When I was a little boy, I listened to a sermon from my uncle who was a bishop of East Africa Roho Israel, a Luo traditional church my family attended. The sermon, about Noah and the making of the ark, was delivered over 15 years ago from the book of Genesis 6:14, and years later; I still vividly remember what he said.

According to my uncle, when Noah received a revelation from God that he will destroy the world through the floods in a few years, and that he was required to build an ark that would save the world, people thought he was crazy. I guess that the wife and the children reluctantly agreed to join a ‘lunatic’s’ mission because obedience is better than sacrifice.

My uncle gave examples of different groups who mocked him. Drunkards wondered why the old man couldn’t enjoy wine and different assortments found in leisure areas. They must have discussed among themselves the best mental hospital where Noah could be relieved of his madness.

But Noah kept at it, working tirelessly because to him, he’d rather obey God and disappoint men than worry about the opinion of those who don’t hold his life in their hands. Because in Noah’s world, he had tasted of this God and he knew he was always right and dependable. He might delay but what he said would definitely come to pass.

And it did according to scripture. The flood came, those who made inside the ark survived but those who were stubborn drowned.

My uncle then gave a vivid conclusion to his sermon. There were people who desperately wanted to get into the ark when it started raining but they couldn’t. There are those who clung to the side of the ark but that’s all that happened. Hunger, rain, snakes, sharks and whales all had a festive season regardless of whether it was Christmas or not.

Years later, the sermon is teaching me key life lessons. When I started writing, God opened many doors and all my articles went viral. That was a great moment and I felt proud. I actually became so overwhelmed by God’s goodness until I cried one day, true story.

I got loyal readers who would give great and positive feedback. But then as my writing star kept on shining, I also got naysayers who decided that they would dedicate their lives to opposing my work by calling me funny names. That didn’t bother me because one of the requirements in this field of writing is to have a thick skin.

One such person, a great colleague and a friend said that my writing would not last, that the same speed I came with is the very same speed that will get me out of the scene. They said that my writing was predictable and people couldn’t read it for long.

Because I had cushioned myself from the stinging comments that would come on my blog posts, I forgot to fortify my heart from the spears that would be occasionally thrown by those who were close to me.

Even though I was hurt deeply by some of their comments, I continued to write because I believed that I was on a divine mission to accomplish something far much greater than myself. I continued to write with a broken heart. I continued to pen down my thoughts even though their opposition sent forth-painful darts.

Four years writing, and this very same skill that was criticized by some being my source of livelihood, I have one or two things to say.

In your life, maybe you have had people telling you that you can’t do it. Maybe you are not tall or short enough.

They will say how you don’t have the right background or skin colour or papers or connections. They will always find something to use to bring you down. They will call you a lunatic and a madman. They will avoid you and claim that you are chasing after the wind. God knows how many hurtful words and mean things we have been told.

But do not listen to them because negative miserable people always love company. And since you are on a mission to leave their camp, they will always find a way to bring you down to their level because misery loves company.

Jesus was told that he came from Nazareth, that he was the son of a carpenter and how could a saviour be born in a manger. His brothers dismissed David and his father even forgot about him. He looked rugged like the sheep he tended but because God was with him, he never gave up.

Joseph was called a dreamer and his jealous brothers later sold him off to slavery but you know how his story ended. But even in modern times, Nelson Mandela said that it always seems impossible until its done.

Don’t listen to naysayers; don’t listen to people whose work is to destroy what others have made yet they have never made even a single thing because it is easier to criticize than to offer an alternative. Always remember that strong people make things happen; weak people let things happen.

Hold on to the first voice you heard. Because when the going gets tough, he who commissioned you will ensure that he supplies the grace to see you through during tough times. Don’t do anything out of selfish deceit to prove naysayers wrong. Their objective is to get you to their level then you lose focus.

Don’t give them that luxury and always remember it’s in the house of a coward that people gather and point to the tomb of yesterday’s warrior.

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Author: Dannish Odongo

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