Faith, Friendships and Family, Personal
Comments 18

Faith or Complacency?

For two years in between my secondary and university education, I attended A Levels in Johannesburg. I have absolutely lovely memories of SA, so I am particularly horrified by the ongoing Xenophobic attacks. It could have been my friends and I stabbed and mutilated during one of our trips to Clearwater Mall, Spar, or Gold Reef City.

Notwithstanding, I loved my experience at ALA so much that I personally convinced my younger brother (who turned 17 a few weeks ago) to apply. I remember editing one particular essay question that asked him to imagine a moment in his future.

In my brother’s essay, he had obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering from a top American University and was about to begin work with a pan-African team to revitalize hydro electric power generation. In the essay, he (my brother) was excited to speak with our Grandma. She was a beneficiary of this scheme and was running a small business in the village that had grown tremendously because of the near constant power supply.

Unfortunately, my grandmother died a few weeks after we submitted that application, so our dreams will never come to pass. Sad, isn’t it?

Today, I want to share one of my current struggles. Perhaps I’m confused but I feel like my relationship with God has evolved to a stage of less asking and just more “hanging out”. I’ve stopped praying the same way I used to. Actually did I even ever really pray? It’s possible I feel this way because I may have unknowingly been conditioned to think that prayer is all about asking, such that when I’m not asking God for things (or thanking Him for something He has done so that I don’t feel bad about asking for the next one), I feel like I’m not really praying.

So, with my brother’s application, sometimes, I feel a very strong sense of peace in my heart. Sometimes I feel the very strong urge to speak in faith and say “Congrats” in advance. I planned the congratulatory present I’ll buy for him a very long time ago.

But at other times, I feel like I haven’t prayed enough, like I haven’t asked hard enough, never mind that I called my brother that morning before his interview and we prayed over the phone.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Shouldn’t my faith carry me through? The Bible says to ask until your joy is complete, and that we should ask persistently.

Sometimes, I also feel like perhaps God is teaching me that irrespective of where we find ourselves, His plans for our lives will always be fulfilled. I am positive that my life would not have turned out horribly if I went to university in Nigeria. No strike or government failure can prevent the work of God from coming to pass in a person’s life.

Joseph was a slave turned governor. Even Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan didn’t have shoes when he was growing up. Whether or not we like him and his administration, the fact is that he, and not anyone else was once president of Nigeria.

That said, I am aware of my privilege, although we all sometimes take our blessings for granted. Life in America has been fantastic. I’m getting world-class education and exposure while building an international network.

But at the same time, I have confidence that my life will always turn out well because Jesus is on my side. The only requirements on my part are trust and obedience.

America is not the ultimate destination, and there is no guarantee that coming to college here will make you a success in life. More importantly, it does not mean that you will spend eternity with God, which is the most important thing in life.

So what if my brother does not get into ALA and has to attend university in Nigeria? Will that be because I haven’t prayed enough or because God’s plans for him do not include South Africa, (and then America) at this point in time?

Clearly, I’m one very confused bunny. But thank God for the Holy Spirit who forever answers my questions.

Before you go, here is an all time fave song!

I’ve basically poured my heart and my mind out here. Please share some faith nuggets with me!

Image from here.


