LIFE is often a struggle for many people. Even the most prayerful among us experience their moments of doubt and fear when the storms of life are stirred up.
By Phillip Chidavaenzi
Author: Ozias Bvute
Publisher: The House of Books (2018)
The primary reason for this is because we try to navigate life on our own and forget that even in the most difficult of times, God is an ever-present help.
This is the argument that Ozias Bvute pushes in his new, voluminous daily devotional, Reflections.
In over 300 pages, he deals with a wide raft of topics including forgiveness, dealing with delays, goal setting, instilling hope, trusting in God, facing discouragement, adapting to the different seasons of life, God’s timing, depression, stewardship, spiritual warfare and godly prosperity.
We may not all face similar hurdles at the same time, but the wide range and variety of issues addressed in these devotionals enables each one of us to pick their own take-away and reflect on what they are facing in life because “your responsibility is to trust that He (God) will help you cross over and make your life an artistic work of meaning and purpose.”
The thread that runs throughout this collection of devotionals is that challenges are the nature of life, whether or not we believe in God, but the over-arching message is that when the trying times come, God will be there to bear us up, to offer us the grace to outlive the problem.
Bvute writes in simple and clean text, making the devotionals accessible to all.
Here is a book you are in no hurry to rush through. You could spend a day, or even, two on just a single entry as you think through the message and explore how best it can be applied to your own life or circumstances.
One of the collection’s major strengths is that it punctures illusions upon which many contemporary Pentecostal messages are anchored — that life is a kind of paradise in which believers live happily after.
Bvute writes, for instance, of an encounter with a workmate who was leaving the company and how “the pain of life had numbed her, and she truly believed that nothing else in life mattered other than worshipping and waiting for the return of Christ.” (pp8).
The author uses the bankable authority of scripture to demonstrate that while dreams are often shattered and hope lost because of the pains of life, God will always bear us up.
Strong faith in essence, is not about ignoring the unfavourable practical realities of life, but the ability to sail above them because scripture assures us that those that endure to the very end will receive the crown of life.
There is here an acknowledgment of some of the inherent weaknesses that make up our individual personalities. Insights are given, however, of how we can skip over those weaknesses so that the beauty that God has deposited in each one of us can shine through.
Bvute writes: “Do you have personality defects or habits that are holding you back? Cry out to God, seek Him and ask Him to grant you the strength overcome, like Samson. The Bible says you should knock and the door shall be opened unto you, likewise knock on heaven’s door and ask for liberation from your weaknesses.” (pp308).
The author — who is a businessman, a spiritual life coach and the founder of the Figtree Foundation — has largely drawn from his own personal life experiences to come up with the inspirational nuggets in this book.
Many of his reflections are likely to resonate with many readers who may be facing different struggles in their life, and would need a dosage of inspiration to navigate life’s sharp curves.
The publishers must be commended for leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that they produced a quality book in terms of print as well as quality of paper and design, with a simple cover with a picture of a lake shore, probably meant to soothe the soul.