“A faith that moves mountains is a faith that expands horizons. It does not bring us into a smaller world full of easy answers, but into a larger one where there is room for wonder.”
To be human is to believe. We were born with this inclination, and it will never leave us. Because of the curse of human nature, we more often settle for what is right in our eyes rather than what is right in God’s eyes. Believing in less than God requires no endeavor whatsoever — this is innately something we do without effort. Believing in God requires every part of ourselves — this is developed by means of realizing we cannot choose to believe in anything less than Him. Man places his trust in his greatest focus. So, since we are inherently prideful, our common tendency is to make ourselves that greatest focus, and although other people and things are variable as well, they are also visible, so our second tendency is to believe in them. But people, things, and we ourselves are changeable; therefore, we cannot maintain any sort of faith in them. This points toward the fact that we need something higher than anything of this world, including ourselves.
Atheism is the human belief that faith amounts to nothing. And just as with any faith, the atheist wants to prove this belief. But there is an apparent problem with this mentality. Believing in something requires faith, and therefore, just as aforementioned, faith must exist in everyone in some shape or form, and for man to believe that his faith will amount to nothing only instead proves man’s pride, which further proves his need to place that trust in something immovable and steadfast rather than something faltering and changeable. There is only One with such a resolute presence that can satisfy our longing to believe.
That’s where we must firmly place our pride behind us and admit to something higher than ourselves. Man cannot be satisfied in anything other than that which is ever-satisfying; he has no choice then but to make God his greatest focus and believe in Him, for without Him, he has nothing in the long run worth placing his trust in at all.
The atheist wants to be God; the Christian wants to be God’s.
“What we long to see and know is a Person whose power is unlimited, whose kindness is tender, and whose purpose is single and unflinching.
Novelists and poets and movie-makers and TV writers now and then create a shadow of this Person. But they can no more fill our longing to worship than this month’s National Geographic can satisfy my longing for the Grand Canyon.
We must have the real thing. We must see the Original of all power and kindness and purposefulness. We must see and worship the risen Christ.”
Leadership is often misperceived. It is not a virtue one gains by merely controlling others, nor by earning the right to control. In fact, leadership has nothing to do with gaining authority at all, but rather, learning to Whom the authority belongs.
A servant’s heart is something God grants us when we follow His own lead and embrace the individual gifts He gave us by His matchless grace (1 Peter 4:10). Through serving, we become more of who He meant us to be, because each of our gifts works together to create something entirely beautiful, the hands and feet of Jesus and the reflection of His own heart (1 John 4:19). He spent His entire existence as a paradigm of what true love looks like, the kind of love that is unhindered, unlimited, and unstoppable, echoing throughout our everyday lives (Romans 8:35-39).
By serving, Jesus received more pain than fortune, and more detestation than adoration, from everyone around Him. He didn’t serve by obtaining and maintaining a high status of power, or authority, which He evidently deserves, but by instead becoming lowly in spirit. More times than not, while Jesus walked this earth, He wasn’t noticed for the love that He selflessly portrayed. His love was usually unrequited; and I think that it always was, since we, His loved ones, are incapable of fully loving Him as much in return. But we are assigned to live according to His example, to follow the Leader that Jesus was for us, even though we can never truly grant Him the amount of glory He deserves nor do enough good to outweigh the bad. We are incapable of perfection. It isn’t a part of our beings; but He can sew a servant’s heart into us as we constantly submit ourselves to Him.
Our calling is to serve our God firstly and others secondly, no matter what our gifts are. Jesus knew we wouldn’t receive the amount of support that we, as humans, expect when spreading His love, and He also knew that we would instead be hated and ridiculed just as He was (John 15:18). This is because we don’t need recognition or confirmation from others, but only from the One who died to give us the privilege of following Him, and He teaches us that through our experiences as believers. We find that we are doing what He tells us to do simply by following His Word and yielding our lives to His love, not by attaining any kind of value in this world, for this world has nothing essential to offer, as appealing as its proposals can be to our human nature. We discover our ultimate worth by looking to Him rather than anything or anyone else. Something like this is frankly quite tricky, and it does require absolute surrender. So, loving Him in return means surrendering ourselves to Him despite our inadequacy.
This is the difficult part. To become humble, we must be humbled. We are most like Jesus when we are aware of our worthlessness apart from Him, when we hold fast to the grace that He bestows upon us, when we believe in His promises for greater things, and when we realize how selfish we naturally are.