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  3. Kwadwo says

    First of all on the issue of prayer, I Think Isaiah 65:24 and Mark 11:24 could really help. And you’re not alone when it comes to feeling responsible to pray for certain things and people – especially those close to us ; and situations where something we consider terrible happens to a close one only deepens that sense of responsibility. But that shouldn’t be. When we have the urge to pray and we do, we should always know that we prayed according to the leading of the Holy Spirit (the will of God) and believe God heard us. (Faith).
    Secondly on the issue of where your brother will be and not be, we should always know that God has plans for us – plans before the foundation of the world. God’s plans for you might be totally different from the ones for your brother and as such your paths might never be the same but you should always remember Jeremiah 29:11 and Job 41:2. God has plans for your brother and they will take him to an expected end. And God is able to do all things and not even one of His plans can be thwarted. The easiest prayer to pray in such a situation I suggest is affirming these two scriptures and asking God’s will to be done.
    God says we should be anxious for nothing. So where your brother goes to school and what he becomes shouldn’t be your worry. Your faith will help him more than your worry and confusion. So trust God will take him where He God wants him to be. Pray and let the peace of God guide you. And one more thing, God owns all things – material, physical, spiritual – He owns it all and He creates out of nothing. So in the near future when your expectations for your brother seem not to be coming forth or delaying, and he’s going through some tough and low times, know GOD’S plan for him is not same as yours and God will create something great from his life. God’s got him. Don’t worry at all. 😊 😃😀

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. You poured out your heart indeed. Although SA is my neighbor (from Zimbabwe), I have been only there once en route to US for graduate school. Besides the personal details, this read like my own spiritual struggles, have I prayed enough or at all? Did God really hear me, or it was just chance? In search for answers I read the Lord’s Prayer for more than a month documenting everything I learned. I am still learning. But God is faithful all the same, and we can continue praying to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your last statement- “But God is faithful all the same, and we can continue praying to Him.” Those are words to live by.
      Also, I’m curious about your “Lord’s Prayer” exercise, would you shed more light? It seems pretty interesting!


      • This is going to be long, I am sorry.

        I hit a dry patch for a long time. I was writing and doing all the Christianese acts. Then one day I prayed, I do not even remember what I said. After I was finished, I realized I no clue of what I said. Prayer had become an empty ritual.

        For a long time I asked myself if I knew what, why and how to pray. My prayer closet was full of accolades of answered prayer. Yet, I knew deep inside my prayer life was devoid of life.

        One day, I could not take it any more and prayed, “Lord, teach me to pray.” From that day, I would wake up early in the morning read the Lord’s prayer. I would focus on one aspect of the Lord’s Prayer. After each prayer, I would write down everything I learned from each petition in the Lord’s Prayer. One petition would send me to another book. I would listen to that book for long hours.

        I had intended to use the Lord’s prayer as my guide for only seven days, this is the second month. Through the exercise, I realized the main reason I was slack in prayer was my knowledge of God. In each petition from the Lord’s prayer, Christ revealed something about God as both our King and Father. I learned why Paul always prayed for saints to know Christ. It is the knowledge of God that transforms prayer.

        How you view God, your understanding of the nature of God, determines your prayer life.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You should absolutely turn this response into a blog post! So much wisdom! I think it will also be a pretty cool idea to share some of the nuggets you’re learning from prayer journey with The Lord’s Prayer. I know I’ll surely gain a lot!


          • I have been documenting them on my blog for a while. I have about 7 posts, plus four on my struggles with prayer. I have gathered them into a manuscript, the book will be released on Amazon on June 15, but it is currently available for pre-ordering. I can send you an ebook if you like.


  6. This post is quite touchy…am glad ur studies in S.A was successful before the time of xenophobic attack. God help the diaporas.


  7. Alheri, this was a really lovely post. 😀 And I can totally relate to the whole praying out hanging out thing. It takes time for God to help us get used to the simpler way of doing things sometimes. But I think when we’re in such a place, we’re right where we’re supposed to be.
    Some time ago, my little sister was in your brother’s place. We all prayed and asked for God’s help and direction. I was rooting for the American thing because I believed in the quality of education but even though she got accepted, God made things work out differently, and now we are all grateful it worked out that way. 😀

    Keep trusting as you are! I’m so glad we can share stuff like this. Take care!


    • Thank you so much Mema! This is so encouraging, you have no idea!
      I’m excited to see what God has in store, and I’m believing Him to teach me to trust Him more- I cannot help myself, no matter how hard I try haha

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. You’re so right. Sometimes I look around and feel like an alien (I guess I am 😀) it’s always nice to have someone else mirror these things. Have yourself a great day. Let’s talk some time. 😀


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