There are some experiences that God allows us to go through that do not make sense in the moment. Sometimes opportunities pass us by. What we thought was meant for us, a gift God was giving to us, does not materialize.
What do we do in such moments then? When the very answer to that prayer seems to be just beyond our reach?
I find comfort in reminding myself that while I see a moment, God sees eternity. I might be seeing a rejection after a job interview, but God can see that the rejection is what he will use to reignite my passion and creativity to launch a new business. I may be seeing a rejection from a friend or a loved one, but God sees a separation that will increase my capacity to focus on him, and build better relationships.
Many difficult moments turn into something beautiful, given time and a godly perspective
Seeing beyond a moment is hard with human eyes. But thank God! He gives us a helper, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals to us what our difficult moment could become in the long run, if we let him show us how to respond to that difficult moment.
Our difficult moments can make us bitter, trapped in the hurt and the pain, or our difficult moment can become the stepping stones to our next. They can be tools that God uses to make us wiser and stronger. They can remind us that he is the answer to all of life’s questions, and in him we lack nothing.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Teach us Lord to find you in our difficult moments, that we may keep growing and maturing.
My summary of what I have learned from the story of Jacob would not be complete without touching on the eternal perspectives that this story demonstrates to me.
It took Jacob many years, and many ups and downs, for him to get to that place where he could find peace in God, and see all his children growing and multiplying. As I’ve shared in part 1, part 2, and part 3, there were many instances where Jacob did not know if or how God would come through for him, or how his life and those of his children would be saved. However, even where Jacob’s vision was limited, God still had a grand, eternal plan that he was working out. From the twelve sons of Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel), the entire nation of Israel was formed. God used Jacob, and his sons to fulfill the promise he made to Abraham. Even more significant for us today, Jesus, our savior and redeemer had his earthly lineage from one of the sons of Jacob.
God can raise us from dust to glory because he has a plan and purpose that is bigger than our selves
God worked through the life of Jacob, molding him from a cheat and a liar into the patriarch that one of the most famous nations in the world would be known by. Despite all the mistakes and errors made, Jesus, the son of God came to earth through Jacob and his descendants. This teaches me that God is looking to do more than to just bless, heal, and restore us. Indeed, God cares deeply for us at an individual level, but beyond individual needs, there is always something that God is working out. For his bride the church, and for this world at large. I find it exciting to think that I am part of a grand plan and purpose that will not only affect me, but those around me, and even those that will come after me. Truly God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord
God operates beyond the natural and the things we see. While Jacob only saw what was happening around him, God had the bigger picture in mind. God saw from the very beginning, the redemption of Jacob and his family from hunger through his son, Joseph. And even beyond that, God had already planned for the redemption of the world through Jesus, who would be born into the tribe of Judah that came from Jacob’s second son.
Depending on the season we are currently in, sometimes it is difficult to see how God will work it out or even how he can use what we are going through to help or bless someone else. But Jacob’s story encourages me today. I don’t need to clearly see or understand what I am going through, but I can find rest in God. I can lay it in his hands and know that it will all make sense in the end. If I allow him to, he will not only work it out, but he will mold it into something that manifests his glory beyond me, to every other life that he wills, over all the earth.
That’s how great our God is. He is the God of eternal promise. And yet, even as he sees eternity, he sees each tear that falls. He remains our comforter and friend, an ever present help in times of need.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
As God takes care of us and leads us through every season, he also works through our circumstances to bring his eternal promises to pass. My prayer today is that I, like Jacob, may learn to fully yield to him, and be one of the many that he uses to manifest his plans on this earth.
May God continue to use us to manifest all the plans he has for this earth!
Last week and this week, I have been sharing what I have been learning from Jacob’s story in the Bible. I just love how God makes his word come alive and speak to us in every season. This story gives me hope and encouragement. It reminds me that no matter how things seem in the natural, we are precious and valued in God’s eyes. He is working it out, even when we cannot see it with our physical eyes.
The first two parts of the story can be found here and here.
In this post, we pick up the Jacob story in Genesis 42:36, at the moment when it seems that everything against him.
Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
In the natural, Jacob had come to his end. There was no way he could provide for his family during the great famine that was across the land without sending his sons back to Egypt and risking the life of his youngest son. There was no additional plan or scheme he could put together as an alternative to going down to Egypt. This was a new place, a new level where only God could walk him through.
