Clinging to God Who Never Changes
A True Story
on Jul 29, 2021
For quite a number of years, I have been longing to build my own home here in Kiserian. I have visualized fencing the home with neat kei-apple plants, drilling a borehole, doing some farming and cooking meals using biogas extracted from farm manure. It's a dream that is taking longer to achieve than I had anticipated. But I am not giving up on it; I will keep visualizing and working till it comes to pass, God-willing.
I have especially been challenged to fight for that dream by the changes taking place in my neighborhood. You see, the road that leads to our home is being expanded. That expansion has led to demolition of houses, cutting down of trees and pulling down of fences - changes that astonished my sister-in-law Diana when she visited us a couple of weeks ago.
Then the owner of the land to the north of our home is planning to convert the land from a farm to a children's recreational centre. If he carries out that plan, I expect a lot of changes to take place on the farm, such as uprooting the trees that have given our neighborhood a relaxed, countryside ambience.
And then the folks who bought pieces of land to the west of our home are constructing mansions. In recent weeks, the silence of our neighborhood has been disrupted by the talks of workers doing the construction and by the roar of lorries depositing sand, bricks, water and murram on the construction sites. As I pen this story, I can hear the sounds of men chiselling bricks.
With all those changes taking place in my neighborhood, I am feeling left behind that I am yet to build the home of my dreams. And those changes have brought to my mind the following lines from the wonderful old hymn "Abide With Me":
Just like the composer of that hymn, I am witnessing changes all around me. And like him, I have chosen to cling to God who never changes; the powerful, all-knowing God who created the Earth and all that is in it.
Change and decay, in all around I see;
O thou who changes not, abide with me!
I have realized it is very easy to believe that God exists. What's hard to believe is that God hears our prayers. Unanswered prayers can puncture our faith in God and lead us to doubt whether He listens to our petitions. It has happened to me a couple of times.
Following that realization, I have resolved to deepen my faith in God by studying the Bible on a regular basis and relating its wisdom to what I observe in the modern world. Lately, I have been reading in the newspapers of people evading taxes, committing murder, stealing from banks and engaging in marital unfaithfulness - sins that the Bible addresses. Hearing of such grievous sins taking place in the modern world makes me think the Bible is true.
And if the Bible is true, why not believe it when it says God is faithful and loving, slow to anger and quick to bless? That we shouldn't be afraid of sudden disasters? That He has wonderful plans for our future - plans to prosper us and not to harm us? And that whatever we pray for in faith, we shall receive it from God?
Apart from studying the Bible in an effort to deepen my faith in God, I have also been reading spiritually-enriching books. About a month ago, I re-read Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life which inspired me to memorize verses from the Bible and meditate on them instead of worrying. And I am currently reading Selected Sayings and Examples of Saints, an ancient book which has encouraged me to practice such biblical virtues as diligence, meekness and confidence.
Reading such spiritually-enriching books has made me believe in God more. I will therefore continue approaching Him in prayer not only after I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night but also throughout the day as I go about my daily work. In the same way a female dove hatches eggs to please her mate and leaves it up to him to care for her needs, I will be doing my work to please God and leave entirely to Him the task of caring for me. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on clinging to God who never changes, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about three years ago on "Visualizing". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Remembering the Past
A True Story
on Jul 24, 2021
As I have narrated before on this lovely blog of mine, I didn't like Biology that much when I was in Form 1 at Starehe Boys' Centre in 2002. I just found it boring to memorize the parts of a light microscope and the classification of living things. My difficulty in understanding Biology was worsened by my inability to decipher the foreign accent of our teacher, an Indian nun named Sr. Dalika.
But you know what? As my high school years wore on, I came to enjoy Biology. I remember scoring splendid marks in some Biology tests in Form 2. By the time I was in Form 4 in 2005, Biology had evolved into my favorite subject. There were some nights during my fourth-form year when I would feel animated whenever I revised Biology during preps. And the textbooks in the subject that really moved me were "Principles of Biology" (Part 1 & 2) by P.M. Muchiri. I found those two books beautifully written and utterly transparent in their explanation of biological concepts.
Given the way I took pleasure in studying Biology during my final years in high school, I would probably have fared well at the university had I pursued a degree in Medicine & Surgery. But because the sight of pus, mucus, blood and other bodily excrement has always made me cringe in terror, I chose not to pursue a degree in Medicine & Surgery when I was selecting my university courses in 2006.
While Biology bored me in Form 1 but fascinated me in Form 4, Physics had the opposite effect on me. I enjoyed studying Physics in Form 1; it was my favorite subject that year. But as I progressed with my high school studies, Physics became a bit too hard for me. The topics in the subject that troubled me most were electrostatics, current electricity and solid-state electronics. I just couldn't understand the logic behind those topics, especially solid-state electronics.
And you know what again? In spite of having experienced difficulty in understanding electronics during my high school years, that's precisely what I chose to pursue at JKUAT - a local university where I matriculated in May 2007 to study a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering. And wa! The engineering course turned out to be a tough nut to crack for me. Not surprisingly, I did poorly in my first year exams at JKUAT in 2007.
But it was not only due to my trouble in understanding electronics that I did poorly in my first year at JKUAT but also due to my preoccupation with wanting to study in a top American college. I did spend quite a lot of time during my first year at JKUAT applying to top American colleges, a rigorous process that entailed writing essays, filling forms, getting recommendation letters and revising for the SAT exams. That preoccupation with wanting to study in America kept me from giving the engineering course the attention it deserved.
Well, I had applied to four top American colleges (MIT, Cornell, Stanford & Dartmouth) before I matriculated at JKUAT in May 2007. My first choice college during that application round was MIT where I wanted to study a computer-related degree. That I wanted to attend MIT was evident in the way I browsed the MIT website quite often. And I was heartbroken when MIT rejected me as did Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth. Following the rejections, I had no choice but to enroll at JKUAT in May 2007.
The hype about the excellence of top American colleges is what kept me wanting to study in America when I was in my first year at JKUAT in 2007. And the colleges I applied for admission that year were MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. My first choice college during that application round was Harvard where I wanted to pursue Physics. As it happened, I wasn't accepted into any of the colleges, a result that depressed me deeply.
Despite the rejections, I still couldn't dismiss from my mind the desire to study in America. So when I dropped out of JKUAT in 2009, having been unable to cope with the engineering course load, I re-applied to Yale, Harvard and Stanford. (I would also have re-applied to MIT had someone at the institute not discouraged me from applying for the third time.) Of the three colleges I applied for admission in 2009, Yale was appealing to me the most this time round since it had a residential housing system that resembled that of Starehe Boys' Centre. And the degree I wanted to pursue at Yale was History, Political Science or International Relations. Come April 2010, I was rejected by all those three colleges.
My desire to study in America having come to a dead end, I enrolled at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in September 2010 to pursue a B.A. degree in History & Political Science. I felt rejuvenated when I began my studies at UoN where I mesmerized my lecturers and fellow classmates with my fund of knowledge. But because my degree course at UoN wasn't government subsidized like my engineering course at JKUAT had been, I eventually dropped out of UoN due to high tuition fees.
During my years at Starehe, I was often accused of being confused. If ever I was that much confused, in no other incidents were my confusion more apparent than in the way I kept changing my preferred course of study when I applied to top American colleges in a span of four years and in the way I switched degree courses from Electronics & Computer Engineering to History & Political Science at the two local universities I attended. But as they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." So I am now a wiser, braver and smarter young man.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on me remembering my past, you might also enjoy another one I wrote a few years ago on "The Doors God Closed For Me". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.