Tag Archives: life

God is out of Time!

I originally posted this on Facebook on June 24, 2014.

God is out of time!
Really, He is. And that’s a good thing. Because God is not bound by the limits of the Timestream.

In the illustration above there’s this line drawn on a page. Time is like that line, with a definite beginning and an end (since our time is measured relative to the positions of the earth and sun and moon, we could probably say time began when God created them … probably). God drew that line on the page. Or you could say He is the page. That’s why He’s the Beginning and the End, because they’re literally in Him.

So time does not limit God because He is outside of it’s line. So don’t ever let yourself get worried that God doesn’t have enough time to get some things done. Years may have passed since His promises came to you first, but it does not mean He’s late. Also, the things He’s promised you may seem to require a longer time than is available … but time does not define or restrict Him. He can make all things align on your behalf.

In my ‘sci fi’-influenced mentality, I like to imagine that if God needed to, He could actually alter events in the past to create a new present. Perhaps that explains the ‘deja vus’ we experience once in a while (you know, the “hey, I’ve seen this before” feeling). OK, I know it sounds downright unbiblical, but I’m just saying He’s got that kind of power. He’s more powerful than you think He is.
He’s mega-awesome like that.

And if you’re in Christ that’s exactly what He did for you. The covenant required for your salvation, the price required for the sins you committed in these times– it was all done at that point in history when Jesus came and died and rose for you too. So whenever in history you are, if you accept His gift, you too can come to eternal life. It’s like He took your sins back in time and dealt with them in Jesus, and He died with them, and rose with the New you. His Grace transcends the limits of time itself, regardless of what you’ve done.

So yes, God is out of Time.
And that’s a good thing, too.

“My times are in Your hands…”
Psalm 31:15

What if I lose everything?!

I almost lost this blog a few weekends ago, and I was terrified. If you’re reading this then you know that it’s back up (like, obviously) but more than anything, what the experience showed me was my own vanity and things that I need to work on in myself. I mean, it’s just a blog! I should get a life 😁

It all started when I saw an advertisement for a task that would require storytelling and I was so excited to get on it. One of the requirements on the application form was for a link to some of my past work. Now I’m ashamed to admit this, but in that moment I felt really proud to put in the links to my recent stories-turned-books (Have you read Portal and The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy? Please do!There’s a behind-the-scenes series on writing I’m planning to put up here, so follow the page too so you’d be the first to know when it’s up. Gracias! 😁 🙏🏼). And when I say that I was proud, I don’t mean that in a good sense.

So I came over here to do a little touching up on the pages so that any visitor would see excellent and quality work … or something. I made a couple of edits here and revisions there when, all of a sudden, I found that I couldn’t save changes anymore. After trying a few more times I assumed it was just a fluke so I stayed off the ‘Net for a while. It wasn’t until I tried logging in again when I saw the message in a red block on my dashboard.

This blog had been suspended 😳.

I tried to access the URL on different browsers, but it said the same thing.
Now I’m usually generally chill, and I deliberately take myself away from undue tension, so I wasn’t anxious at first. I just figured there was something I needed to do to change this and that I’d figure it out soon enough. Maybe there was one of those Terms and Conditions I usually don’t read that I’d violated, I thought, so I scanned through them. As far as I could tell everything was in order.
As the hours turned to a day and nothing had changed I gradually realised that this was a serious problem. I came face-to-face with the possibility that I could actually lose this catalog of articles, stories and writings dating back to 2013.
The thought of it all shook me to my core.

What if I actually did lose everything?

Before I get to how we got it back up, I should point something out. This period and looking at it all showed me a bit about problematic perspectives I held.

What do I really have?

I realised that I had considered the blog as a possession of mine, something I worked to build, and an extension of myself. Sometimes I look back at the archives and feel that “started from-the-bottom-now-we-here!” feeling. This blog has been an experience all on its own. Many life experiences have occurred in its day. I’ve had days with so much traffic and dry spells stretching for months, but it’s all been part of the experience that’s been building up gradually. I’ve been learning what works and what doesn’t. I’m learning not to judge based on responses, but to also write in reader-friendly ways. I had every right to see this as my own.

Or did I?

Perhaps it’s valuable, and it is. But if the loss of something ‘valuable’ to me was going to affect me, then that says more about me than about the thing itself.P.S.: Someone reading this is wondering, “Dude, It’s just a blog! Get a life!” And writing this out now, I see that you’re absolutely right! I feel like an idiot now, but I hope you can learn from my idiocy.

My Value

Seeing how the thought of losing this made me feel less of myself made me realise that I had, somehow, tied my value and esteem to this blog and, by extension, to my accomplishments even offline. And that’s definitely not a good thing.
I find that many times I feel down when I’ve not got something new going on, or when I’m not being praised for something. And that’s completely unhealthy and destructive.I apologise if I’m being too open about my flaws here. I find that this year I’ve been doing that a lot.It’s subtle, but if my perspective of my value is defined by my accomplishments, then that means that I have also been determining the value of others based on their accomplishments. And as the cycle goes, I would also judge my value based on the applause, rejection or indifference of others.

This is the core of an inferiority complex. It’s something I was sure I had dealt with, but I was now seeing signs of it peeking out again.

Who Owns it, anyway?

In recent times, I’ve been encouraged towards, and am considering and planning the conversion of this blog to a full-fledged website. The thought process of it all has made me go back to the beginnings of this platform and to be reminded why it exists.
This is not really my own. It’s never really been mine!
Many things on this page have changed over the years, but the tagline has not.
Life, Hope, Faith … with some humor.
It’s my playground to show my works, but it’s really a channel for the Real Owner to reach others through me with the creative tools He gave me. It was an extension of myself because that’s how I’ve learnt to see myself: I am God’s Instrument to reach the world, and every of my platforms will do the same.
But what’s at the core is my life.
It’s my heart.

