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I have always loved reading and

naturally writing became my passion. Like


thousands of people worldwide, I had a
story to tell. But being an African had
its limitations. There is a script
written for an African writer to be
accepted in the literary world. I was
required to write about poverty,
diseases, wars and hunger. I had an
option to stick to the script or endure
oblivion. I chose obscurity.
The story of why I write, what I
write, where I write and how I write is
an intriguing discourse on why grace is
amazing. I began writing when I was
embroiled in the heretical teachings of
prosperity theology and my writing
reflected that. Since writing demands I
research, through grace I learned of the
authentic good news. Writing is my
journey into the depth of the love of
God. I have written in two different
continents, but the message has not
changed. God is still good and grace is
still amazing.

Edmond
SANGANYADO

INTRODUCTION

our years ago, in my small


office in Zimbabwe, I

CONTENTS

started blogging and that

marked the beginning of my journey in

Introduction .................................... 1

the virtual world. Internet was erratic,

Coming To America ........................ 3

power cuts and congestion hurled

Finding A Home .............................. 5

their demotivating shrapnel, daily. I

Drifting ............................................ 7

worked at a local university, the only

A Message From The Heart ........... 8

place in town I could access stable

How Amazing Is Grace? ............... 10

internet free. So, I used to write my

Victory Over Sin ........................... 12

articles in my office on campus.

Conclusion ..................................... 14

They were contingencies, of


course. I could only use the internet
early in the morning or late at night.

As a newlywed, surfing after sunset

campus, about 2 miles or more. I

was not an option, my wife would skin

arrived at my office and began pouring

me alive. On Monday, Tuesday,

my heart on my blog. Before I could

Thursday and Saturday, or something

hit the publish button, darkness

like that, I would wake up before

wrapped my office, out of the blue.

sunrise and rush to campus. These

There was a power cut and everything

were the only days we had power in

was lost. I kicked the table, the wall

the morning. The desire to share my

and everything that could not break

thoughts with world compelled me to

until my feet hurt. With a limb I

brace the colds, and at times rain

braced the darkness and walked 2

every morning.

miles home, angry

My new wife

and disappointed.

was not happy


about the
arrangement,

The power cuts


Writing was a spear that pierced
me and broke inside my flesh.
There was no way I could give up.

and unstable
internet

especially the idea

disappointed me, but

of going to office on

I kept on writing. I

a Saturday

do not know whether

morning. There were days she would

I wrote because I had something to

come hard on me and I would suspend

say or something to learn. All I know,

writing for a while, but old habits die

writing became an obsession. Every

hard. Writing was a spear that pierced

Sunday I would sit at church and take

me and broke inside my flesh. There

down notes as the pastor taught. I

was no way I could give up.

would go back home and search for

Unexpected events often stopped

other scriptures that support or refute

me on my tracks. There was a day, I

what he said. That same week I would

battled the darkness and ran to

write a condensed or expanded version

of the sermon with additional Bible


verses. If the word was good I posted
one or two more articles.

COMING TO AMERICA

ess than a year after I

joined me and we prayed with tears of

married Surprise, I was

joy and pain. The Lord heard us and

awarded a fellowship to

gave me a reassuring word, The grace

study for a PhD in the US. I had never

of the Lord will never take you where

been outside Zimbabwe, except for an

it cannot keep you. I shared this word

overnight journey I made once to

with Surprise. In that small room,

Francistown, Botswana. The idea of

with pictures of our wedding on the

leaving Zimbabwe was bitter-sweet. I

dressing table, Gods comfort

was making history in my family, the

surrounded us and we were swallowed

first person to fly across an ocean, yet

in the unexplainable peace. The Lord

at the same time, I was leaving behind

had spoken.

a four months pregnant wife. I was


happy and I was sad.

Except for the first five days I


arrived in the US, I wrote every day to

As the South African plane took

Surprise. I would send text messages,

off, I left my country fingers crossed

and call daily. At one time, the month

praying for my wife to join me. The

my first child was born, my phone bill

day before my departure, I lay on the

was more than three hundred dollars.

bed and began praying. Surprise

It was worth it. Constant

communication through the favor of

myself in the Lord. The resulting

God sustained our marriage that was

words of comfort, I would translate in

separated by at least eleven thousand

to blog articles.

kilometers.
Although, I had a lot going on, I

After settling in America, having


found a church and a place to stay, I

never stopped writing. Every

began preparations for my wife to join.

opportunity I had, I would sit down

I saved enough money for her plane

and write. The Lord continued pouring

ticket and all she needed was a visa to

in my life. There were times I was low

join me. It was late at night when she


arrived at the consular office in
Harare, Zimbabwe. We had prayed
together before, but she was denied