Jacob has now learned that he needs to involve God in his plans. Earlier on, he wrestled with God and saw him face to face, and yet his life was spared (Genesis 32: 24–30). To prepare for the journey back to Egypt, he now asks his 10 remaining sons to pack the best produce of the land, and double portions of the silver they had initially gone to Egypt with. Most importantly, as he makes these plans, he asks God to lead. He prays that God may cause the ‘Lord of Egypt’ to have mercy on his sons so that they can all come back unharmed.
“May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother along with Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
One lesson I learn here is the need to fully trust God, without having other back-up plans. Jacob was ready to lose his sons if God did not come through for him. That, for me, is another faith level. It is a higher level of faith that I can only compare to stepping off a cliff, and trusting that God will either catch you or give you wings to fly.
I pray that I may truly learn to trust and keep moving forward to fulfill God’s plan, even when moving forward feels like jumping off a cliff.
The other lesson I learn here is that often what seems to be the most difficult path is the one that leads to true prosperity.
After being released by their father, Jacob’s son went back to Egypt. After a very interesting dinner with the ‘Lord of Egypt’ and a staged theft (Genesis 43:15 – Genesis 44:33), they discover that this ‘Lord’ was their long-lost and presumed dead brother Joseph. Joseph then sent them back to their father with provisions, and instructions to come and live in Egypt where there was more than enough food.
I like to imagine the look on Jacob’s face when his sons came back with the good news that Joseph, the 12th son who was presumed dead, was not only alive but was second only to Pharaoh in the most prosperous nation at the time. The Bible says that he was stunned, and did not believe them, but when he saw everything that Joseph sent, his spirit was revived.
They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.
When what God has in store for us is revealed, it revives our spirits. A revived spirit is a sign of prosperity. A revived spirit is a testament that our hope in God is not in vain. It renews our strength and we soar like Eagles.
God crafted a divine plan to prosper Jacob and his family, saving them from famine by sending Joseph to Egypt ahead of them. As Jacob was on his way to Egypt, God appeared to him and shared the grand plan that was now unfolding:
“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
When we enter the season of prosperity, God reveals a bigger portion of the plan
God revealed to Jacob that through his descendants, a great nation would be formed, and this nation would come back to the promised land.
This is how great God’s love is for us. When we learn to fully trust and walk with him, he starts to reveal his plans to us. When we know his plans, we start to rise in Christ, and our lives start demonstrating true riches. Riches like peace of mind, wisdom, and divine foresight. We become a blessing and a beacon of hope to those around us while experiencing a calm, stillness, and clarity of purpose within us that can only be divine. God gifts us with strategies and plans that can positively influence this world, and draw more people to him.
I find it amazing that God wants to confide in me and make his plans known to me. He wants us to know what he knows, that we may have that quiet confidence and assurance in him.
The Lord confides in those who fear [respect] him; he makes is covenant known to them.
Like Jacob at this stage of the story, may I be found fully trusting and walking with God. When we seek God first, all other things are added to us. Jacob trusted God to keep his sons safe as they went to find food in Egypt. This ultimately resulted in him and his entire family moving to Egypt and becoming exceedingly prosperous. Not only did God give Jacob material wealth, but his descendants also multiplied and became the great nation we know, the Israelites.
God wants us to prosper above and beyond what we can think or imagine. He came that we may have life, and have it in abundance. If we walk with him, he will enable us to grow and bear fruit in the season of prosperity, as he did for Jacob.
In the last part of this story, coming at the end of the week, I will share my learnings from this story on how this season of prosperity is linked to God’s eternal plan for mankind.
In the meantime, stay blessed and always remember that God loves you 😊
Sometimes I find it difficult to look inwards and see the things in me that I need to allow God to work on. God, however is gracious and compassionate. In His infinite patience, he waits until I come to the end of my own schemes and plans to show me a better way. To show me that what he has for me is far better and more fulfilling than anything I could ever come up with. This second part Jacob’s story tells me that perhaps, I am not the first or last to go through this process……
Jacob reminds me of how we often rely on our own plans, separate from God, to get us through life
In the past, Jacob had gotten by through schemes, tricks, and plans from his own heart. Jacob was a man who could craft a plan and make it happen! Two notable examples of how he used his well-laid plans to trick those closest to him are when he tricked his brother out of his birthright (Genesis 25:21-34), and how he tricked his father to bless him instead of this brother with the help of his mother (Genesis 26:34 to Genesis 27:1-29).
Jacob’s trickery caught up with him eventually. After tricking his brother Esau out of his birthright, Esau vowed to kill him (Genesis 27:41). To escape his brother, Jacob fled to Laban, his uncle, who lived in Haran.