Jesus told the story of the rich fool, the guy who defined his security based on what he had. He described the man as “…he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21) I certainly don’t want that to be me. I want my life to be one that blesses and lifts others, yes, but it’s nothing if my life is not a delight to the Lord.

Like Jesus also said, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34). If the Lord is my treasure, then that’s where my heart will be. That’s Who would define my desires and life’s purpose and esteem.

What does it say about me?

I am learning to remind myself where true value lies. I am valuable, not because of anything I’ve done or can do or will do, no. I was valuable long before I could do anything! I am valuable because of the One that made me, that knows me, that loves me. That owns me.

I am valuable to God.

My favourite verse, and more like a lifeverse for me over the past couple of years, has been Isaiah 43:1:

“…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”

You are Mine.
I am His.My value is not tied to my accomplishments or possessions. Like Jesus said,
“…Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15)

For a child of God, you never really lose. If we lose anything good, by God’s grace it can be restored and we can get back up again. That’s the promise of God’s Word. Remember Job? Everything he lost was restored by the end of the book, in doubles!
Proverbs 24:16 tells us that a just man may fall seven times, but he rises up again.

But you know what?

Even if what was lost is not restored, even if our hopes and dreams don’t materialise the way we would have desired, God’s promise is that His own can still be secure and at rest, stable and unshaken. Hebrews 11 tells us about the wonders and exploits done by many by their faith in God, but it also tells us of many who through their faith in God were able to go through trials and mockings, imprisonment, stoning, temptation, torment and even death.

They lost so much, but their true treasure was never taken away. Their true Treasure could never be taken away.
I want to be that strong and stable on the inside.Like Psalm 46 shows us, God is our home and refuge, and He is the One alive in us, like a river flowing through a city, bringing springs of gladness. Even if the things that have defined our stability are ever moved out of place, we will not be shaken. We can always be glad.

It would hurt, and real loss should hurt. But with God, that’s not where the story ends.

We can always be at rest.

What am I learning?

I’m learning to understand true value. When I underestimate anyone or anything, I devalue them in my eyes and lose out on some of God’s greatest gifts, treasure in “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). When I overestimate them, I make them idols and I project my expectations on them, thus missing out on what God would have used them to be or do, and unable to see the bigger and much more that God has for me beyond that thing/person. Idols keep us from seeing what’s really important. I do the same to myself when i underestimate or overestimate myself. I’m learning to know what God sees, and esteem as He does.

I’m learning to enjoy every moment. The Bible lets us know that while “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” (Matthew 6:34) God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23). Every single day has an allotment of God’s supply for me and for you. We can actually enjoy His peace and rest, our own God-given Garden of Eden experience where I never feel the need for validation or affirmation because we’re constantly reminded of His validation and affirmation of us.

I’m learning to Live. Jesus said that He came so that we can have an abundant life, life to the full (John 10:10). I can face life trying to meet targets and deadlines and expectations, or I could actually live, and in so doing meet those targets without being shaken by the strain. To breathe in all that He’s got for me so that I can breathe out all that the world needs. And all of this both deliberately and ‘subconsciously’, I’m able to relate well with people, see myself and see them through God’s eyes, and without judgment.

I’m learning to be Free. Free from the allure of accomplishments, from the limitations I’ve known about myself, from the fear of failure or judgment, from the shame of my past mistakes, and free to lay hold on the ‘something better’ that God has for me.I’m learning to receive what He’s got for me freely, so that I can freely give. And, yes, even if it means I’ll never get it back. I’ve got Him, and He’s got me. And in the final analysis, that’s enough.

The blog will continue. I will keep doing things for the Lord by His strength and ability. I will keep creating things. But we can, and I will also have times where I’m not producing anything per se, and I will still be secure and joyful through it all.

That being said, Lord willing, you can look forward to a major release toward the end of the year 😉

And I’m also learning to clear the clutter. But that’s a post for another day. I think I’ve bared my heart beyond comfort enough here 😅.

Oh yeah, I sent a message to WordPress and the community personnel reached me to explain that my browser had was generating spam from my serial saving, and it was automatically suspended. So they got it fixed. Thanks, WordPress. 😁

So what are you learning, or what have you learnt, about loss and value? How do you handle it? Please share.
And thanks for reading!!!

Drawing by His hands

Earlier today my sister’s family came over. And while playing with my 3-year old nephew, practising his writing and drawing, this conversation ensued.

BOY (my nephew): I want to draw Jesus.

UNCLE (me): Ok, here’s what we’ll do…
GRANDMA (my mum, not wanting us drawing Him wrong and blaspheme): Why don’t you draw something else?
ME: Don’t worry. I used to draw Bible characters.
BOY (who copies us every chance he gets): Yes, I used to draw Bible CARROTS!

And that’s where I lost it 😂

We’ve since drawn so many things together, from Jesus to angels to hands to cartoon carrots… I mean characters😉. It’s really my hand holding his, but he’s confident in knowing he drew them too. And when it’s something difficult we want to draw he asks me to draw with his hand.
It reminds me of how God works in us and through us. He does magnificent things through people that trust Him and place their hands in His. Things far beyond their abilities or limits, by His very Spirit alive in them.

Sometimes after he’s told me to help him draw something, he rebuffs my direction and turns humans into 5-eyed formless monstrosities, but he’s exploring his Creativity like I once did 😁 Looking at the mess he then asks for my help and we start again or modify it.
Reminds me how God is patient in teaching us. Our certainty that we know what’s best at the expense of what He says sets us back or delays us from getting to His good result many times. What looks best may not always be good or of God, you know.

And sometimes when we’ve decided what we want to draw, let’s say a face, we (I) may start with an eye. He asks what I’m doing ’cause it looks nothing like the face he had in mind. I just encourage him to be patient, that I know what I’m doing
Reminds me of God too. Some steps He leads us in may not look or feel like the end He told us about or that we were expecting. But have you trusted your life to Him? Is your hand in His; is He your Lord? Then you can trust Him to be with you through it all.
That’s the person who knows God is with them in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).

