraduate years. It was in my third year to be precise. There was this very difficult course for which I read to hard such that I didn’t sleep for three nights. At the end I was so convinced that I was no longer preparing for the exam, but that the exam was preparing for me. I was going to write excellently well. When I walked into the exam, to my greatest surprise, my eyes became very heavy. I couldn’t hold myself from sleeping. In less than 20 minutes, I placed my head on the paper and dozed off. When someone made a sound, I woke up, answered a little of number 4 in between number 2 and dozed finally. For more than 2 hours I was sleeping. Suddenly I felt a cold hand touch me and said, “My son, others have submitted their papers, are you still praying?”
What! What manner of prayer?! I checked the time, it was 5pm. I looked at my paper, and only two pages were written. This was a fundamental course for Industrial Chemistry students. I’m the type that would write and ask for extra paper judging by how prepared I was. Everyone had left the hall but me. I was shouting myself hoarse. I vowed I will not make an F in that course.
When I submitted that paper, I went straight to where I used to pray; I lay down on bare floor and began to weep before God. I cried, “What kind of thing is this? I read my books on average of 15 hours every day.” While I was still praying, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say to me “Weep no more. What do you want to make in that course?” I felt I would be crazy to ask for an A in the course; I hadn’t even earned up to 16 marks going by what I wrote in the exam hall. I didn’t want to score a C as it would draw down my target Grade Point (GP) of 4.4. It took me faith to say, “I want to make a B in that course.” and God said, “Settled.” I heard Him say “Settled”. How will he do it? I don’t know! He gave me some instructions:
- He said, “Don’t tell anybody about this incident, let it be between you and Me”.
- He said, “Anytime you think about it, all I want you to do is to praise me and worship me. Leave it in My hands.
To my greatest surprise, when the results were published I saw that is scored 68. I don’t know how God did it, till today. 2 more marks and it would have been an A. If only I had enough faith for A. It is not always by intelligence. It is a matter of Who is on your side. For if God be for us, who can be against us?, and greater is He that is in me that He that is in the world. And I remember I was celebrating the unknown. While others were talking about their experiences in the exam hall, I would not talk about my own, but simply listen to them and say, “It is well, God is on the throne.”
Before this incident I used to be a doubting Thomas. I had heard of a brother in Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES) who gave a testimony of how God told him to leave blank spaces after every question he was supposed to answer. He would write the little he knew, whether it was correct or not, and leave spaces in that page and go to the next page. During marking, the examiner filled question marks “?” in those spaces indicating that the required answers were not supplied in full. When he was computing the scores, he forgot that those were question marks “?”and counted them as “7” into 10 places. The brother inevitably scored 70 which gave him an A. When I heard it at first I assumed it could not be true. After I had this experience, it became solid proof to me that nothing was impossible with God.
The second example I’m going to give you is that of King Hezekiah. The Bible says that God told His prophet Isaiah to go and tell Hezekiah that he was already a dead man. Isaiah told Hezekiah to go and prepare his home for he was about to die. However the bible says by faith Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed.
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.
Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, Isaiah 38:1-2 (KJV)
There are times in life when you should decide to sort problems out with God. Too many of us are depending upon Pastors, upon Prophets; you want people that can see the future for you. If I were in your shoes, a time will come when I will say to people, “Excuse me, I know you are gifted, but leave me to sort this one out with my God.” I tell you, some of these men of God are the ones that actually need your prayers more than you need theirs. They face all manner of temptation daily from the devil’s lair all in the bid to bring them down. You have no idea how much machinery the devil has put in place just to attack and frustrate the ministry of certain men of God and to diminish efforts to spread the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Do not cultivate the bad habit of trusting in the arm of flesh. Men of God are still human beings and have the capacity to fail you. Why put all your trust in a man of God, are you trying to make God irrelevant? Learn to communicate directly with God.
I am not saying that you do not need Pastors. Believe me, their prayers of love go a long way to solve problems in your life. Here in House of Kings & Priests, our pastors spend quality time individually and corporately praying for members, the body of Christ, the state and the nation; but there are circumstance you meet in life, like that of Hannah and Hezekiah, that you must decide to thrash it out one-on-one with God. Hezekiah faced the wall and prayed and God heard and answered.
Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying,
Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.Isaiah 35:4-5 (KJV)
Against hope, Abraham believed. Against what medical science had said, Abraham still believed. Most of us are Christians but hardly believers. You need your faith to believe. Learn to believe in God without reserve. Whatever God has said concerning you, be sure He will perfect; all you need to do is to believe in His Word. Against the fact Abraham chose to believe in the truth of God’s word spoken to him. As Christians we are not permitted to believe in the fact that disagrees with the truth of the Word of God. You can only accept the fact when it is in agreement with the Word of God. The fact is that a woman, clinically speaking, will go into menopause at the age of 50; but the truth says that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, took in at the age of 90. I love how a preacher once put it. He said that “Menopause is not menostop.” Anything that pauses can always be un-paused. The fact may say that you are carrying a fibroid, but the truth may be that you are carrying a fine boy.
You need to cultivate the faith to celebrate the unknown. Are you sick? Celebrate your healing. Are you poor? Celebrate your prosperity. Faith doesn’t cost a thing. It takes faith to price a car when you have no money in your bank account. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3 (NKJV)
Situations of life want you to bow you head in defeat, but God wants you to lift your head, and He is the one who will lift up your head for you. Just have faith in Him.
Do not be tensed up concerning the unknown things to come. That can only happen if your hope is not in God. Rather, put your hope and trust and faith in God and you will have no reason no to be excited about the things to come because they can only be good things. God will keep His promises and His Word. Bible says “Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will never pass away.” it is time to celebrate the unknown things to come for that takes faith and only your faith can guarantee the accomplishment of the unknown things to come. You may not know what the future holds, but you need to know He that holds the future and He is God Almighty. Make Him your God and Father.
Abraham received a son from God according the His promise.
And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. Genesis 21:1 (NKJV)
God will do unto you as He has said He will do. He will keep His promise. Just have faith in Him.
If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, you do not stand any chance of receiving anything from God. You do not even have the capacity to have the kind of faith required to receive from God. Repent from your sins and turn to Jesus, He will wash your sins away and reunite you to God the Father. Then you will receive the power and the faith to believe in the unknown things.