Before one of my close friends left for study abroad back in 2014, he bought me a book titled ‘Being a Mary in Martha world.’ I was grateful for the gift but I was not so sure whether he was implying something or what exactly I would learn from the book. 3 years later I realize that perhaps it was just foresight and wisdom from God. For those who may know me, I’m usually involved in a lot of activities. I am grateful God has blessed me with several talents and it’s my daily prayer that I should not bury even a single one, but fully nurture them and take them back to my Master at the end of days.
I must admit though, that sometimes I get weary of doing it all. Hence why I relate so much with Martha in Luke 10: 40-42. “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me!”
First of all, Martha had guts to ask the Lord of Lords whether He cares. (Oh the irony!) Then again, it was punctuated with an exclamation mark. I can only imagine her tone. Haha!
But look at what Jesus says; “Martha, Martha. You are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” – Luke 10:41-42
Notice He didn’t say Mary had chosen what is good but He said what is better. Work is blessed of the Lord and He blesses those who work. But because of all my work, I had become a worrier, just like Martha. My perfectionist tendencies didn’t help either. I would put my trust in what I could do and my accomplishments and in fellow man rather than God. And when things would go wrong, I would break down. God knows how many tears I cry over this.
But the real problem at those moments isn’t that I had lost control, but I had forgotten that I was never meant to be control in the first place. I have had to always remind myself, even in the blurry of daily activities, that the most important thing is to sit at His feet.
I have a particular friend and classmate whose faith amazes me. He may not really know this because it almost comes so naturally to him. His ability not to worry about things, is intriguing, to me at least. I tried explaining it with his typical phlegmatic personality but I found that it was much deeper faith. One that wasn’t of any human nature or effort.
I’m reading the book Facing the giants by Max Lucado (beautiful book that I’d recommend to anyone). Anyway, there’s a statement in the book that seemed funny but very appropriate to explain my marvel of my friend’s faith. “Some people seem graced with mercy glands. They secrete forgiveness, never harboring grudges or inciting their hurts.” But for this scenario, I’ll change it up to say, “some people seem graced with faith glands.”
I wondered how it could be so natural to trust in God. Perhaps fear had paralyzed me for so long, I forgot how it was to be able to walk. Each move I tried to make felt crippling.
This paralysis was horrible! It’s already bad that I sometimes choose fear over faith yet He says that the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17) or Without faith, no one pleases God.( Hebrews 11:6) But in that choice to fear, I am also making out God to be a liar. Because He says so many times in His Word; “Fear not, be not dismayed.” Yet here I am, occasionally dismissing His promises just because of a momentary bad season or situation.
Faithlessness can become such bile – a bitter taste in our mouths over the reflux of worry and fear. Physically, we can even get ulcers over stress and worry. But spiritually, we get deeper ulcers when the devil gnaws at the ulcers with absolute lies at those vulnerable moments. “You are useless. It won’t work out. Why do you even keep trying?” Soon, the ulcers are bleeding out and like a cancer, affecting other organs as well. Metastasizing to your friendships and relationships. Your studies. Your everything. Plus you can’t eat any more. You’re anorexic. Your view about yourself changes when you see your shriveled, faithless, skinny self slowly dying. “Who can surely still love me looking like this? Death would be better now.”
Blow after blow, we begin a cycle that may be leading us to our own death. Yet we’d rather hold on to the familiar struggle we have than the unfamiliar waters He is telling us to walk upon in faith.
What a grim picture I’ve painted of faithlessness as a cancer! But this I know; we serve the Ultimate healer!
I am that girl who had a malignant tumor of faithlessness. At times, I imagined myself as the paralyzed man in Luke 5:17-20 but my story was different. I didn’t have friends to lower me. This doesn’t mean I don’t have friends whom I can rely on (Oh I thank God for them!) but most times the scenes that play out in my head are contrary to the truth. Remember the malignancy spreading to other organs? Fear of rejection for so long kept me guarded against sharing my life with others. Yes I preach vulnerability but that sermon isn’t always sweet to my ears. There are times I get so cold; a hardened heart not willing to give or receive any love at all!
But He says; “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
I have seen this to be true in my life. He transforms my heart. Now I have less pride. Less worry. Less fear of the unknown. He took my heart of stone and made it one of flesh.
Sometimes, I fall and can go from 100 to 0 real quick. I dissociate myself from people and wallow in despair and fear. But just like ice placed next to a fire, His word and consuming fire melt the lattice within me and bring me to my knees in repentance for my lack of love and faith in His plans.
But it hasn’t come in a day. Or a month. Or a year. It has been a never ending count of little breakthroughs at a time. Faith comes by hearing; the suffix ‘-ing’ depicting continuous tense. Like a sculptor, He has been chipping out the sinful parts of me; that one day I will behold Him and be like Him completely!
Here’s the chorus of a song I composed the other day in an attempt to sum up this and a lot more He’s teaching me about faith and freedom from fear and worry;
All time Healer,
Only you can heal,
The wounds of shame and guilt.
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