This person may pass through a valley of crying and turn it into a spring (Psalm 84).

Just like his/her Father Who makes rivers out of the wastelands (Isaiah 43).

Drawing with His hands.

My nephew’s in his inquisitive phase too so we’re answering questions almost every second. It’s fun and exhausting, but makes me grateful for our Heavenly Father who hears my every question, spoken and unspoken, and guides me into His wonder.

In His much larger world, some questions fade away. Some persist and lead me to more in Him. Some questions I may never get the answers to until I see Him face-to-face.

And you know what? Then He’ll be all that matters, because He always has been.

POST-SCRIPT

I cannot express just how much it means to me how you all pushed out my story, The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy. Thank you so much ❤️🤗. I hope it blessed you. And I hope to be even more of a blessing. God bless you, everyone.

Here’s a little secret just for you: God willing, there are even more amazing and deeper stories coming. Already been doing some research on the subject matter. Anytime you remember, say a prayer for me please.

Also, I hope these have sparked something grand in you. All of this is just a tip of what God can do.

In this and in coming weeks I plan to share some lessons I’m learning on my writing journey. If you haven’t already, follow this page so you’re the first to know.

And finally before I go, I recently had the privilege of writing a feature in The Journey to the Extraordinary for the #21stCenturyBibleStories series by the amazing Osetemega Iribiri. Check it out by clicking this link, and also share your stories in the information at the end. Don’t forget to follow her on Medium. You’ll be really glad you did.

Thanks for coming by!

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 005

Lisa Bynes put the last of the care packages into her car outside the warehouse.

It had been a very quiet past few weeks, and things didn’t look like they would let up. She was glad that her church had gotten a food bank ready as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions came up, but sometimes she wondered if this was all worth it. No one on the Welfare Committee had shown up all day and now she was the only one here to make the deliveries to the homeless. And then there was still going to be a Last Supper re-enactment on the church Zoom and she had to be online for it.

It felt wrong. It felt unfair. Times like these made her wonder what she was even doing here or why she even bothered. She just wanted to get back home to her daughter, Kelly.

She turned back into the compound to lock up the storehouse for the day. What an Easter this would turn out to be. No church services except those online, no songs in the streets, no creative drama presentations for the season, no Easter egg hunts (or maybe that one wasn’t so bad). The whole world had paused and, as much as she tried to encourage herself that there was purpose to all of this, it was difficult to remember all the time.

The door of the warehouse burst open and a woman staggered out and fell to the floor.

Lisa started at that. She instinctively reached into her bag for the mace spray, but she couldn’t find it in the midst of the hand sanitizers her bag was stocked up on.

Lord, please don’t let these be one of those looters…

The woman looked dishevelled, but she was laughing maniacally. Probably on drugs. But when she stared up at her, recognition dawned.

What in the world? “Eva?” What was her sister doing there?

“Lisa?” Eva’s eyes widened. “LISA!” She hurried towards her.

Now Lisa had been maintaining social distancing measures all this time so her first instinct was to take a step back. But her little sister looked like she had been through a lot, and she didn’t seem to care. She embraced her and Lisa put her arms around her slowly.

“What’re you doing here?”

Eva seemed more excited than she had ever seemed. “What am I doing here? What’re you doing here?”

Lisa gave her a good look up and down. “Are you OK? How did you get here?”

Eva pointed inside. “I’ve been in there for hours. It feels like a day already.” She grabbed her hands. “Oh, Lisa, you wouldn’t believe all that happened to me in there. Oh my, you’ve got to meet him!”

“I’ll bet.” She sauntered into the warehouse. Oh Lord, I pray my sister’s not on drugs. “How did you get in here? Who else is here?”

But when Eva followed her in she looked surprised. She looked over the stacks of bags with questions on her face. “We were … just here.”

Lisa squinted at her sister’s eyes. “Who else was here?”

Eva looked genuinely worried. “Andy. I mean … he wasn’t really Andy. Andy wasn’t Andy at all. You see—“

“Eva, I’m going to ask this once and you have to be honest with me. What are you on?”

But Eva’s eyes did not look high. If anything she looked concerned. “I was just here. There was a table over there, a-and a window there…” She walked into the room. As long as Lisa could remember this had always been an enclosure. No windows whatsoever. “And there was a hall beyond that wall. Lisa, you’ve gotta believe me.” She rushed to the back wall and knocked on it. “I’m not lying. It doesn’t look like it, but I just came out of this place.”

Lisa measured her words carefully as she approached her. On one hand she was tired and wanted to get home, but this was her little sister. And no matter how stuck-up Eva had been all this time she was really worried for her. “Eva, I’ve been waiting for my church members in this room for hours. There’s been nobody here but me.”

“Oh my…” Eva sank to her knees in genuine wonder and Lisa didn’t know if she should be worried. “I mean I can understand He could do this but…“

“Who could do this?” She stooped beside her.

Eva turned to her, excitement in her eyes. “God,” she said.

Now Lisa had been used to the cynical comments Eva had been making about God all these years so the sincerity of her words now felt weird.

“God?” Lisa didn’t know what to make of this. It was one thing if a stranger gave a testimony about a supernatural miracle, but this was Eva. The Eva she had known all her life.

Eva looked over her shoulder. “See, I don’t know how this works, but you know what happened, right? It was in the news. The thing with the werewolves on campus? It was all my fault.”

Now Lisa was convinced she was on drugs. “Werewolves?”

Eva nodded frantically. “I was doing this experiment a-and it blew in my face. I didn’t know it would do that—”

“And you saw werewolves?”

Eva nodded. “Why, yes! I even became one.”

Lisa put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s take you home, OK? You must be coming down with something terrible.”

