Life of roses hits thorny patch

Mkhuseli Gumede smiling
Mkhuseli Gumede, aka MK, is smiling again.

Being a child of plenty can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand all your needs are taken care of. You have a roof over your head, food on your table, school to attend, cars to bring you everywhere. You have no need unmet, no desire unfulfilled. Life is good.

Yet on the flip side, a life of luxury can leave you unprepared for the storms of life, which is what happened to Mkhuseli Gumede, a 22-year-old South African student who says his life was a bed of roses. Until it wasn't.

"My brother and I were spoiled rotten when we were growing up," he said. "Both my parents were employed and we were financially stable. All our needs and wants were met and we went to great schools."

Then in 2016 his parents were retrenched and reality bit – hard. "Both my parents lost their jobs," Mkhuseli (who goes by the nickname MK) told Challenge News.

"I dropped out of high school in 2016 because of our financial difficulties and my own foolish decisions. By 2019 I had hit rock bottom. I was lost, had no direction in life, no school, no job no financial security. I messed up and didn't know what to do."

For a young man who once had the world as his oyster, the bottom was a frightening place to be. Then one day he ran into an old classmate who told him how her life, once as aimless as MK's, was now 'great' thanks to what God had done for her.

MK had heard snippets about Christianity and Jesus Christ while growing up but confessed "financial luxury and materialism blinded my family" and the family never gave faith in God serious thought.

"My friend told me God made such a difference to her life and suggested I go with her to church," MK shared. "A week later, I did." The visit changed his life.

At the end of the service, the pastor asked if there was anyone at the service who wanted to become a Christian. MK didn't hesitate. "I prayed and asked God to come into my life," he said. "I recognised Jesus Christ as my Saviour and believed that He came to earth to die for our sins."

This happened over a year ago and since then, MK said he had indeed experienced many changes for the better.

"I'm less worried, more at peace," he said. "I feel the Holy Spirit (the unseen presence of God) has awakened my spirit and that has brought me closer to Christ."

That's not to say MK has become an angel overnight. "I still struggle with my prideful nature and giving up my sinful pleasures," he admitted. "I think the biggest challenge is keeping faithful to the Word of God and staying away from temptation.

"I find it hard to be humble and submit my ways to Christ's will, but I hope I'm getting better."

He is on the right path though, and has gone back to school. He said he was now also more confident of his goals and aspirations.

Mkhuseli Gumede

As tricky as it MK might be finding the straight and narrow path, he wouldn't change it for the world. "A relationship with Jesus brings peace and clarity," he said. "It helps to know you are never alone and that God loves us enough to send His Son to die for our sins. His love endures forever.

"We live in a broken world and because of that there will always be difficulties and hardships, but God will always be there for us. I truly was so lost before I met Christ. I felt hopeless, defeated and unable to overcome any obstacles. I really needed to be saved."

As he reflected on the new direction his life has taken, MK said he realised becoming the Christian he wanted to be was not going to happen overnight. MK's favourite verse is Psalm 46: 11 – "The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. God is with us."

"It's a journey, not a quick-fix," MK mused. "Christians will still mess up but if we seek Jesus and turn from our sins and read the Bible, Jesus will guide us through." Plenty of food for thought there.

<< How to find peace in chaos
How do you get to Heaven? >>