No. It is not yet my birthday. I will not be turning 29 until after 15 more weeks. It seems though, that God has opened for me an advanced birthday present. After almost 29 years on Earth, I finally found a stairway leading to the clouds. My plans and material dreams have not yet been fulfilled and yet I feel like I found something worth trading all my ambitions for. (You must be thinking, ‘Oh isn’t that what we experience when we get born again?’ Well, indeed yes. So I think that that is what just happened to me. I met Jesus.)
Big Dreams. Big Disappointments.
Like many of you, I have big dreams. One Scripture I took very seriously was, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) So every time God would ask me what I want, I always made sure it was the impossible. But how many of you, after asking for crazy things, soon found yourself asking, “God, should I lower my expectations? Am I dreaming too big?” Well, it certainly was a tempting script but then it simply does not go in line with what the Word of God says. There has to be a way to reconcile ‘reality’ with ‘promise.’ There has to be something I’m missing!!!
God will always uphold and defend His Word. Ever doubted? Guilty as well. But if we listen closely, there is definitely ALWAYS a promise being whispered behind our ears. The question is, are we willing to press on?
August last year (my 28th birthday), I reached a point in my life where everything just crashed on me. I had hoped hard and long. I held on so tight only to find myself exhausted and yet no miracle had come. I ran to Cebu on my birthday. I thought I’d try to spend more time with God but guess what, all I could muster were tears. I couldn’t even read 3 verses from the Bible straight. I was so repelled by God’s Word that I didn’t read it for a few days even if I had all the opportunity.
Shoved Back to Manila
I return to Manila still frustrated. But the mysterious thing was I didn’t even know it until my Pastor prayed for me. God brought me face to face with my disappointments and frustrations. I wanted to be angry with God but couldn’t. He’s my Savior, I’d be damned without Him. But it felt like He failed me so terribly and I couldn’t find any way out of hopelessness. I was stuck. No answer to my prayers and yet no god to blame. How frustrating could life get???
Back to Basics
Somehow I knew that if I were to survive and win this war, it will be through the Word of God. So I literally forced myself to read His Word. It was a painful time. I literally would question God’s Word at the back of my head while I was reading it. I had moments when I wanted to answer back, “Oh yeah?” while I was reading the Bible. It was terrible but I hoped strongly that it will all go if I would press on.
In short, I read the Bible until my mind and emotions learned to submit. I hated my anger. I read His Word like bitter medicine. And sooner than later, I was set free from my anger and doubts.
It was a miracle. I was saved by a the holy book.
Encounters with the Word
Then came a desire to read more. I’ve had it before but this time I had more sense of urgency and resolve. I started to have overwhelming encounters with His presence while reading His Word. He had spoken powerfully to me before. But this time, every time I read chunks of the Bible, I would break into tears at some point even if at times I did not really understand what I was reading. It watered my spirit and soul.
The God Who Wants More
Little did I know that God wanted more of me. I thought I was pouring myself out already but in December, when I met some young men and women who had such a passion for the Word of God, I felt a holy envy and I knew I had to change the inconsistency in my routine. It took some time before I finally found the discipline to do so. But it was the months of March and April 2010 that sent me soaring all the way to where God wanted me to be. God had orchestrated eight weeks of divine appointments and by the end of those eight weeks, I found myself RUINED like never before in my whole life.
I would liken it to a teenager who just found out that he or she was adopted when all along he/she thought that he/she was her parent’s real child. Or like Neo in Matrix when he found out that the world he lives in is not the real world! For the first time, I think my eyes have been opened to see truth.
But God had to take me to a series of Set-Ups. It started on March 6.
To be continued.