And so as she helped her sister towards the car, wondering what to do with her, Eva launched into the most bizarre story she had ever heard. It was full of monsters and lab mistakes, a pandemic, and the weirdest interrogation she could have ever imagined. She was praying under her breath wondering what to say when it was over.

But as Eva continued, the core of the story began to look familiar. The part about Andy and the things he did, and the things he said. From disbelief Lisa was slowly coming to understand that her sister had truly experienced something. Was it real? Was it all in her head? This couldn’t be the Eva she had known. This could not be really happening.

But then there was so much more in what she was saying. Lisa parked the car along the sidewalk and placed her head on the steering wheel.

“Eva, there were no werewolves,” Lisa finally said. “The things you said never happened.”

Eva seemed genuinely confused. “What do you mean—“

“There’s a pandemic out there, alright, but it’s not the one you experienced.”

“Yes, he did say there was something worse.”

Lisa shook her head. Could it really be? “The coronavirus is out there, but it’s not what he was talking about either.”

Eva seemed to be the only person on Earth that did not know what she was talking about. The confusion never left her face. “I remember that. I remember everything. But, it feels like a distant memory. Like … it wasn’t even an issue where I’m coming from.” She placed a hand on her head. “What is going on? Where was I? Is this real?”

Lisa didn’t know what to do with her. How long had her sister been cut off from the world? “Eva, are you messing with me? Because if this is a joke you have to stop. Now.”

“I wouldn’t mess with you. I would never do that!” Her eyes lit up with an idea and she reached into her pocket for her phone. She searched through her news feeds frantically and couldn’t find what she was looking for. “I don’t believe it.”

Lisa ran a hand through her hair. “You and me both.”

“Andy’s number’s not on my phone. I can’t find our emails either.”

Lisa couldn’t believe she was going with this. “Maybe there never was an Andy,” she muttered.

“Lisa I’m serious!”

“What do you want me to say? That you’ve had a vision or something? So that you can make fun of me again?”

Eva shook her head. “Is that what you think? That I had a vision?”

Lisa clenched her fists. “I don’t believe this. How did you get into the warehouse of all places? It doesn’t make sense!”

“I don’t know! Maybe that was a miracle too?”

Lisa shook her head. Her heart was burning with an idea, but she wouldn’t embrace it. She just couldn’t.

“If God could do anything,” Eva said. “Would it be impossible for Him to do that? I mean, between us both, you’re the God-expert. Does He do stuff like this?”

“But why? Why you? No offense.”

Eva pursed her lips. “Maybe He did that for you?”

Lisa thought about that for a moment. Before she knew it a chuckle escaped her lips. For me? The chuckles kept coming until she found herself laughing. For me?! And then the laugh just wouldn’t stop. She pounded on the steering wheel despite herself. She shut her eyes and kept on slapping her knee at the incredulity of it all. A tear ran down her cheek. And the weird thing about it was that it felt refreshing.

She exhaled and set her hands on the dashboard. She could feel Eva’s confused gaze all over her.

Lisa shook her head. “I needed that.” She couldn’t believe it, but it was true. “All this time I thought I was alone. But God was there. I felt I was wasting my time, but He was there. Working on you, but He chose where I was?” She kept shaking her head. “It’s incredible.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “You have no idea what that means to me. It’s just like Him to do something like this.”

Eva had been smiling shyly. She probably didn’t get the depth of what Lisa was feeling. It was like a love letter to her, a personal one signed by her Heavenly Father. Thank you.

“So this virus is worse than we thought, but you say it’s not what he was talking about?” Eva was now staring out at the empty street.

Lisa was still taken by it all, but she shook her head. “It’s not. If we’re right, he’s probably talking about sin.”

Eva arched a brow. “Sin? Like lying and cheating and stuff? You’re not serious, are you?”

“He is. All sin is worse than any virus. And we all got it. Everyone.”

Eva seemed to be getting it now. “And He is the cure?”

Lisa nodded. “He is.”

“But did I really have to … you know?”

“Eat his body?” Lisa had to admit, that sounded very weird. But then the concept of Communion had always been a symbol to her. To imagine it now brought to mind just how Jesus’ disciples must have felt when He talked about it. But if this what got through to her sister, then it was worth it.

And then she realised what day it was and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face. “You just wait ‘til we do Communion at home. You’ll get it. It’s just like Him to do that. He loved parables when He walked the Earth.”

“Jesus?”

Lisa nodded. “Jesus.” There was so much she would still tell her.

But all the way she was basking in the fact that God had not left her. This was all worth it. And that’s what made all of this, with all its pain and uncertainty, beautiful.

She had her own questions too, but she had hope, and that’s what made it all beautiful.

Because He is here.

He makes it beautiful.

 

THE END

 

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever.

The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.

Jesus in John 6:51,56

For more details, check out some of my thoughts in MY CURIOUS CASE

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 003

A day ago.

Stanley Kirby usually took his lunch breaks at the Circle Q at the other end of the campus. It was his one chance to hang out with his buddies and catch up on the goings-on around. His own corner was probably the most boring because it was the same faces that turned up every day, and they barely ever struck up conversation beyond official greetings.

Not to say he hated his job. Being security guard at the Greenhouse had its perks. For one, it was one of the most beautiful fixtures in Providence with its colourful interiors. Rumour had it that the kids called it Eden because of the exotic plants, like in that story in the Bible. He’d even brought his girlfriend here on a date once and she’d loved the fragrance so, perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

But, today of all days, his car would not move. He was certain he’d gotten that oil change two weeks prior, but even the ignition would not start. He grumbled as he popped the bonnet and checked the oil. Or maybe it was a battery problem…

But then a scream from within the greenhouse caught his attention. He realised he had been hearing that sound intermittently for the past thirty minutes or so, but he’d just assumed it was some over-excited kids in the distance. Now he was concerned.

He wandered in, the plethora of fragrances overwhelming him. Usually the enclosure greeted him with a barely imperceptible hum of silence. But now he was hearing more. A crash. Another crash. Screams coming from Doc’s office. Had someone come in without him noticing?

