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Monday, December 7, 2009

Winning in times that try men’s souls

Having money and fame does not bring joy and a peace of mind after all, rather, learning from mistakes and letting God take control leads to a blissful, purposeful and fulfilled life, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

The famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh seemingly had it all but ended up shooting himself. And one of my favourite American novelists, Ernest Hemingway, with all his influence and affluence, committed suicide in 1961, seven years after winning a Nobel Prize in literature. And I have never stopped asking why. Could it be that money can’t buy happiness?

Celebrated gospel artiste Papa San recently told an inquisitive journalist that at the height of his fame, he spent most of his nights drenching his pillow with tears because he felt purposeless and empty inside. It was only after he changed his ways and became a born-again Christian that he found joy and contentment.

We are living in perplexing times for sure as every passing day we are inundated with stories and occurrences that make us cringe. People are throwing themselves down tall buildings and some buildings are taking turns falling on people as well. Then some individuals have turned it into a business to “bump off” innocent children in the quest of wealth. Others are, because of unemployment and poverty, driven to con, snatch, bribe, kill or offer sex in exchange for a meal, a job, a promotion or even a pay rise.

I recently watched a movie in which a little girl pestered her mother into telling her when she would be allowed to have sex. The shocked mother reluctantly said 18. But the girl said firmly that 15 was the new (modern) 18 and it was clear she couldn’t wait to turn 15 so she can have sex. It reminded me of a recent story in my neighbourhood of a mother who dumped her baby on the doorstop of a man that had impregnated her and denied the responsibility.

It also reminded me of the splash in tabloids; crimes of passion committed when one of the partners is ditched or cheated on. And of the sex escapades (fornication and infidelity), which all serve to confirm the new preoccupation – fulfilling our emotional urges, and the loss of faith in moral values. It is as if there is nothing more to live for as people recklessly drown their frustrations, anxieties, anger and fears in alcohol, drugs, sex as well as wallow in self pity.

All the while rhetorics are being posed. Is God still relevant? If He’s real, how can He look on when circumstances are too much to contain? The Bible challenges us to test and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are they that take refuge in Him (Psalms 34:8). So, yes, God is real and still relevant and ever willing to help. But like the prodigal son (Luke 15), we must be willing to say enough is enough and head back home with contrite hearts.

As I write this, Joyce Meyer is on TV and she just said, “Until you kill your giants, you will never become what God anointed you to be.” When the hustle fails to yield fruits, many are numbed with disillusion and turn to coveting the lifestyles of celebrities from their hairstyles to their fancy houses and cars, instead of wearing out their knees in prayer asking God’s intervention as He helped little David slay giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45).

It makes today the ripe time to let God be the merciful cleanser and healer of the souls in our land. African-American preacher Creflo Dollar says the secret of joy and true accomplishment is not in positions and possessions but in learning from mistakes and leaning completely on the Lord. The Bible says cursed is the man who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord, and blessed is the man whose confidence is in the Lord, for he will be like a tree planted by the water that always bears fruits (Jeremiah 17: 5 and 7).

It means that in times of scarcity and temptations, those who trust in the Lord and obey His will stay strong like a mountain that cannot be shaken (Psalms 125:1). Be sure that if we remain steadfast amid all forms of pressures physical or spiritual, however insurmountable they may seem, if we hold on unswervingly to the promises of God, we shall, like an old hymn goes, overcome someday (Hebrews 10:35).

--Sunday Monitor, November 1st, 2009