Yet despite all this, God never gave up on him. Even as he was fleeing, God appeared and assured him that he was still with him, and God would honor the covenant he had made with his grandfather Abraham through him. Even when we are lost and far away from God, his promises to us still remain. He does not take back anything that he promised us. His promises never go back to him void.
For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it.
God’s love for us is so amazing, he never, ever gives up on us.
However, Jacob still had to undergo hardships to change from being a deceiver into what God needed him to be – the father of many nations. In Genesis 29:14-29, we find him working for fourteen years after being tricked into marrying Laban’s first daughter Leah when in actual fact he had wanted to marry Rachel, the second born. And the hardships did not stop there. Laban cheated Jacob multiple times out of his wages (Genesis 31:7). The trickster became the one who was tricked. Yet in all this, God had not left him. Jacob had to endure hard labor and many years of working for his uncle. This was a consequence of his own actions, but God used it for good. Amidst all this, God caused Jacob to grow and increase.
Even when we are in a dark and difficult place, God can still grow and restore us.
Then the time of the great reckoning came. As he prospered, his in-laws became jealous and God told Jacob to go back home. Now remember that back home, Esau had vowed to kill Jacob, yet God is telling Jacob to go back.
By going back, Jacob would face a real threat to his life. His brother could very well kill him. For a time, it looked like his brother was out to kill him, as he came out to meet him with 400 men. Jacob must have been very afraid, and as always, he came up with a plan to appease his brother, by sending him gifts and splitting up his possessions to go before him. His plan was to meet Esau last, by himself after Esau had received all the gifts and hopefully had a change of heart.
As Jacob was busy planning all this, the angel of the Lord came and interrupted his plan. The Bible says that Jacob wrestled the whole night with God. Jacob refused to release Him until he was blessed (Gen 32:24-30). At this point, Jacob has started coming into a realization that only through God would he truly prosper. He needed to lay aside his own plans and start putting God first.
Jacob learned to involve God in his plans on his way back to where God needed him to be. This put him on the path back to restoration.
I learn from this that when I involve God, he will restore me to his original plan for my life. He will direct me on how to live my life, and live it abundantly.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
My prayer today is that I may learn to ask God to reveal to us his plans for my life and that I may let him restore any areas in me that need restoration.
Involving God in our plans allows him to restore us, and helps us to soar higher and higher!
In the next two parts of the story, I found interesting links between how restoration influences prosperity and ultimately plays a role in the fulfillment of God’s grand plan for mankind.
That’s what’s coming next week! Hope you find some time to read it 😊
This post is the first of four that will discuss what I have been learning from the story of Jacob recorded in Genesis. I hope you will find it an enjoyable, thought provoking, and encouraging read. This story reminds me of the goodness of God, and how He works over time, through multiple generations, despite our shortcomings, to bring his promises to pass.
Here goes part 1…
From Abraham to Jacob, three generations later
The story of Jacob in the Bible has a rich legacy. Jacob was a son of Isaac, who was a son of Abraham. According to the Bible, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Abraham was called by God, walked with him, and ultimately through his lineage, the world received Jesus Christ.
God gave several promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7). One of the main promises given to Abraham was that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. To Abraham, Isaac was born. Isaac then had two sons, Jacob and his brother Esau. In Genesis 43, we now find Jacob as an aging man who is now a father of 12 sons and daughters.
Most of us are familiar with this story but indulge me for a minute. In Genesis 43 the scene as it is unfolding through the eyes of Jacob is a difficult one. Jacob thinks his second last born son, Joseph is dead. A great famine is ravaging the land and the only place that has provision is the land of Egypt. His sons have visited Egypt once and had a strange encounter with the ‘Lord of land’ (Gen 42). This ‘Lord’ had accused his sons of being spies, and told them not to return to Egypt without the one brother they left behind to prove that indeed, they were not spies. This one brother left behind, Benjamin was the one remaining son borne to Jacob’s beloved wife, who had died in childbirth (Gen 42:38).
The brokenness: To save one or to save many?
At this point, food is running out for Jacob and his family. His entire household faces imminent death by starvation unless he agrees to release his last-born son, Benjamin, to go and meet the ‘Lord’ of the land of Egypt. Benjamin, his clear favorite, is a source of hope and joy for Jacob, and the Bible tells us that their lives were intertwined (Gen 44:30). I often wonder how I would have reacted if I was the one in Jacob’s shoes, being asked to release the very thing that is so dear to me. How would you have reacted?