“Hello? Hey!” He walked cautiously towards the office. “Who’s there?”

Good thing he still had his radio. If he needed backup he would call for it.

Doc’s office was usually quiet, as Doc would usually keep her door closed. There was little if ever any noise or chatter from her until that kid came along. It was uncharacteristically boisterous this time and now Stanley was actually worried. He stopped by the window.

A hoarse growl. And a voice.

“…It’s OK, Eva.” It was the kid. He sounded in pain. He was talking between gasps. “You gotta do this. You don’t understand it now … but I’m doing this for you … AAAAAAARGH! Oh God, Father, this hurts!!!

Good heavens! What crap are these guys into? He wondered if he should bust in or not.

It took another scream before he rushed into the room. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight he met.

“…ohmiGAAAAD, I’m gonna diiiiieeee…” The young man was screaming, flailing as much as he could on the floor.

The office was upside down. Table broken, cabinets wrecked, papers floating, blood splattered on the everywhere. Doc was on all fours facing away from the door, her hair undone. The kid was on the floor before her, fighting for his very life. A choke escaped his lips and he went quiet.

Stanley was frozen. “D-Doc?”

With a swiftness that sent a chill down his spine, Doctor Maundy turned to face him. Her pupils were shrunken to slits and she was breathing hoarsely. Like an animal. Her mouth was dripping with blood, and so were her hands. Before his eyes, Maundy’s pupils dilated and her breathing slowed. She blinked and stared around. The ferocious glint in her face was gone.

“Where am I?” she said, her voice choking. She stared at her hands and then at the bleeding kid in front of her. He wasn’t moving anymore.

Andy was spread eagle, blood sputtering from his neck.

Oh my God!

Stanley couldn’t hold it in anymore. He rushed out of the door and threw up. It was a full minute before his nerves had calmed down enough for him to call for help.

——

Eva, now in sound mind, was cuffed to the desk with her interrogator taking notes. The pictures depicting Eva’s recent beastly episode were strewn on the table. He had shown her the security footage on his tablet, and she never wanted to look at that again. It only brought home further what she had done.

If they didn’t finish piecing this puzzle, many more could turn out like Andy. And worse, who knew how many more would die?

But some things had been made abundantly clear.

Fact One: the rodents introduced into this environment probably carried a pathogen hitherto unidentified that was capable of affecting the nervous system and, as such, made their hosts feral.

Fact Two: they had bitten Dr Maundy, transmitting these hypothetical pathogens to her. She had turned feral and lashed out at her assistant, killing him.

Fact Three: these rats had possibly escaped from the enclosure, infecting other individuals in the vicinity and turning them into feral mindless zombies like Eva once was. And while officials out there were now on the lookout to identify possible bite marks on the infected, there was still one more factor to consider.

Final Fact (for now): Eva was cured within an hour of infection, while other victims seemed to be getting worse. What had made the difference?

“I’m going to jail for this, aren’t I?” she said staring at the glass of water in her hand. Overwhelmed by the revelations, she finally agreed she needed the drink. “Who am I kidding? Jail would be heaven compared to what I’ve done.”

“Day is not over yet, Eva,” he said. “We can work through this. Now did you take any vaccinations within the last three months?”

She was still staring into space, shaking her head. “I’m nothing but a monster.”

“Eva?”

She pursed her lips and looked up at him. “Vaccinations? No. If I did I would remember.”

“Ever been bitten by a rodent?”

“Not that I can remember.”

The man’s tablet was propped with its keyboard, and now he was typing on it. “So there’s no chances you’ve built up immunity over time.”

“Not to this, no. As far as I know.”

“Closest thing we’ve seen that can be caused by rat-bite is streptobacillosis, but that’s majorly a fever and infection, not a catalyst for delirium or psychotic episodes of this scale.”

She wasn’t listening anymore. I did this.

“So what made you different?”

That’s what she was still wondering. A thought made its way through her mind but it was too crazy to even consider. All that was true now was that she had unleased this biological menace. For all intents and purposes, she was an unintentional bioterrorist. “There’s no way I’m moving on from this. My life is over.”

“Eva, please…”

She closed her eyes, trying to focus. But what was the point anyway? “None of the cases have recovered yet?”

“Except you, none has.”

She had a theory, a very weak one at that, but at this point there was no reason to hold on to anything. She had lost everything in her stubbornness. “Nothing makes sense anymore.”

“Come on, Eva. You were on to something. Don’t stop now.”

She bit her lip and exhaled. “The victims, the infected, they’re getting violent. Just like I was.”

“We’ve got fatal injuries inflicted, yes, but no deaths yet. But the cerebral degeneration we’ve detected will ultimately lead to death if we don’t narrow it down to a solution soon.”

“And these injuries were from biting and scratching?”

“Yes. Until now.”

“Any … cannibalistic tendencies?”

The man paused before responding. “Cannibalistic—“

“You know that’s how I must’ve done it, right?” She knew this was going to sound crazy, but it was the only thing she had at the moment. “How I killed Andy? If there’s a reason I’m not infected it has to be tied to that.” She shrugged. “It has to be him.”

He closed his notepad and set in on the table. “Eva…”

“I …” Her stomach churned at the very thought “I … ate him. I bit his neck and ate his flesh. I tasted his blood…” She felt sick recounting it, but it was true. She pointed to one of the pictures on the desk. “This – the cavity in his neck – that had to have been me. I know I sound crazy right now, but that’s the only difference I can think of.”

Whoever thought vampires were an appealing concept? The very thought of what she knew she had done this time was sickening. This is so messed up.

“I don’t know if he knew all of this was going to happen,” she said. “He’d been in my office earlier, and I practically shut him out. But he came back. Did he know what was going to happen?”

