Pastor's Desk - "Going back..."

Sep 03, 2023

“Going back” is a very huge part of many lives currently.

Many are going back to school, the same school, or a different school; others are going overseas, while still others are returning to their jobs after a break. There are a few others who will also be going back, not physically but mentally as they retrace their steps to a path, they took many years ago. I want to explore the many sides of “going back” in our Pastor’s desk reflection this month.

Going back is resumption for some while for many others it is starting afresh. The emotions in facing the situation cannot be ignored. There is excitement on the one hand as relationships are renewed, as stories are told as the desire to implement what has been learned increases and energizes. On the other hand, there is great anxiety, as some ask what will be different, what will be new? Will I be able to cope? Will I be able to manage socially? Will I be able to apply what has been learned? Going back may also include face to face worship instead of online. These are real issues facing those going back to any situation, or any relationship.

Outdo yourself

But let’s learn some lessons from our athletes who just completed the World athletics championships. We often hear about personal best (PB), championship record (CR) or national record (NR). For each of these individuals or teams they were saying by these readings that they were doing better than where they were before. I consider this an important attitude to adopt in “going back”, and that is
to make sure that the performance you offer now is better than it was before. This is consistent with Paul’s teachings about the faith. He never considered that where he was and what he had attained was sufficient but was prepared to forget what was already achieved and press forward for what lies ahead. God has called us always to outdo ourselves. Knowledge of Christ and fellowship with Christ was non-negotiable for Paul, he wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. The challenge to each believer is to keep growing, and to keep knowing more of Christ.

Depend on God

The second lesson to remember as we “go back” with all the anxiety and uncertainty to face, is to depend on God. Yes, I did say that, depend on God, trust God, have faith in God. It seems so easy, yet it is so difficult for so many people brought up in a culture where you have been drilled, conditioned, and trained to apply yourself; put your shoulder to the wheel, don’t be lazy, fend for
yourself. None of these cultural guides or instructions contradict faith in God. It is because of your faith in God and not in your own abilities which make it possible for you to achieve your goals. Depending on God, trusting God is to acknowledge that God knows more than we do, knows the path we are about to take and wants to take us where we are to go. Hence the counsel of the proverb, trust in
the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path. (Proverb 3:5-6)’. Trust God, He will indeed see you through. Though the situation looks difficult and impossible, trust God.

Accept your limits

Yes, we are strong, yes, we are independent and can do many things for ourselves, yes why do we bother God when we can do things on our own. Hence,  we say, put things in order, why worry “we got that”. Yes, we do but there is a place for accepting our limits. We are limited beings and while we do not opt for laziness and irresponsible behaviour, we must reckon with the fact that we are
limited. We can do so much and no more. We can go so far and no further. We can achieve so much and that’s it. It’s a pity that these truths come home more when we are aging, or ill or dying, or in a crisis. We do not have to wait until those times to accept our limits. That is essential to our creation. When God created the first humans and placed them in the garden of Eden, he gave them
freedom, but also offered limits. You can eat from all the trees, but not from that one. If you do, it changes everything. From then humanity continued to test its limits. We test our limits in space exploration. We test our limits in undersea explorations. We test our limits in how we treat one another, without love, kindness, or respect. 

May I say that one of the ways to “going back”, is to mentally go back to the purpose for which God created us. God created us for God-self. Pause and think about it. God wants us to rest in Him, have fellowship with Him, learn from Him, abide in Him as the branch abides in the vine. The more we do this, the more we engage the experience of “going back’ we will be helped to go forward. As in
‘going back’, we would be revisiting the blueprints of our lives and purpose for being on earth. May God guide each of us during this specific period to use the traditional “going back” experiences, to revisit and deepen our relationship with God and with another. 

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