As I reflect on the loving kindness of Abba so far to me this year, the lyrics of the Song by Gerald Scott resonates loudly in my head as I testify about the faithfulness of God to me in 2015, it says “God is good! God is good! Even when I am not, He is still Good!”
Its been a very challenging year for me but to the glory of God, I have experienced God’s mercy and help through every part of it! One aspect of my life which I’m so thankful to God for, is the area of my academics. I started year 2015 with so much enthusiasm and hope of finally becoming a graduate of the University of Ibadan after all the strike actions and internal discord that bedevilled the duration of my academic programme.
My confession at the commencement of my final year in the university was that, it was going to be so peaceful! God’s peace will be my empire and my dwelling place! Philippians 4:7
God proved himself faithful as always, starting with the choice of supervisor given to me by my department. In final year in the University of Ibadan, one of the greatest fears of most students is falling under a rigid supervisor who doesn’t specialize in your area of interest and is not ready to entertain your opinions but would rather have you do whatever pleases him/her or he or she feels is appropriate for you.
But just like in his word where it says that “ Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4), God gave me the supervisor I wanted. This was the beginning of a memorable final year for me.
While my class mates where struggling and having real rough times with their project work, I found favour in the eyes of my supervisor, I experienced peace and ease as I carried out my research work. Also In all my courses in final year, I experienced the hand of God in it all….it was simply the grace of God at work in my exams, my capacity to grasp things increased exponentially. I was diligent to an extent but I didn’t really exert as much efforts as I did in my previous sessions on campus where I had to study for longer periods and all before I could really understand my course work. So much happened during the course of my academic programme, I experienced great joy and pain, but these experiences have taught me that, truly nothing compares to the goodness of God and for all of these I am thankful!
I just wanna encourage whoever is reading this right now that sometimes life is hard, sometimes we get knocked down and sometimes we have days where we just want to give up. Of course those days are painful, but those are also the days that make us stronger and teach us a lot about ourselves. You might have probably shed secret tears behind close doors, you may have painful memories or emotions from your past. The devil only targets those he is most threatened by, so keep on consciously thinking thankfulness daily and watch it become a lifestyle. Choose to be Grateful! “We have to constantly remind ourselves to look for ‘what’s right’ in our lives instead of ‘what’s wrong.’”
We serve a God whose unfailing love is better than life itself, who satisfies us more than the richest feast. What else shall we render but praise him with songs of joy!
So please stay hopeful, thankful and expectant always friends, always find the moments to be thankful for and watch God’s grace always show up for YOU. Just breathe, and wait and continually rest in your faith. Truly the year 2016 is gonna be more exciting! Nothing is impossible as long as you have thought about it. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 .So friend, declare to yourself right where you are “I’m finishing strong!!!”
Stephen Raphael is a God Lover, Political Scientist, Worship Leader, Change Agent and an Aspiring Diplomat.