Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? (Hebrews 12:7 NIV)
Hebrews 12:7 in the NIV struck me and comforted me at the same time this morning. I always figured the verse spoke of God disciplining us into maturity through sufferings but this morning the words “endure hardship as discipline” meant a whole lot more. It spoke to me about an attitude we take more than it did about the fact that God disciplines.
An attitude of knowing that God can take our sufferings to purify & mould us is a comforting truth. Learning to endure hardships as discipline isn’t easy but we can start by putting on new attitudes. The Bible tells us we are new creations in Christ and that often means we consciously have to put on new attitudes and views to be new creations and the only way to do that is to apply what God shows us in His Word.
I struggle to put on my new self these days especially with all the pain I have to endure due to a deep betrayal which has cost me to lose many things that are precious to me. Thankfully we do not have to go about this change alone as God has promised us help through the Spirit. Even though we may fail, we can always pick ourselves up with His help. I do want to note that our failures may have bad consequences (sometimes irreversible) and we cannot be presumptuous in thinking that our choices don’t matter. The great comfort I have is that His door is always open to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him if we choose to seek Him out. Amen.
It’s been a rough two weeks and the question of where God is in the midst of all this has cropped up a lot more these few weeks. Hearing my mom ask the question of why did God allow this to happen has fired up the same question in me. It’s tough to see mom in a lot of pain and it’s tougher still to have some of these questions running through my head & heart whilst having to assure mom of God’s Presence.
Despite the questioning I have a number of things that I can give thanks to Him for even though things have been rough:
I’m thankful that mom wasn’t hurt that bad. From what my dad has told me about her fall I’m thankful that she didn’t suffer anything far worse. It’s already bad enough to have to suffer through a closed-fracture but in the bigger picture I believe God watched over mom and protected her.
I’m thankful that the doctors were able to prescribe a painkiller that was safe for mom to use.
I’m thankful for all the people in my church and my subzone who rallied around me & my family. A few of us from my subzone met up on Thursday night to pray for my mom and other family members of the leadership who were going through struggles in the area of health.
I’m thankful that the orthopedic doctors were able to look at mom’s arm to confirm that it was set properly.
I’m thankful for answered prayer cos’ my mom’s creatinine levels are back to normal and also my subzone member Tau Fei’s mom’s blood pressure went down to normal too as a result of Thursday’s prayer meet. Tau Fei’s mom is scheduled for a knee operation on the 3rd of September so do pray for her.
I suppose the way I’ve been dealing with these questions is to replace the questioning with thanksgiving. The question of why in suffering doesn’t have a simple answer. Some say it’s just the fallen nature of the world we live in and I’ve learnt more & more that there is truth in that. I still pray a whole lot to God and I talk to Him daily about stuff and somehow having Him listen helps me get through the tougher moments in life. Many times we try to shape God in our image and expect many things of Him that isn’t really Him. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ravi Zacharias lately and it hit me very hard that instead of making the truth relevant to us; we are actually supposed to learn how to make ourselves relevant to the truth instead. That was quite a revelation and I realise that we all have misconceptions of God because we’ve not been taught well or more likely we form an image of God based on our own ideas & experiences in life.
I’m thankful that the question why bothers me far less now. Why? Because the why of my life has already been answered. Why am I here? To live a life in worship & communion with the Father and through that relationship I am to share His love with others. It doesn’t mean I don’t question the whys of suffering… but it does mean that I am learning how to get through dark & painful times knowing that there is always hope in God. It is that hope that helps us to continue to be encouragers and to be positive even though our world may be falling apart. A life of dependence on God is not weakness. It is strength.
And that’s exactly what it’s all about. We fight so much and so hard sometimes that we forget Jesus’ call to us is to just surrender and to take up His yoke which is a whole lot lighter than the yoke of the world.
