1 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, clan by clan, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south. 2 Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Salt Sea, 3 crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 4 It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the sea. This is their southern boundary.
~ Joshua 15
Over the past few days, we’ve been reading about the allocation of the territories to the people of Israel as they invaded and conquered their Promised Land. The more I read texts like the one quoted above, the more I’m reminded of a certain personal experience. Permit me to share a bit of my life with you today.
I’ve had my fair share of discouragement and depression with respect to my ministerial calling. I think the worst of it happened close to 10 years ago, somewhere between 2002 and 2003. During the period in question, I was constantly battling with the thoughts of stagnation, fighting the feelings that somehow God had failed me.
Of course, I couldn’t voice it out; how could I? I needed to defend God against all my critics. You see, against all ‘sound’ judgments of mine and others I had dropped out of the University about 7 years earlier. I was a 3rd year Electronic Engineering student then, and I was absolutely convinced I was responding to the call of God. Everyone that cared for me did all they could to reason with me and get me back to school. Their appeals, however, fell on deaf ears; so, I knew that whereas some held on to the hope of my coming to my senses eventually, others were waiting for me to fail so they could mock me. I could not, therefore, let out my feelings of frustration with the way things had turned out.
I compared myself constantly with my friends who had gone on to graduate; most of them had travelled abroad and virtually all of them had secured good paying jobs. In the meantime, I felt like one abandoned and stagnated in the backside of the desert. My church was barely numbering 50 at the time due to a crisis that had hit us; and this was after almost 5 years of pastoring the church.
I had come to a point in my walk with God that I felt I wasn’t getting what I had bargained for – what He had promised me. At this point, I had also grown tired of bottling the depression, trying to be strong, trying to defend God. In the end I simply caved in.
I can’t trace the exact date now, but it happened around 4am in the morning; I had tossed all night, unable to get any sleep. I sat up on the bed and just gave in to the feelings of depression, self-pity, sadness, frustration – you name it. I was just tired. I felt like the devil himself was sitting right there beside me. As a matter of fact, I was absolutely convinced he was as I could hear his voice in my head. I thought, “Satan, this is your moment. Tell me everything you want to tell me.”
Well, he sure did a good job of it that morning!
I sat down there pitying myself, thinking of my stagnation and failure. I had no money. I had no possessions of any significance. I had a family that was dependent on me, so it was terrifying to look into the horizon and feel only despair and hopelessness. I tortured myself with the negative thoughts as much as I could because I felt I deserved it. It was a pity party and the devil was my only guest. I let the tears flow.
That was when the vision began to pass panoramically through my mind: First, mountains of cash, then mansions, cars, and piles of gold, diamonds, and other forms of material wealth. The visions were so vivid I still shudder with awe just thinking of how I felt as they passed by almost brushing against my skin.
As these wealth forms passed by, however, I began to notice a sparkling white mountain glowing beyond them in the distant horizon. It was like a mountain of pure dazzling white snow. The top of the mountain was capped with gorgeous gold. Instantly, my spirit connected this with the glory and presence of God.
I was spell bound with what I was seeing; closer to me were these panoramic visions of sliding wealth forms; beyond was the most lovely manifestation of God’s glory and presence I’d ever seen – a gold-capped mountain. The experience was quite overwhelming.
Then, the Lord spoke to me.
“Make your choice,” He said, “Worldly wealth, or my presence.”
“I want both,” I responded.
“No,” the Lord replied, “you must choose only one.”
Well, I honestly wanted both. Deep within me, however, I knew, and had always known, that I would never choose anything, or anyone above the Lord. Nevertheless, I was quite reluctant to let go of any of the realities in the visions before me that night.
The visions stayed while I stalled in the vain hope that I could somehow secure both realities for myself.
Eventually, I surrendered and said, “Lord, you know my choice. I want your Presence.”
“Then, stop complaining,” He said.
Suddenly, the entire vision vanished, and the Lord spoke to me audibly – one of the few times that has happened in my entire life. His words that night, simple and straightforward, continue to speak in my heart till date. He said, “You will always have my Presence, My Wisdom, and My Favour. Those are your inheritance in me.”
Immediately, I felt tremendous peace flood my entire being. I fell on my knees that early morning and worshipped the Lord asking Him to pardon my doubts and murmurings. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude to the Lord for responding to me in such a powerful way and helping me rediscover the reason I left everything to follow Him in the first instance – I did not follow Him for worldly wealth, but rather for His own sake. It was such a beautiful and empowering reminder.
And, by the way, in retrospect, and in the light of all that has happened so far in my life, dropping out of school is the best decision I ever made.
Today, I can comfortably assert that my personal and unique inheritance in God is three-fold: His Presence, His Wisdom, and His Favour. I can also tell you most certainly that I would never trade any of these for anything this world has to offer. I’m secure in my inheritance in Him. I’m content with what He has uniquely bequeathed to me.
Now, if I may ask you, what’s your personal and unique inheritance in God?
Over the past few days, we’ve been reading about the allocation of the territories to the people of Israel as they invaded and conquered their Promised Land. The more I read texts like the one quoted at the beginning of this story, the more I’m reminded of the experience I shared here. I’m glad I know the boundaries of my personal and unique allocation in the Lord: His Presence, His Wisdom, and His Favour.
Today, I celebrate these with joy. I’m enjoying them too; but I’ve also become a powerful channel through which these awesome blessings flow to others.
I encourage you to pray this prayer today:
“Lord, show reveal the boundaries of my inheritance in you to me. Show me my unique and personal portion in you.”