Tempest III: Abating

The water surface is, as a monstrous bear robbed of her whelps. The waves toss this way and that. The vessel seems sure to be swamped, for the monster out there must have its fury appeased. The restlessness brings about a reality of the fragility of life. “Will I ever come out of this? Will I be discovered and brought to shame?” my troubled mind kept asking, for this imagery depicted a struggle within me. With water heaving on without ceasing and the winds piling up in strength, despair is bound to set in. Such times bring either total resignation to fate or a desperate attempt at saving one’s life; haven’t you known of people who jumped into the sea – if only to escape a sinking ship?

Each day brought shame because I did not know how to handle what I was going through. I was more pained by the assumption people bore of me – a good boy with such deep connection with God. I was a role model on the outside but a smelly morgue on the inside. My confidence waned because each moment was spent seeking cracks that might expose my inner shame and bring me to disrepute. The bigger fear was that of falling out with God. I felt I ought to know better; I should be living a blameless life before God. I prayed and sought and did everything I felt could draw me close to Him. All this, so that the awful stain would not matter – at least as I sought to deal with it on my own.

“Come let us reason together so that though your sins be red as scarlet I will wash them white as wool”, the prophet Isaiah reports of the Lord, God of Israel. This taught me that the matter of sin wasn’t one I was going to deal with on my own; I would need a lot of help. Most of all that I had to talk it out with God Himself. I made the confession and extensively talked out my heart to Him. The problem did not disappear and for a long while I thought Him deaf to my petition. It then came to me that though surrendering to Him; I was still trying to solve the problem on my own – my way of dealing with it seemed best in my own eyes. God was doing something else; He was bringing people into my life with whom I could share.

Sharing brings a whole perspective to what goes on in us. When we speak out, we are able to really look at what we are going through in context so that when we are looking for solutions we know where to apply what, and how to do it. It made me realize that there is a reason confession comes before repentance. It also tells me that confession and repentance is not a matter of mentioning what sin one committed and simply saying sorry about it: it is a real delving into the issue and giving it a three-dimensional look so that the genesis, the real problem, and the resolution is clearly brought out. This calls for talking to someone trustworthy and with whom one can be completely open.” Isn’t it enough to just have it with God and the deal is done?” one may ask. Yes, it is but there’s chance we take God’s grace a little too far – especially since He is not there to chide or point out verbally some indiscretions we bear. Confession and repentance are not something we do to simply be right with God, we do it so that we grow out of our area of sin and be wholly free from iniquity. God desires wholesome healing and growth about us, He has then brought a family of people with who to share burden and confess sin, “Confess your sins, one to another”, He says. Insight from my counsellor was amazing. I’d expected an element of sternness and disappointment on his part but what followed, amazed and set me free.

Let me put it in line with scripture. Paul tells young Timothy that for those who are pure all things are pure. God created sex and sexual feelings for a purpose. It is difficult to look at sex from a pure sense because the world hasn’t quite afforded us that: church  circles present it as a serpent one needs to keep watching while the world puts it as a flame safe enough to play about with – you could get hurt of course but ‘ wasn’t it just an accident’?

If God created it, there’s something good about it. In marriage one may rightly say. Well, if God allows me to have sexual feelings before marriage then surely there still must be something good about it. When all these feelings swamp me, aren’t they a sign that I am sexually healthy and when my appointed time comes I will function well? Could it be that when I learn to control myself now, then I will learn to make sex a special thing in marriage too – not something to be had just for the sake of it? I may not have the correct answers now but there is one thing I choose to do, I choose to praise God. I choose to praise Him for making my members properly functional and I choose to praise Him because He is teaching me how to hold myself and practice self-control.

In the midst of praise, I no longer fear falling into sin. I rest myself in the knowledge that though I am weak, there is someone I trust in who is stronger. He lives in me and is the one who works within me to will and desire to do right, and be the best person I could ever be. Though Satan keeps pointing me to consciousness of wrongdoing, so that I live in shame, I choose to focus much on the victory I already have in Christ Jesus. I then find myself not wanting to sin but want to do right, to be a pleasing sacrifice to Him. The striving is then not directed at stopping masturbation or getting me from pornography but on a wholesome walk with God so that reaching out for obnoxious material becomes an abomination in itself and I do not want to find myself there.

As I sail the rough sea and my boat is tempest-tossed. I fret not. I do not find ways of saving myself or condemning my ship, I simply rest in the knowledge that He who can calm the sea is in the hold below. When things, in my perception, get too bad He is greater than it all; He will calm the storm and we will sail on. I am free because I am not on my own. I am free indeed.


3 responses to this post.

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