Jacob’s reaction was one most of us can relate with. He said:
“You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” (Genesis 42:36).
But was everything really against Jacob?
If we read the rest of the story, we find that in actual fact, all these things that seemed to be working against him, were for him. They were all divinely designed, though not in a way a man could understand, to save him and his family.
Sometimes, in what seems like a season of brokenness, God is setting you up for even greater and better things!
Whether or not our season of brokenness is caused by our own wrongdoing or external factors, God can still use it to bring his plans and purposes to pass.
God never wastes anything thing that happens to his children. What was meant for harm, he can turn around for good. He who began a good work in us, is faithful to complete it.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”
Philippians 1:6, NIV version
Like a stack of blocks, it will all come together one day, like a beautiful, God-designed tapestry. Just hold on and be strong in Christ!
This song reflects my heart’s desire today: That I would learn to truly go to Jesus, for everything big and small. That I would truly learn to trust Jesus, when the darkness before me threatens to overcome me. That I would learn to run to Jesus, when trials and temptations surround me. That I would put Jesus first, when all the things in my life are fighting for my attention.
There is so much power available to us as Christians. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in us through the Holy Spirit, our helper. We see this in the letter that Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, recorded in the book of Ephesians. See a snippet of the same below.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”
God longs to demonstrate his power through us. But it starts with laying down our lives. It starts with putting God first and truly letting Jesus be Lord of our lives. In every area of our lives.
We cannot do it on our own. Only God can help us to truly surrender. That is the beauty of salvation – God shows us what to do, then gives us the ability to do it. He alone shows us what we need to surrender, and how to surrender it. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….”
2 Corinthians 12:9
All he needs is a heart that is willing to surrender. Not a heart that knows how to surrender, just one that is willing to surrender.
When we surrender, He shows us greater things. When we surrender, He demonstrates his love and power through us. When we surrender, He gives us strength for today, and a bright hope for tomorrow.
God is faithful, and nothing gives Him greater joy than to show up mightily on our behalf.
But it starts with surrender. Is there something you need to lay down at the feet of Jesus today? Is there something you need to release and surrender to God? Is the Holy Spirit whispering to you today about that thing saying, “Let it go….leave it….walk away….?”
The power of the Holy Spirit works in us and through us when we surrender to Jesus. There is an overflow of peace, joy, clarity of direction and purpose that comes when we let Christ lead, and the Holy Spirit be our guide. I get excited thinking about the great things that God wants to do for us, and in us. We are his children, and no good thing will he withhold from us!
“…..how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
The first step however, even before we ask, is to surrender. Let’s take a moment today to just surrender. To turn our eyes back to Jesus, so that he can work in us afresh today. That he may reveal his plans and purpose for our lives. That we may receive all the great gifts he has for us. That his power may be stirred up within us.
Here is my prayer for today. For myself and anyone else who needs to surrender.
Lord Jesus, I lay me down at your feet today. I come with a heart willing to surrender all. At your feet is the most high place. May you be honored, may you be glorified and may your power be seen in a mighty way in my life. May your power be seen in the lives of every heart that is surrendered to you. May our lives be filled with great testimonies of how you have come through for us in mighty ways. All for the glory and honor of your name, Jesus.
Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world! The more we run to him, the more we will receive revelations, divine direction, wisdom and power to be all God pre-ordained us to be.
Thank you God for the power and victory we have in Jesus!
I heard some very strange noises outside my window. It was as if someone was violently breaking the earth, shaking the foundation that holds our little apartment.
Naturally, I rushed to the window to see. I live on the third floor, so death through crushed rubble is a very possible reality if something were to happen to our building.
Luckily, nothing was happening to the building. They were just fixing the road. Now this was no patchwork job, they literally broke up the tarmac on the road. All the tarmac was heaped together in the middle of the road, with a bulldozer carrying away the broken tarmac.
You see, our road has been full of potholes for quite some time. Potholes so big that they looked like craters. The local government has continually tried to fix these potholes. The fixes worked, but only for a time. The fixes did not address the real issue, the broken drainage system under the road that allowed water to seep in and destroy the road. Eventually they realized that while it might be costly, fixing the drainage was the only solution to permanently fix the road. And the only way to get to the drainage was to break up the top layer of the road.