The grace of the Lord will


never take you where it cannot
keep you.

the visa. They wanted proof of medical


insurance. You can only purchase
medical insurance after you have
arrived in the US. It was an excuse for
denying her the visa. I was

and I needed encouragement, I would


sit down and read the word. The Lord

devastated.
God, why did you bring me to

was faithful to me and He would

such a kind of place, when you knew

encourage me. It was during this time,

my wife would not join me? I

I learned about how David encouraged

questioned Gods intellect and

himself in the Lord when his city,

faithfulness. Hope deferred makes the

Ziklag, was destroyed and his family

soul sick. I was angry and

and wealth taken. Occasionally, as I

heartbroken. But God.... In the middle

walked to campus, I would encourage

of my disappointment the Lord stood

by my side and reminded me, The

days later she was in a plane to

grace of the Lord will never take you

California. That was the happiest day

where it cannot keep you. For a little

of my life. A little side note. As the

while, I was at peace, I knew God

days drew nearer for her to go for a

knew better and had a better plan for

visa interview, the price for the plane

my family, even if it meant waiting

ticket for Surprise and Tino, began

longer before my wife could join me.

dropping. The day she collected the

Two months later, Surprise gave

visa, she went and bought the ticket at

birth to Tino and seven months later,

a ridiculously low price. The Lord

my wife received the visa and three

watched over my family.

FINDING A HOME

here is no place like home,

church. No one responded, even the

but as a child of God, I have

follow up email. No one responded,

home in every corner of the

four years later. I missed home.

world. A few weeks before I left

There were times I loathed waking

Zimbabwe, I contacted churches close

up to a world that was foreign and

to the university I was going to attend

confusing. I was alone. For the first

in the US. One church responded to

week, I searched for an apartment,

me, and I was convinced the church

and I could not afford any. With no

was the place I would call home. I was

place to stay or believers to fellowship

wrong. On my first Saturday at my

with, I was lost. Yet, in the loneliness,

new college, I sent an email to the

I had a friend, I kept writing. I wrote

about the Lord who promised He

I was writing for myself, to encourage

would not leave me. These were not

myself and to remind myself of the

mere thoughts or musings of a lonely

goodness of the Lord. The Lord kept

soul, but recollections on the glorious

showing great favor to me, He opened

presence of the Lord. Jesus Christ was

my eyes to His word.

with me.

There was an intriguing

God gave me the grace to write,

dichotomy in the church. The message

not only to share the truth that He

was horrible most of the times. It was

teaches me, but for me to learn about

the celebrity self-help motivational

His
goodness
and grow
in the
knowledge
of Jesus.

teachings devoid of any lifegiving truth. The jokes and


God gave me the grace to write, not
anecdotes were the only take
only to share the truth that He
home most of the weeks.
teaches me, but for me to learn
However, for the first time I
about His goodness and grow in the
knowledge of Jesus.
witnessed true brotherly

Although I

kindness. Most of the

became a

believers showered me with

lost sheep

love. It was amazing. There is

in an

no family that is perfect, I told

Amazon jungle, I did not stop writing.

myself. At last, I felt at home.

DRIFTING

efore I began my journey to

music was at first great, before the

America, I read about the

emptiness and lip service became

letters to the seven

more real. After a few months, I began

churches. The picture of the seven

to see the lies, pretense, and absence

lampstands stuck in my head. It is

of Christlikeness in the church. For

now four years, and I still have the

the first time, the mythical

image. Each

commercial

stand

Christianity

represented
one of the
Asian
churches, of

Even in the commercialized church, Jesus Christ


is present, not because He endorses the wrong
doctrines, but because His goodness leads to
repentance and His grace trains us into all
godliness.

became a
reality. A
critical, big
brother

which only

spirit took

one had a

over. I did

good report.

not notice.

John did not see the lampstands only,

As I read my posts now, I realize a

he also saw Christ in the middle of the

year after arriving in the US, my style

stands. Although the churches had

and content changed; I began writing

defects, serious defects, Christ

from the head and not the heart. I

remained at the center of the church. I

became a teacher and not a learner.

wish I would remember that every day

As the days went by, I became the

of my life.

person I hated, a traffic sign pointing

After I joined a local church, the


first few weeks were honeymoon. The

to the beach, but with no dream of


ever being there. Each week, I would

meet people who read my posts who

admirable about me. Yet, through my

would share the great things that they

ungraciousness and critical spirit, the

learned. However, I was not learning

speck in the local churches ripped me

anything, my confidence in the word

off an opportunity to worship God.

had become my obstacle (1

Even in the commercialized church,

Corinthians 10:12).