Humility is much more complex than doing something commendable for another person. When we look into our lives, we will find that we are all sinful and undeserving of God’s grace, and thus, commendation from a person will give us a kind of importance that fades away. We cannot earn our value, and the more we try to, the more we will be confused and let down by our motives, because the only little praise we’ll receive is from men, and even that is fleeting and rubbish. True humility means honoring the God of the universe by becoming outwardly invisible so that people only see our hearts — the place where the Holy Spirit is most present. It means loving selflessly and putting our needs behind us since the God of the universe cares for us (Philippians 2:3). It isn’t trouble-free. It is quite risky. We will get hurt sometimes, we will feel abandoned by the world, and we will certainly suffer because of it, but just like Jesus and the other servants that followed after Him, there is joy, comfort and peace like no other rewarded to us when we meet trials and tests to our faith. Therefore, every pain is for the purpose of growing and realizing His steadfast presence (Romans 5:3-5). We are already precious in His sight because we originally belonged to Him, and once we embrace that, there is no limit to the revelations we will discover and the love that we will spread. It’s infinite. This is what we were meant for (Psalm 139:13-16).
Humility is only looking to honor God, and that must require every part of us. What comes after humility is always beautiful and priceless (1 Peter 5:6), and just by relying on His purpose for us, blessings will overflow our lives like rushing waterfalls (Romans 8:28).
Confidence, security, and trust are all parts of what it means to be a leader, and I’ve been steadily learning such things through the experiences God has brought me through. God’s marvelous love is so deep, so beautiful, and so perfect. Not only is it enlightening, but it is enlivening. His love makes me want to do whatever I must to worship and glorify Him, placing His majesty above all. A leader is not rewarded by men or the feeling of power and might, but by God’s steadfast love, the little traces of heaven we feel on earth because we are so in love with Him that nothing else matters. It brings God such pleasure to see His sons and daughters kneeling before Him. When we give up everything else to be with Him, something wonderful happens: He takes delight in us, we become blameless in His sight, and He gives us a true merit that we could never earn apart from Him (James 4:10). Our reward is above, and we sincerely can taste it right now. It’s in the air we breathe, it’s written in the skies, and it guides our footsteps. His love is everywhere, reminding us that the heart of a servant was meant for eternity, and that victory belongs to those who become like Jesus — meek, lowly, and humble (Psalm 149:4). To really lead is to follow, and although it may take both time and effort, others will join in your following Him because they’ll notice that a life devoted to Him is worth so much more than every little morsel of ephemeral enjoyment the world offers. God is always right beside us. There is bliss in Him.
He loves you. You must understand that your true identity is in His love alone, and nothing else. He’ll mold your heart into that of a servant, if only you believe in Him and pursue Him. You’ll find yourself constantly enjoying, exploring, and realizing the simple joys and intricate wonders He places in your life, and you are genuinely meant for that (James 1:17). That’s when you become you — the you that He made you to be.
I am alone. I can’t recollect much about who I am, but what matters is that I am at ease, despite my apprehension. I’m in a large log cabin nestled comfortably in the middle of a remote forest filled with the tallest evergreen trees and prettiest wildflowers. This is my home, my grand castle, as modest as it is. It is where I have always belonged, as far as I can remember. I pull up a chair and pick up my old leather-cased notebook, and then I lean my head gently by the window before opening it up.
A rush of mixed sentiments floods my heart as the leaves plummet softly and the birds chirp tranquilly, serenading the stars around me. I begin writing poetry expressing my perspective of the nature all around me, from the trees to the flowers. These writings, of course, do not pertain to my experience outside of my house; on the contrary, these writings regard my notions from merely just behind my window.
Such breathtaking thoughts of lovely grandeurs swirl through my mind, but I do not know what it is to experience them for myself; I can only watch them from afar, wishing upon said stars in the sky. The world around me is a dream I wish I could truly live in, but it is only a dream — nothing more. I adore the idea of it, but I fear it at the same time. As the cold air from outside fills the ambiance, I glide the pen across the page, and these words follow:
I can’t recall the scent of spring and autumn,
Nor the taste of summer and winter.
Every sweet sight and sound has been forgotten;
I only wish I could truly remember.
I feel lonelier than I would like to admit, but the evening is quickly running out. My eyelids grow awfully faint after several minutes of composing and contemplating, and so I begin to cozily settle down in my bed covers. The delicate wind flows through the orchards and meadows until it sweeps into my room and leaves behind various little blossoms on my bed sheets. The surrounding fragrance makes me smile as I gently place the lantern by my notebook on the cabinet beside me and ultimately close my sleepy eyes. I am content, but only in my home.
I open my eyes and find myself running hastily through a forest of diverse evergreens. I have my satchel hung comfortably on my shoulder. I chase the calm but biting breeze as it seems to sweep me into the possibilities surrounding me. My thoughts are lighter than downy parachutes slowly descending from the heavens. I laugh and peer down at my bare feet which seem to be weightless on the path under them. Suddenly an idea overwhelms my mind, an incredibly significant idea.
