Lessons I Learned from A Tough Season

Elyanna Samuelle.
 
Elyanna means “My Lord has answered.”
Samuelle means “God heard.”
 
We waited almost four years for this prayer to be answered. I can still remember that one night when I dreamt I was playing with two children. I woke up from that dream in tears knowing that God had made a promise.
 
But after such a long time of trying and one miscarriage, we were ready to give up. Only at the nick of time, when we least expected it (we found out we were pregnant the month after the craziness of my book launch and our 3 week trip to HK and SG), God answered. That’s because I believe God hears our cries.
 
I’d like to share with you a few lessons I learned in the time leading to this miracle come to life in hopes that this would encourage some as you continue to press on for the things you are hoping for.

1. Make the promise-maker the goal. Not the promise.

I will admit that for a time, I was so consumed by the promise that I had stopped seeking the One who made the promise. I can even say that the promise became my idol. Jesus reminds us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), and it’s for a good cause. When we miss out on this important principle, we leave our money on the table. The point of a promise is not that we get what we pray for, but that God is glorified and His power made evident.

2. Look for the message in your mess.

The timing of Elyanna Samuelle’s arrival wasn’t the best. It was the time that we were making plans to move to Bacolod to continue ministry there. Moreover, it was also at the peak of the success of my recently published book, “Break: Conquering Burnout with Sabbath Rest.”

I was so distracted by ministry, speaking engagements, projects, our business and the many other things that demanded our time. Many times I failed to act upon my priorities by putting God first by keeping the Sabbath (ironic for a guy who speaks on rest) and making time to take care of my family, most especially my wife.

But in the midst of the mess I found myself in, the message was clear- it’s God’s mission, not mine. My family is His family. My business was His business. He could take charge of my life in the areas that I could no longer balance on my own.

And by His grace, we have accomplished one of the busiest seasons ever. I travelled so much, spoke so much, got so many clients. But in all that, we found fulfilment and peace as a family. God is in charge. That was the message God spoke to us very loud and clear. What is God trying to tell you today? Take the time to be still and listen.

3. God will never fail.

Throughout life, and throughout this crazy summer, I failed many times. Failed as a businessman, as a minister, as a husband and as a father. And in all those failings, I could hear the condemnation start to seep in. “You had a miscarriage once. This pregnancy will fail too! Because you don’t deserve it.”

I’m just grateful for men I could open up to in times like that. Men who would remind me that God’s grace dictates that His promises are fulfilled based on His power, not mine. Sure I had my role to play, but where I was weak, Jesus could be strong. He could protect my child, erase my failings, provide for our needs and give strength, both physical and spiritual.

In life, we will always fail at one point or another. But even in our failings, we can be sure that our God will never fail.

What are promises you are holding on to today? I hope these lessons could shine some light on your situation, and cause faith to rise once again in you. God is on your side, my friend. Don’t lose heart.

 

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