I had a pretty long day today, was up at around 7:30am and spent the better part of the day in church at a leaders planning from 9:00am all the way till 2:00pm. Then I caught Lions for Lambs with my brother, his cell leader Jac & her boyfriend Alvin. But the kicker came in the evening when I hung out with some of my old Varsity Christian Fellowship mates in UM and wow … almost everyone of them have kids & are MARRIED!
Some of my old PKV mates (GOODNESS! I AM FAT!)
I’m really happy for everyone but they made me realise that my life is heading down a very different path. I too want a family and kids but I can’t have both. Not at the moment. WIth every challenge that I face building Four Forty Records it’s gonna be difficult to raise a family much less take care of a wife whom I wanna love with all my heart. No sacrifice … no victory.
A testimony I heard from one of the leaders in my zone (thank you for your honesty Uncle Beng Keat) made me realise this. We all wanna achieve something, do something in life but not many of us are prepared to pay the price. In Christianity one of the things we believe in is that all of us share the sufferings of Christ. I figure I’m sharing in a part of it right now – going through a huge career challenge, being rejected by the very person I loved with all my heart, etc and we feel like quitting or gripe/complain about it.
The part of me that is still somewhat strong says … “BITE THE DAMN BULLET! STICK WITH IT!” and there’s the part of me that is so emotionally scared that goes “I FEEL LIKE I’M DYING…”. Ha ha! I should just listen to the strong voice and stick with it. So what if she doesn’t love me back. I know I have done all I can to love her and prove to her that I love her and I wanna grow as a person. And that should be enough … it’s her choice at the end of the day. And we all have the gift of choice so it’s her right.
This is my road to walk … WALK IT THEN! And stop complaining about how darn tired I am and emotionally drained my inner being is. Just walk the line! No need to charge into battle but just walk the path and take my time to do it.
I’ve been super silent these past few weeks cos’ I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I was in Cambodia and that was followed up by a recent trip to Singapore for Eagles Leadership Conference where I was thoroughly inspired by all that I heard there. In case some of you don’t know who Joni Eareckson-Tada is here’s a link to her website. I’ve been very touched by her sharing of her life to all those who attended the conference.
I have had the privilege of listening to her 3 times in the past few days and I look into my heart and I realise that the disabilities I have are far worse than Joni’s quadriplegia. The one thing that strikes me most is the pure joy that emanates from her and I shared with Juwita that I’ll miss hearing that. I am more disabled than Joni in her wheelchair. I am bound and trapped by my own selfishness, self-centredness and by self-pity. I’m not being who God wants me to be and I’m thankful that He shows me right now in this time of my life.
I have had to make hard choices in this past month especially. I have to let go of someone who has become very close to me and to trust God to bring her back to me if it’s within His plan but more importantly I have to right now work on things in my own life that I’ve struggled with immensely all this while. I want to lean on God in my weaknesses and come out of this strong and totally dependent on Him. I understand now that the pang of loneliness in my heart is one that is crying out for God. Even though I’ve known Him for almost all my life I have yet to totally give my life over to Him. I’m just as stubborn in having my own way as any other person. To be fair to myself I have grown a lot and learnt how to give up things to Him but I guess being human it takes us such a long time to really learn how to trust God completely with our lives. A very good friend of mine once said to me that the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we tend to wander of God’s altar. How true that is. How true.
I’ve got a few pix to post on my recent trip to Singapore. I’ll drop a link to them later tonight once I’ve uploaded the pix. Right now I just wanna close by thanking God for Joni Eareckson-Tada and the inspiration that she is to so many; that she allows God to use her and in her humility to not let her suffering become a crutch but rather a strength that gives God complete glory. I was just telling my business partner Juwita that I’ll miss hearing her voice because it has become so familiar all throughout the conference. There is such joy that emanates from her and I thank God for someone like Joni who can rejoice because of her suffering.
That’s all from me. Keep an eye out for my pix soon. I’ve gotta get em’ off my phone and upload em’ in a bit.