Jesus Christ is present, not because

How foolish I had become. I had

He endorses the wrong doctrines, but

forgotten the grace of God, the same

because His goodness leads to

grace that saved me. Before Christ

repentance and His grace trains us

came in to my life, I was worse than a

into all godliness. Only the sick church

mortuary mop. There was nothing

needs Jesus who is the physician.

A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART

have always been a reader,

Towards the end of 2014, I made a

reading at least 30 books

resolution that would change

per year. It is quite

everything. I sat down in my living

surprising I never stopped to ask

room and told myself I was going to

myself why I read. I was a slave to

write from the heart. If sin were in my

knowledge and each day I strived to

heart, I would write about that. If I

acquire as much knowledge as I could.

were struggling in my faith, I would

Reading is good, but I embroiled in

document that as well. This demanded

idolatry. I lost my compass writing

honesty, brutal honesty and at times

book reviews, in the process making

making myself vulnerable. I had to

friends and enemies.

open my wounds before the world, not

to seek sympathy from fellow sick

members too. It is true, I have learnt a

people, but to show the Physician who

lot.

is more than willing to heal.


I began writing about my

Many people across the globe took


note of the honesty and they began

frustrations with the publishing

following the new blog. I was elated,

industry, my loathing of charitable

but pride lurked around the corner. As

organization, my horrible encounters

the numbers got more impressive and

with missionaries, my encounters with

the statistics beyond average, I was

God in Africa and my conversations

distracted again. I am glad, this time

with God. These were issues on my

Christ was quick to remind me, to

heart and

remain meek and

were dear

continue to learn. The

to me. My

comments written on

reasons for
writing
were

I was a slave to knowledge and each


day I strived to acquire as much
knowledge as I could. Reading is good,
but I embroiled in idolatry.

every post I write,


questioning the veracity
of the thoughts or

selfish, and

lauding the lessons kept

are still

me humble. I am

selfish. I no longer write to teach, but

honored to have such an army of

to learn. When I write about churches

believers who are truly a brothers

stealing from people, I have me in

keeper.

mind because I know one day I will be

The page on my life remains the

that pastor and I need to remember

most popular with more than 9,000

not to steal. I ask myself if I am not

people having read it in less than 3

stealing from my bosses, my children

months. I am honored. On that page, I

and my wife, these are my church

have found encouragement, edification


and exhortation. Nevertheless, there

is one reader who have constantly

know the complete answer. Yet, the

asked me one of the most protruding

partial answer I have has been a

questions. I am convinced I still do not

reason of great joy to me

HOW AMAZING IS GRACE?

owards the end of 2008, I

gnawing in my spirit and obscuring

sat in my house on the floor

the glory of God in my life.

and began talking to God. It

Around that time, God answered

was during working hours, but I chose

my prayer. I walked in to a local

not to go to work that day. I poured

Christian library, on TV was a man

my heart before God, and God began

teaching on the how God loves us and

showing me how he has always been

how grace and truth came through

with me through all

Jesus Christ. I had

my struggles and

never heard that

victories. However,

before, I borrowed a

there was something


troubling me, I had a

Grace is the expression of Gods


love and peace is the impression
of Gods love.

DVD by the
preacher from the

strong feeling there

library. Since then,

was some unhealthy

the Bible became

practices and

alive again. I no

unbiblical traditions I had embraced

longer saw God as a mean kid with a

over the six years I was a Christian.

magnifying glass. He was now my

These unscriptural practices where

father. For the first time, John

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Newtons hymn began to make sense,

came up with a cute little definition

Amazing Grace.

and a fancy quote, but in the process

It is now 6 years since I heard the

bottling Jesus Christ into a myopic

news of how Christ loves me without

concept of grace. Who am I to limit the

the need of the demands of traditions

character or even the attributes of the

of man. I will be lying if I say I did not

preeminent One through a bunch of

pick up other unhealthy practices

words accessible to my finite mind? I

along the way. Hence, when I was

wrote posts and even a book, with the

asked how amazing grace is, it gave

statement grace is the expression of

me another opportunity to sit down

Gods love and peace is the impression

before God and ask him, How

of Gods love prominent on every page.

amazing is your grace, God? It is easy

It sounded true, yet limiting the true

for me to pour my opinion on Gods

nature of God by cramming love into

grace, but it is expedient for Christ to

an expression and impression. If grace

show me how glorious is His grace.

is truly amazing, it should be greater

In the last six years, I spent time

than a mere expression.

trying to define what grace was. Yes, I

Chronicle of a Kid Next Door

I am a kid from next door, we meet in the streets, on the bus and at times
I sit next to you at church. Yes, I am just the other guy who believe in
Jesus, but struggles with doubt, faith and graduate research. I am weak,
not smart enough and at times foolish, the only comfort I have is Christ
chose me. Every day, I remember, "His grace is sufficient for me." This
blog contains my self-notes, reminding me of the grace of God given to me
abundantly by Jesus Christ.