“Andy came back.” Hearing him repeating her words to her made her realise just how it must sound. He probably thought she was crazy. She thought she was crazy.

She nodded toward the tablet. “The footage. We saw him show up. Maybe that’s the solution. If any of the victims bite a human, maybe they’ll get cured. Human blood must be free of those impurities. Like a vampire thing.”

He shook his head. “We’ve had three maulings now. None of them have turned back.”

She shrugged. “Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Or maybe it’s just Andy. Something in his body chemistry could have altered something in mine. Ugh, I can feel centuries of scientific pedigree rolling in their graves right now. I’m a total screw-up. I don’t know what to do.”

He cleared his throat. “Let me go over what you just said. So if we identify and isolate the pathogens that caused this incident, and extract a blood sample from your deceased assistant, we can find a cure?”

You do realise you’ve gone insane, don’t you Eva? She shut her eyes, but the thoughts would not stop.

She stared at her cuffs. This was her reality now. “What have I become? Is this what I wanted? To change the world, make us something more. Well, I made us something more alright. Now my life is over…”

“Eva, don’t—“

“I mean, look at all this. I’ve cursed them all. I’m a mental case. A total screw-up! The very thing I’ve always wanted to get away from caught up with me. No matter what, I still fail. And maybe Andy’s right. Maybe I do these things to escape the fact that I really am messed up. Couldn’t save my Mum. Couldn’t keep my marriage. Couldn’t get the job I wanted and I had to settle for this. And the grant I got this time was way out of my league.” She shook her head. “I’m cursed.”

“Don’t do that—“

“It’s just like you said; immortality doesn’t cure evil. It sure wouldn’t cure stupid. If we were screw ups when we could die, we’d be even worse screw-ups when we can’t. Better that there’s an end because I really want this to end. I just want to go home and forget all of this ever happened. But then again, hope … what’s the use?”

She was trembling now. She really had no idea what to do or what would happen here. “And now I’m talking garbage. I’m losing my sanity in front of a total stranger, and I don’t know what to do.”

Her statements hung in the air for a moment when no one spoke. But could it be true?

“Andy knew the danger I was in. And if I’m right, and he knew that he would be the cure, then he did that for me. He came back for me.” She shrugged. “I can’t explain it better. I don’t understand it. But that’s all I’ve got.”

The man turned in his seat and stood as he exhaled loudly, shoving his hands in his pocket. She wondered how much of a nutcase he must’ve thought she was. “If you’re right,” he said. “Then we need to start working on it. How to effectively get it across to everyone.”

The lights in the room flickered on one by one. She had to shut her eyes from the swift transition to brightness.

“But you’d be surprised how much we agree,” he said.

Just take me to prison already! She really didn’t want another long discussion.

“I’m sorry you had to go through all of this, Eva. Really I am. But if it helped you come to terms with the truth then it’s worth it.”

“What ‘truth’? That for all my strengths I was helpless where it mattered? That this was all my fault and now my life is over? That Andy died because of me?” She still couldn’t see well, so she lowered her gaze and blinked away the pain in her eyes.

“It’ll take a moment for your eyes to adjust, sorry about that. See, coming from the dark to light is like when we come to Truth. It hurts at first, but it’s what really sets you free. It makes you free, Eva. That’s when you can really see.”

She ran a hand through her hair, shielding her eyes from the light with the other. “Well if anything, it just makes me see myself for the idiot I really am. This feels nothing like freedom.”

“Your hands say otherwise.”

In that moment she realised something had changed. She actually had one hand in her hair and the other in the air.

Her heart skipped a beat. Her handcuffs were undone.

They lay broken on the table, and her chains dangled as they dropped to the ground. What the –? She jumped to her feet and staggered away.

“What just happened?”

“It will take a moment for you to understand, but you will. Eva, you are free.”

She turned to the man, questions on her face, but then everything changed. She could now see the person that had been speaking with her all this time. But it was impossible! It was crazy!

She placed a hand over her mouth to restrain the gasp building up. It can’t be!

“Andy?”

He smiled. “Took you long enough.”

The story continues in CASE FILE-004

PORTAL: An Afterword

Hi there! Emmanuel here!

If you’re here too then I assume you’ve read my story, Portal. Thank you so much. I’d really love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t already, click on the link right here.

The undercurrent of Portal, is that many of us find ourselves held back by things in our past.

Like Tolu, some of us are encumbered by the fear of the future and its uncertainty.

Like Riley, many of us are affected by the pain and hurts we have experienced in the past.

And, like Frank, many of us are held back by the guilt of the wrongs we’ve done, and by the pain we’ve inflicted on others.

Moving on from these is never easy. I have experienced all three of these, and I have seen how they have influenced my actions, affected how I related with people, and determined the decisions I made. Unknowingly, I was trapped in those points in time and was navigating the present from those places. Influenced by the insecurities of my guilt, protective because of the hurts I experienced, limited by the uncertainties of what lay ahead.

I wish I could say there is a portal of some kind that you can pass through that will makes those things fade away. But then, I have found that there is. This story is a picture of how, through Jesus, we can find the confidence, healing and forgiveness we need to face the future.

For those of us afraid of the future and its uncertainty, He encourages us to trust in Him. Trusting Him means following Him. When we do, He will guide us every step of the way. We may not know where we ought to be five years from now, but at least we know He is with us and we know how He expects us to navigate the times. He is our Light, so we never have to walk in darkness. He has given us His Word so that we can learn of Him and know what He desires. His Word is like a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths (Psalm 119:11).

For those of us held back by the pain of our past, who find ourselves responding to people and circumstances from that hurt, He empathises. He promises healing for the broken hearted (Luke 4:18) and joy in the places of weeping (Psalm 30:5). He will carry you and keep you through it all.

