May 31, 2022
Written By: Alia Fernandes -
Bachelor of Secondary Education
Elevate Willawong 2, Hope Church Willawong

Toiling and Trusting

Ecclesiastes 2:18-19, “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?…”

How I despaired over the contents of this verse! I wanted to be an excellent daughter to my parents and yet I felt like the wasteful heir hinted at by the author of Ecclesisastes.

During my first degree, I developed two chronic illnesses. I failed both Year 2 and Year 3. I tried – multiple times – to balance part time work with study. I failed at this too. The loss of financial independence affected me internally. I felt utterly useless as a human being.

Looking inwards, I found myself lacking the resilience I thought I had. I became bitterly angry – at both myself and God. Previously, if I set my mind to achieving something and worked hard, I would achieve it. When that formula stopped working for me I blamed began to resent God.

Outside of my own internal turmoil, many beloved friends and family began to share their opinions of me. The ones that hurt the most were when I was called: lazy, undisciplined and without compassion for my mother. The assumptions of these people, people who were supposed to love me, began to drown me. I felt myself begin to sink further and further into self-hatred.

Christians were supposed to point others to Christ by displaying excellence in their attitudes and in their studies/work. What good was I then? Why was I not only failing myself and my family, but also failing God? No matter how hard I tried, I did not seem to meet the standards I had set for myself in many areas of life.

I confided in my mother, who is full of Godly wisdom. Mum pointed me back to God’s eternal perspective in every academic and health setback I encountered. She repeatedly echoed that there is a time for everything and God alone knows these times. I was really frustrated with her answers because I want goals to be achieved as close to the intended timeline as possible. Mum’s trust in God’s timing made me happy, but I could not pretend to have a similar trust. Sso I wrestled with God. Day and night, in good times and in bad, I wrestled with Him.

Both my Mum’s trust in God and my wrestling with Him led to a change in my mindset. Even though everything I worked for seemed to amount to nothing, I am beginning to accept that I can still point other people to Christ. God can still work through me and He actually wants to. I am learning to trust in God’s timing. God has more than enough grace for every dead end we find ourselves in. God also showed me that He wants us to trust Him more than He wants anything else from us.

Walking with Christ does not mean kicking goals twenty-four seven. It involves cultivating a steadiness of heart, trusting in Christ’s timing both when things go to plan and when they go awry.