STILL I STAND

Does your mind say the opposite of what your faith says?
That the strength in you cannot rise above the fear clutching at your throat, threatening to squeeze out the already faint voice that says ‘I don’t have the spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.’

The fear cowering your defenses, making you more vulnerable than you already are, telling you, yes, the night is dark and that you’re about to step into the blinding, discomfortable darkness. The fear floating like the night breeze; not chill, not cool, not reassuring but restless, defiant, whispers one ear into the other, ‘you’re alone, look, you’ll trip, there’s definitely a pit and you’ll fall into it.’

The voice gets louder, harsher and you scream out, ‘though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death hovers over me, I’ll fear nothing.’ You will say it till your mind and body and every hair on you skin stand in obedience, taking down iotas of doubt.

Someone once your faith is doing the opposite of what you fear.

Fear comes in when you are at your lowest, tells you you are human and that humans fear but you look at it in the eye and tell it, ‘I’m not human, I’m superhuman because what I have in me is superior to the power that’s in you.’

You tell fear, yes life breaks people, takes them through storms and losses and pains and makes them clutch their hurting hearts wishing life could seep out of them, wishing they could be free. You tell fear, STILL I STAND.

Still I stand through the failed courses, dead CGPA’s, empty bank accounts, biting hunger, depression, hospital beds. I stand through the days I feel like hiding under Vet Mountain and not let the sun see your tears. I stand through the days I feel alone and lost and completely forgotten.

Still I stand, holding on to that hope that says ‘do not fear, because I am with you.’
The one that tells you, ’walk with me, watch me and learn the unforced rhythms of grace.’

You are a miracle God is building into a story the world will go on telling even when you’re up there with him. A story that will hold up people battling with fear.

My friend once told me this and I’m telling you, ’you are many things, but you are not afraid.’

You are strong, powerful, full of faith and light. You are full of God’s strength that does not bow to fear.

IFIOKABASI OKOP

(c) 2018

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THE ARMY

I sat in my shadows, legs crossed,
There was a knock,
And the Other had with something good to sell,
Large smiles and affordable prices,
We made a good bargain and I felt good,

It began to wear off,
I knew there would be a fight,
I should not have let it in,
I knew I would lose and I saw the Other taunt me,

The Eyes that saw me looked away,
I was trapped,
The Other flashed it’s bloody teeths,
The One I looked to turned away,

I crawled out of my shadows,
The lights blinded me,
Sharp hues of White, ivory and gold,
I stumbled around looking for my shadows,

The Other grabbed my shoulders and pulled me,
I couldn’t fight back,
I could only wimp,
It pulled me slowly now,
Perhaps reveling in its victory,

I looked up at the blinding light,
Only now I saw the One coming,
He held out his hands,
I had two choices,

It was a fight,
I tried to pull myself out of its grip,
It held on tight, a little tighter,
Then it bound me so much I felt taut,

I looked up again,
His hands were still outstretched,
I opened my palms and stretched my arms,
Before me,
I made a choice,

He took my hands in his and I turned back,
The Other’s eyes lit like fire,
I turned back and trembled,
He smiled and pulled me towards him,
I fell to my knees and watched the fight,

This time, I knew I would not lose,
Because I had an Army.

Ifiokabasi Okop

(c) 2018