I am not dreaming about escaping. This is reality.
I pause for a moment in the midst of the emerald trees to catch my breath. I observe my wristwatch to find that it is morning, and I look up at the warm sky while the friendly sunbeams bleed through the leaves above and paint the ground a tender golden. I’m finally, actually beyond the limits, beyond the bounds, beyond the lines which I created and told myself would be too dangerous to cross. Then all at once, a sharp fear strikes my heart as I look behind me.
Every moment from the night prior returns to me in an unexpected blur as follows….
I remember that after only a few moments of rest, my eyelids jolted open and I stared blankly at the ceiling above me. Then I abruptly sat up in my bed. There was a scent I didn’t recall before going to sleep — it wasn’t simply the aroma of the petals on my sheets which filled the air as I slept. No, it was rather much stronger than that.
Every scenario I could possibly conjure swarmed through my head in only a small second. I fixed my eyes to the right and saw the lantern I placed on my cabinet just last night. It was shattered all over the floor. I had smelled the embers of a fire. Its flames spread all across the corners of my bedroom, creeping up the walls. I knew that fire always traveled upward and never went downward, so I proceeded to the door in order to escape downstairs. But the wooden floorboards in my bedroom slowly turned into cinders, and what was left of the lantern fell through the floor to the first story of my house. Almost immediately I noticed a rush of fire blaze up the stairs before me, so I shut the door, and scuttled back into my bed, right beside my open window.
I hurriedly picked up my old satchel and placed my notebook inside of it. I stared out of my window and down at the grass below. Subsequently, I prepared to jump. Before I knew it, my feet were touching the ground. I had finally escaped. It only took realizing that I was always trapped — not only in the fire, but also every time I believed I could never leave the cabin.
I ran through the hills and into the woods as the grass blades struck my ankles and got caught in between my toes. I was afraid, more afraid than I was of leaving the cabin. I was afraid of looking back to watch the cabin burn. So I let my legs bring me as far ahead as I could — and then I closed my eyes, promising myself not to let the past come back to haunt me like the cottage in which I resided being burned to the ground. Then, for a few seconds, I forgot.
That’s when I opened my eyes and found myself believing I was in a dream.
As I promptly remember these details of last night’s exploit, I walk toward the burning house. I’m somewhat hesitant to approach it, but I do so anyway. I can see the sparks flying up in the distance. I run faster and faster. My memories seem to die with the house as the flames come to life. A sight too surreal for me to express reflects in my eyes like a flare of emotions. It’s a forest fire growing stronger, like my equal greatest fears, those of escaping and those of returning.
Someone walks from the ashes. It’s a girl wearing a lavish crimson, but her dress is singed in places and torn at the hems. I cannot believe my eyes. Not only am I am in the presence of another human, but she is a lady, with a beautiful and kind face.
“Hello, Kenric,” she says.
“How… how do you know my name?” I stammer.
“Don’t you remember who you are?” she asks. “You are a prince. And, believe it or not, I am a princess. My name is Kyndle. You’ve been spellbound by the idea that your potential doesn’t exceed the outside of your humble cabin. I am here to prove that idea is wrong, and to help you escape, run beyond the hills and explore where reality and fantasy meet.”
Now I begin to remember who I once was. All days bitter now seem a bit sweeter. She is a princess, and somehow I am a prince. I am realizing that I tricked myself into thinking a home was a prison, a house in which I never wanted to be, but was still supposed to be. I was wrong all along. Throughout all of those years I spent daydreaming, I seemed to forget that one’s home is truly one’s heart, and so long as my heart is free, so my home is.
“Thank you,” I tell her, wiping the tears from my eyes.
She looks at me sweetly but mysteriously with a twinkle in her smile. “From now to every season to come, you can dwell on life’s simple beauties without a single worry. Being comfortable isn’t what makes life exciting, Kenric. It’s being at peace. And peace isn’t always something you can find inside the walls of an old cabin, but rather in the evergreen trees and wildflowers. Are you ready?”
A heartwarming stillness resonates and reassures me to the depths of my heart. I look into her crystal eyes, then to the remains of my cabin, and lastly to the mountains in the distance. There is an adventure ahead of me far more wonderful than those I have yet dreamed of. I take a deep breath and then hold her hand securely in mine. I am not alone anymore.
“I am ready.”
To soon be continued…
Despair is like a dark fog
Invading every blue sky
With its impassible smog
Like a rainy day but dry
Despair is like a dark fog
Making every willow weep
With its contagious sob
Like an ocean eternally deep
Hope is like a bright light
Invading every shadow
With its inescapable might
Like the blinding sun’s glow
Hope is like a bright light
Making every creature grin
With its infectious delight
Like a beam too intense