And for those of us who can’t get past the fact that we have hurt someone, inflicted pain on someone, ruined something… Guilt is terrible in that it makes us feel we’ve earned the darkness it brings us into. Guilt is painful, no matter how earned it is. And while, yes, conviction is good, Jesus offers to all that come to Him forgiveness. Forgiven, He gives us the strength to forgive ourselves. And for those who we have hurt, we find the strength to apologise, to mend the friendships we can.

As one who is navigating these zones too, I cannot say I have all the answers. Many of these things, I have to keep reminding myself of every single day; that I have hope in Christ, that He has healed me, and that I am forgiven.

Our stories may differ, but there is the One Portal through which, if we take it, He will lead us in the right ways our souls have always yearned for. It’s called ‘the path of righteousness’ (Psalm 23:3). We will find our solace and peace in Him, and we can enjoy every moment of every day, just as He intended it.

In His Light, we see that He had given Time meaning.

Time in itself is seemingly amoral, giving as much opportunities for decay and corruption as it does for growth and development. The difference is what we do with it. When we are in Christ, He gives us wisdom on how to navigate these times and to make the best of them.

Ephesians 5:17 puts it this way:

Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.

Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.

I take special comfort in one of David’s Psalms in 31:15 where he says:

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

He was confident that, even though he had enemies, he had help because his times were in God’s hands. It reminds me that, it doesn’t matter what season I am in: be it a height or a low, a win or a loss, as long as I am following Jesus, I am in God’s hands.

He will perfect all that concerns me.

From someone who is learning along the way, I pray you find the healing and strength in Jesus to move on. There is so much more to life that He has for you. You’ve got a whole lifetime to discover it.

God bless you all!

Grace, Truth, Love and Life

While It’s new and refreshing
It doesn’t always look dashing.
It’s covered in the grime and scrapes and scars
It risked in coming to where you are
To pull you up to where He is.
The cost of love, of sacrifice.
Goodness defined doesn’t always look nice.
This is what Grace looks like.

It sets before you a Standard
Far better than the you you’ve known.
You realise there’s a change you need.
And it tells you, “You are not alone.”
It builds you up, opens your eyes
Drops all masks and every guise
Leaves no room for lies.
That’s what Truth looks like.

The law of God shows His righteousness
From which we all fell short.
But His grace and truth came in Jesus Christ
Bringing all the Life and help He’s got.
Hor all that trust in Him
He holds in life through thick and thin,
Cleansing us from sin.
That’s what His Love looks like.

This teaches us to honour the Lord Not to take for granted His Cross
To follow Him in love and trust Counting as gain what, for His sake, is loss.
In surrender to His Sovereignty
We find our true identity.His divinity in my humanity. This is what Eternal Life looks like.🙂

P.S.: I fear that in my attempts to rhyme
Deep truths were oversimplified. But painting pictures in your heart is what this was for
As the Lord beckons you to explore His ‘more’.
😉

Thoughts on Eternal Life

Think of the pages of a book. Each page is a 2-dimensional construct, with length and breadth. But the book as a whole is in 3-dimensions: length, breadth and height.

Our lives in space time are like a single page in the volume of Eternity.

On this page we consider life in the dimension of length (years) and breadth (achievements). So when we hear the term ‘Eternal Life’ our first inkling is that it means living longer. But it’s so much more. It has more dimensions to it; height and depth, if you will. It is God’s Life not on the grade of man’s.

It’s God’s gift to any who believe and recieve. Maybe that’s why Paul would pray for believers in Ephesians 3:18 that they would come to “…comprehend what is the breadth, length, height and depth.” It’s all encompassing, having promise in this life and beyond what this life can fathom or contain.

In Ephesians 3 Paul continued that he prayed for them “…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” This part always fascinates me. It’s like plugging into a socket, but then that socket shocks and changes you forever. When we give our lives to and recieve Life from God, the course of our history and future, and our very definition of what life is aligns with His because we are assured of His love toward us. Even when there are challenges we are confident that He will keep us and/or show us the way out or give us the wisdom to solve it. We see no need to be covetous because He will never leave us nor abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) and with Him we have ALL we could ever need.

Such a person, who is assured in God’s Love and becoming a channel of His love to others, will live and do things at the scale of God’s standard more and more. He/she would live beyond him/herself and is more likely to recieve ideas and concepts that will bless others. The passions on God’s heart become their passions, and the temporal pursuits that this plane seems to offer either fade away into nothingness or gain more value in the light of God’s purpose.

Jesus called it Abundant Life (John 10:10), Life to the Full. Like a stream that becomes a rushing spring, gushing above and beyond the normal river course.

Height and Depth.

It’s where we’ll only ever truly find purpose in our life’s course. And as we follow Him it becomes clearer.

Just thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been learning. Hope this blessed you.

What does God’s Eternal Life mean to you? Do share.

😁

THE VALUE OF ONE

A couple of weeks ago, I misplaced my phone. While it occurred at a very dry time financially for me, I saw some things that I’d like to share. Life, as they say, doesn’t stop for us to contemplate our navels, so I had to start the process of getting another.
The major factor here was getting a new SIM card.
I first had to get a sworn affidavit from the Ministry of Justice to attest that I had indeed misplaced my SIM card, a process that took quite a while. But oh little did I know that I was just getting started. I needed to take the affidavit along with my National ID card to the office of my service provider. And of all times, this was a period when MTN was hosting customers for a new batch of registration. Every time I went to their offices I met crowds so thick I couldn’t even get in the gates. Many had come as early as before 6am to beat these crowds. Over and over, I would get to the offices and not get in.
All of this for a card and microchip tinier than my smallest finger. No, really, I checked!
After days of trying, I was finally able to get it on a Friday morning (yes, I had to go there as early as 6am).
And while this was not the most convenient of times, it was the best time because, in completely unrelated events, that office was burnt by folks agitated by the reports of xenophobic attacks, just days after I finally got my SIM card.
I pursued that SIM because much of my work and friendships are based on contacts and communication, all dependent on the SIM card. Without that tiny card, I was unable to get a lot done. Not to mention the hundreds of valuable contacts that I lost with my old SIM. But with this new one, I’m rebuilding the contacts database and adding new ones, one number at a time.