“Sometimes what is on top must be broken to fix what is underneath”
Our Christian walk can be like that. From how things appear in the natural, it looks like everything is breaking. A job is lost, a child is ill, loved ones walk away. Difficult things happen and life as we know it changes. But what if, just what if we allowed all these difficult things to stop us, and slow us down, so that God can break through our ordinary lives and draw us closer to him?
Now God does not send suffering our way. He loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. That said, sometimes he allows suffering to come our way. But even then, he stays with us, and remains our comfort and hope.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”
God is looking to restore us from our brokenness. Like that tarmac road, if we allow God to have a look at what’s underneath, the real people that we are when no one is looking, he will restore us. He will heal our brokenness. He will rebuild us from the inside out. He will hear us when we cry and heal our land. We can be the hope and the light that the world needs in these trying times. But God needs to start with us.
“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will heal their land”
2 Chronicles 7:14
I pray that the Lord starts with me.
May the brokenness in me and around me bring me to my knees in humility. And may our father in heaven hear my humble prayer, restore us and heal our land. Will you join me in prayer today?
Have you ever seen real, natural honey dripping? Because it is very thick and viscous, it takes time to move when one is pouring it out. This quality of honey becomes especially pronounced when there is very little left.
Honey teaches me patience. It reminds me that sometimes we have to wait for the good things to manifest in our lives. It does not mean that the good things are not there, they just might not get to us as quickly as we thought they would.
Sometimes it seems like the promises that God has for our lives are on hold. Almost as if they have been lost or forgotten. But this is never the case. God can never forget his promises to us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He plans things out in our lives. Because we live in a fallen world, sometimes things do not go as expected, but trust God. He has you in the palm of his hands.
My Bible reminds me that God knew us, even before we were formed and born. He has good plans for our lives. Plans for good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you….”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That is my comfort when I look at my honey jar. Good things are coming. For weeping may last the whole night long, but joy comes in the morning. His promises are true, sure, and they will come to pass. This is why I know without a doubt, that good things are coming.
God will see us through these difficult COVID times and turn our wailing into dancing. All in his time.
You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth, and clothed me with joy!
We have a reason to smile and dance today. Good things are coming, just wait for it!
If one googles “How to hear God in tough times” a lot of things come up. Some are uplifting, some are a bit strange. It’s difficult to know what is what sometimes.
I’m learning that sometimes it helps to go back to the old school way – cracking open a book. I came across this great book by Kenneth E. Hagin, Following God’s plan for your life that gave me an answer so simply, I couldn’t believe that I had never seen it this way.
It is nothing new or profound, but how he explains it is the difference. As a Christian, we are often taught that we need somebody to explain this whole Christian thing to us. While this is true to some extent, there is a basic truth from the Bible we can hold on to, to help us on our journey towards hearing God in tough times: Hearing from God is possible at all times. Jesus made it possible when he died on the cross for us.
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn. We can now hear God directly, in our own personal quiet times.
Matthew 27:51 says “At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”
What was this moment? This was the moment that Jesus took up our sin and iniquities, and died on the cross for us. In the Old Testament, under the old covenant, only priests could enter the temple and commune directly with God. Everybody else had to work with what God told the priest, and rarely were messages personal.
Under the old covenant, it would have been very difficult to access God directly and hear a specific individual word to get you through a tough time. But thank God for Jesus! In the new covenant that Jesus established by dying on the cross for us, we can now access God directly. He is willing and eagerly waiting to commune with us.
How do I know this? Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us that Jesus provided a direct way for us to draw near to God, through him as our high priest.
…..and so dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus…..
Hebrews 10: 19, New Living Translation
How then do we get to that place where we can hear God in tough times?
This is where Kenneth Hagin’s book gave me a practical, heart moving idea on how to do this:
Start by Praising God. It will still your heart and allow you to hear him.
Jesus left us a helper, the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us, deep within us, but sometimes His voice can be drowned out by the chaos we find ourselves in. I find that this happens a lot to me when I have not been spending enough time just being still before the Lord. Even when our bibles are open in front of us, our minds can be racing in a hundred different directions, not being still to hear the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit.
During such time, divinely inspired praise and worship can help to calm us and bring us to that place of stillness. This can be your favorite psalm from the Bible, or that gospel song that takes you to a better place. Linger in His Presence, loving him and worshipping him for all that he is and all that he has done for you. Sing your song, praise God and see him speak to your heart!
Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Ministering to God in praise and worship helps us to quiet our minds and emotions, and be still before him. God is waiting to speak with us and direct us during our tough times. Will you try praising him to get that breakthrough?