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VICTORY OVER SIN

As days went by, grace quickly

teaching the word fervently to a couple

becoming a fad. I collected ornamental

of Bible study groups in my

clichs from prominent Bible teachers

community. The water was warm, but

from around the world. Rhymes and

the fire had stopped burning.

rhythms replaced exhortation and

In those moments of madness,

edification. Soon enough, I had a

when snapping at my wife came

collection of my favorite preachers. Do

naturally and harassing my older son

not get me wrong, most of these Bible

became common, something amazing

expositors were great, they are still

kept happening. The few moments I

great, only my heart had shifted from

would bow before the Lord and seek

the embrace of Jesus to the adulations

Him, He heard me. Over the next six

of man. My hearts longing was no

months, I witnessed how amazing

longer the knowledge of Jesus Christ,

grace was. In the middle of sin, Christ

but writing tweetable quotes, viral

will stand before me with open arms

posts and bestselling books.

and smile at me. With sin strangling

When the idolatrous desires of my

my neck, guilt and shame painfully

heart crumbled before me like Dagon

suffocating me, softly He whispered in

at the feet of the Ark of the Lord,

my ears, I do not condemn you.

instead of lifting my eyes to the Holy

I am a man who study scripture, I

One, grace momentarily ceased to be

know what sin can do, but the threat

amazing. I had drifted from the truth.

of death never motivated me to stop

I kept the faade of a staunch believer,

sinning. Not only that, I have read

churning out edifying and encouraging

widely, and at times wildly or weirdly,

posts on my social network and

so I know the effect of sin to the

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sinner, his family and friends.

Today as I write, I can confidently

However, even with such knowledge of

claim, I have victory over sin, not

sin, it never stopped me from sinning.

because of my great self-control and

In the moments of sorrow, as sin

thorough discipline. The Lord taught

defeated me, I wondered if grace was

me godliness and opened my eyes to a

still amazing.

reality that used to be obscure. I am

As the days of struggling turned

the righteousness of God, not because

into weeks and weeks into months, I

of the great religious practices I do,

cried out to God, Father, I am tired of

but through looking at what Jesus did

experiencing only the grace of

and becoming convinced that He did it

forgiveness. Is

for me. The

your grace not

pleasure of God

better than
this? Indeed,
Christ did not
want to
forgive me

As the days of struggling turned into weeks


and weeks into months, I cried out to God,
Father, I am tired of experiencing only
the grace of forgiveness. Is your grace not
better than this?

daily, not
because He

in exchanging
His
righteousness
with my filth
gave me the
victory.
I was

grew tired, but He had something

bothered by the sin and not guilt and

better. His grace appeared before me

shame, but when grace that brings

to open my eyes to what lay beyond

salvation to all man appeared before it

His forgiveness, a transformed life.

showed me the root of my problem.

Though a life of victory over sin

Desire. I noticed, when I was anxious

appeared inconceivable, I placed my

about something or disappointed it

trust in God because He is the one

was easy for me to fall into sin. Today,

who works in me to do and to will.

I realize it was all because of the

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feeling of hopelessness. Hope deferred

example, when disappointed by my

makes the soul sick. When my hope

research work, the hope for

was threatened, I took a detour to

graduating and resting made the

fulfill my desires at times by shouting

desire for slothfulness became my

and angering my kids or upsetting my

detour.

wife, yet other times it was worse. For

CONCLUSION
As I wonder how amazing grace is,

If you ask me what is so amazing

I realize I cannot answer the question

about grace, I do not have the words to

without knowing how great God is.

answer that. All I can do is turn my

The more I pursue that question, the

head and look back, look at my feet,

more I come to terms with the things I

look in front and then point to the sky,

do not know. It is much more than I

that is what grace means to me. My

thought. Ironically, through the things

past, present and future testify of the

I do not know, I see how great and

grace of God. To me grace is not

amazing Gods grace is. I am a fool,

limited to the blessings I have

and I am proud of my folly. Each day,

received from the Lord, it also

I wake up to the knowledge of my lack

encompasses the experiences I had

of knowledge, but I have found peace

with God, not only the mountain top

in knowing Jesus Christ is my

moments, but also the valley

knowledge. I chose to know nothing

moments.

else, but Christ and Him crucified.


Visit Chronicles of a Kid Next Door at,
http://www.gracemusing.com

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