Through it all, what was impressed on my mind was that I was like that SIM card to God.
Now God is Self-Existent, and He does not ‘need’ me for Him to Be or to do all He wants to. But I was lost and separated from Him. He found me and made me New. Now, not only is He working in and with me, He is working through me to reach out to many. Just like a SIM card.

We are, each and every one of us, valuable to God. His Salvation Plan was much sacrifice on His part. It wasn’t convenient in any way, but He came and died and rose for us. Even the timing of Jesus’ coming was not convenient. His parents were looking for a place to sleep as His mother was entering into labour, for one thing. But, like the Scriptures say, it was in the fullness of times. There were lost souls before He came, and there are lost souls after the time He came, but His one sacrifice is the one we all look to and, believing, are saved.
That was the one time in history where in the land of Israel the prevailing execution style (imposed by the Romans) was crucifixion, in fulilment of the prophecies that His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16)
This was the one time that a civilisation, the Roman Empire, had such a reach through the then known world so that as the Gospel spread in it, seeds would be planted that would reach into every sector and would go to the ends of the world as travels, trade and exploration expanded.
This was the one time in history when the Jewish nation still existed as an entity in their land, where the Passover fulfilment of Christ’s sacrifice would be clearly understood by the nation He was brought into. Every type and shadow illustrated in the Law, such as the Temple, was still fresh and apparent in their eyes, and as the apostles interpreted them in parallels with Christ’s sacrifice, listeners and readers could attest to it. Even non-Biblical sources from that era have documented evidence of Jesus, His miracles, His death and the believers’ beliefs in His resurrection.
This one moment in history, the timing of the coming of God as Man, could not have been at a better time. His teachings and the changes He wrought in the lives of those that believe in Him have been instrumental in much of the world’s systems of morality, emancipation drives, social justice and educational advancement, through the ages.
The world still has problems. Humanity is still in the throes of mortality. But everyone who believes in Jesus and His redemptive sacrifice for our sakes has His Spirit in them, His very Life animating their thoughts and actions and helping them all He made them to be. Just like a SIM card in a phone.
And when He comes to call us to Himself, all who have His ‘SIM Card’ will answer His call. Mortality will be consumed by Immortality, and the ‘Becoming-like-Him’ process we’ve been gradually going through would come to its “full-fill-ment”, just as it’s always meant to be. And will be like Him and with Him forever as He makes all things new.

You are very valuable to God. He would go to the ends of the Earth, to Hell and back, for you.
And, guess what? That’s EXACTLY what He did.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
ROMANS 8:38-39

PS: I have since gotten a new phone too, so, happy ending!

THE RIDER: Wilbur’s Story … The Animated Short

What do you do when a story won’t leave you for two years?

That’s kinda what happened to me.

Hi there! Emmanuel here! I want to present to you a little animated short I worked on and to explain some of the thoughts behind it.

Here’s the vid:

So what’s this all about?

The main character in this short, Wilbur, is a side character in a larger story I’ve been working on called The Rider. Like all my other stories, The Rider is especially dear to me because I see it as a depiction of a journey I find myself on much of the time.

The Rider is a parable of how our lives can be defined so many times by our activities. We find ourselves many times in a pointless race. Many of us are running after achievements and a better life. Many of us are running away from the poverty and strain of our backgrounds. We find ourselves plunged into this throng of motion, we lose ourselves in the midst of it all.

We desire some things, legitimate desires all. But there is one major glitch in the system: we are broken. And that’s why we remain stuck.

Truth is we are all thirsty. When we break down all our pursuits they usually come down to satisfaction, relief, rest, affirmation and acceptance, love. All good things. We pursue them in fame, in entertainment, in career pursuits, in our relationships. But the very problem of our broken nature, of our thirst, is that we cause so much destruction in our wake. We lapse into addictions, sap all the joy out of our relationships, ruin ourselves and hurt those around us, all in the pursuit of our satisfaction.

The thing is, while all these things are good, they wouldn’t satisfy because, and gear up for this, they were never meant to. They were meant to be enjoyed, not abused.

God our Creator became a man like us so that He could tell us that He has the water to satisfy our thirst. But get this, this Water is Alive. He called it Living Water. He said, “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14 NKJV)

The Life that He gives fills us and overflows, so not only do we not have to thirst again, but we can fill the need of others.

We can enjoy our career pursuits and relationships and journey because our affirmation and satisfaction are not dependent on them. We can live beyond our needs and limitations, and love without fear.

In the short above, Wilbur’s dissatisfaction with his life causes him to leave his family and the life he had. By the time he realises what he has lost, he has already caused so much damage and heartache. He decides to return home to make things right, but he hasn’t the strength to make it back.

Our broken natures are our very weakness. It is why our true journey begins when we come to see that we cannot do this on our own. Surrendering to God is admiting we haven’t got it all figured out. When we trust our lives to Him, He gives us the strength to live and do all we are meant to. To mend what is broken, and to live in His rest.

So why haven’t I finished the story?

Because, even though I’m one of those that have surrendered their lives to God, I still find in myself the predilection to see life from the perspective of thirst. I find myself seeking affirmation and fulfilment in the approval of others, and it never satisfies. It is to people like me that Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)

I constantly need to let His reality overshadow mine. I need to drink of His water, to drown in it so that all I see in life is through His lenses. We all do. So that we don’t live the life of thirst when our very spirits are bursting with His Life.
So, yeah, I’m on that journey through the desert. I haven’t figured it all out. But even if I don’t, I’ll trust in His supply. I’ll soon be done though.

For as many in the desert as well, I hope you find the One Who is Living Water, and find that He is the One that’s been seeking you all along.

God bless you!

What are your thoughts? Do you find yourself in similar paths sometimes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.