Last week I was facilitating our closing retreat for the Integrated Living Stay Home Mum’s Journey Season 4 Nairobi class group. As with most retreats, they is something about being together and relaxed; hearts tend to open up very fast. We had a lovely time.
One of the lessons I left with was: Tell
I had shared with the ladies about a woman, whom I do need to Tell, who prayed over me more than 2 decades ago and her prayers have continuously been answered in my life. The lady who encouraged me to go ahead and Tell said:
When people grow old in age and faith, it is easy to begin doubting whether they have had any impact. Whether they have influenced anyone. Whether their life counts for anything.
As I reflected on these words, I began to see truth in them. Especially in dark days, as people go through the valley of the shadow of death, such questions swirl in one’s mind. Have I lived well? Many times, the answers are not forthcoming, especially if you have not had anyone to Tell you so. So I made a commitment to call that particular lady of decades ago and Tell her, how that prayer she made, that Children’s Sunday so many years ago, that day when I had my hair braided falling over my shoulders in my black t-shirt and screaming blue ankle length wrap around skirt; how that prayer has been fulfilled over the years.
In my reflections on Tell, two men in the Bible came to mind: Elijah and John the Baptist. I actually chuckled when I remembered that John the Baptist had the spirit of Elijah. So I could say Elijah 1 and 2 or Old and New Testament Elijah . . .
You will find Elijah the ‘Prophet of fire’ in 1 Kings 17-19. His is literally a whirl wind account. He appears and immediately we know on whose side he stands; YHWH side. He declares a famine in the land as a consequence of the people’s sin and that of the evil Kind Ahab. Then he flees the scene. 3 years later he shows up and slaughters 350 prophets of Baal in one of the most famous showdowns recorded in the Bible, proving once and for all that YHWH is the God who answers by fire!
It is what happens after this showdown, plus ofcourse the downpour that is of interest to us in this post of Tell.
Elijah falls flat.
He becomes like a deflated baloon. pop!
As soon as he coems down from Mt. Carmel and Jezebel is made aware of the slaughter, she puts a price on his head and Elijah flees.
Desiring death. 1 Kings 19:4b
And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
That switched up fast. One moment Elijah is on Mt. Carmel daring anyone and calling down fire from heaven which consumes a water soaked offering and licks the water around it! Next minute Elijah is running away from Jezebel, the wife of the King Ahab, because she has threatened to kill him.
Discouragement comes upon even the strongest, the mightiest, those we deem infallible.
I have observed in my short life that especially after ‘a high’, like an achievement or a task or being in a space where one has given their all it is so easy to spiral downwards. I feel it is because of drain; mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and even social drain. One can and many have indeed felt ALONE.
Such is what happened to Elijah. Guy just slumped. Wished for death. Told God he was the only one left. But God encouraged him. First God gave him food to eat and water to drink. Then God spoke to Elijah and gave him work to do. Then concluded with a fact, that there were yet others, seven thousand to be precise who had not yet bowed their knees to Baal.Elijah was not alone in his zeal and honor of God!
John the Baptist
John the Baptist is mentioned in all the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In Luke 1:16-18 as a fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi 4:6, Zechariah the father of John the Baptist is told by the angel what would be the job description of his son:
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John the Baptist was to go forth in the Spirit of Elijah. Elijah the daring disruptor recorded in 1 Kings 17-19. John the Baptist comes onto the scene and he goes about faithfully and obediently fulfilling his purpose, including baptizing Jesus in water. Soon after he is arrested and put into prison. While there he undergoes a time of questioning. This is recorded in Luke 7:19, where the man who before baptizing Jesus made a public and bold declaration of Jesus being the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world asks:
“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
That is what discouragement and low seasons can do to your faith. They bring doubt, they shake you, they make you question your realities and what you have held dear in the days of stability.
Jesus, sends back the messengers from John the Baptist with a response:
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
The question of suffering is one that has caused many to depart from the faith. Suffering can become a breaking point for good or bad in a believers lives. And it is during such times that we need to be reminded. To be told. To be told testimonies of God’s work in us and through us in the past. To be told of God’s faithfulness in ages past, lest suffering overwhelm us and make us forget.
At a crossroad
Like Elijah and John the Baptist, we all get to a point of discouragement and questioning. We get into season where our faith is so shaken we are literally hanging by the thread. We all need to hear others speak up and encourage us. Tell us. Remind us. Of God and His unending faithfulness since ages past.
We need to hear another tell us that our lives have not been wasted. That it has not been in vain. That it was for a reason.
So I challenge you as I challenge myself, become a teller.
Tell people how their faith has influenced you. How their steadfastness inspired you. How their prayers for yo were answered.
Because as long as we are on this side of eternity, we are prone to low times, to discouragement, to questioning to shaking. We all need another to come alongside us and TELL
The reason many of us do not Tell is because we have convinced ourselves that, the person knows. Wanajua.
How can they not know how influential they have been to my faith?
How can they not know how much we admire them?
Are they even capable of having a bad day?
What can I even tell them that they possibly do not know or haven’t been told by now?
So we coil away. We close our mouths. We shut down that inner voice nudging us to Tell and walk away.
How do you start Telling?
How do you start telling you may ask?
Prayerfully make a list of 31 people that have influenced your life for good. List beside their names what it is that they did.
Then go ahead and Tell them, one person a day for the month of December.
You can call. You can text. You can send an email. You can visit.
If they are not alive, tell it to someone close to them. Someone who would be encouraged by that testimony
And they have conquered him (the devil, the father of lies) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . . (Rev 12:11)