Wrestling Against Discontent

I stared long and hard at the scene before me. It was transforming me – the singing of the selected Finest Choir with the distinct voice of beloved Leah above it all, high and intense like an angel’s (not that I have heard angels sing but I know it must be heavenly!); beloved preachers, prayer warriors and faithful brethren washing each other’s feet. They stooped low, willing to serve. They rolled up the sleeves of their white polos or Barong Tagalog, carefully removed shoes and socks and set them aside. And the brother began to wash the other’s feet. Solemnly, he poured out water from a dipper and rubbed. Almost reverently, he gently wiped them dry.  Each one did it like it was the most important job in the world.

(image from Google)

Something tugged at my heart. The scene was revealing the dark shadows in my heart like a focused powerful laser beam and it was becoming to me as clear as noonday: Why had I, for a while, forgotten this, this pure teaching of the Lord?

All the Lord Jesus’ teachings are pure, the exact opposite of this fallen, broken, rebellious world. He has always been pure – His intentions, desires, purposes. The purest love.

As I looked and listened, the Lord was working on my heart (he’s been at it for the longest time; I’m grateful for His patience). Have I attained this pure love, desiring only to follow Him and getting down on my knees and start washing, rubbing feet? Serving Him and others?

I knew I had not. Only minutes before the “washing of feet”, I was feeling sulky. My mind couldn’t untangle itself from the thought that we were the only family who couldn’t go away – to vacations near and far. Thoughts of the beach, the golden sand glinting under the sun’s gaze squeezed itself into my mind. It would be great if we could bring the kids to the beach this summer. Tim has not seen one. I couldn’t pull out my heart and mind from these desires like they were all-important matters. And I sat, bordering on bitterness and doing my best not to slide to real resentment.

A few days ago, Hannah announced, “Mom, Sary (her BFF) told me she thinks we can’t spend time together this summer. After Holy Week, they’re going to Batangas. The week after that, Tagaytay. After that, off to Singapore.”

I had kept silent. I was already beginning to wrestle against discontent.

And then this. The tears began to fall.

The Lord Jesus has always been in the business of making us pure, worthy for the kingdom:

11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Mat. 23:11)

39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Mat. 10:39)

To be great we must serve. To be exalted we must humble down. To find life we must lose it.

The world says “Take”; He says “Give”. The world says, “You are entitled to it”; He says, “Let go”. The world says, “You don’t deserve to suffer, enjoy life!” He says, “Be patient in trials; your rewards await you in heaven.”

His heart has always been pure while mine has always resisted. So I wept. I wept in remorse. Just a few days ago, bitter tears were slipping down my face for an entirely different reason. I was enumerating to my husband my painful observations. “The strong and healthy, wealthy and happy are always that. They remain like that. All year round you see them traveling, enjoying with the family. It is always good news about them. But you ask a Christ-follower and expect that He could still be in diverse kinds of trials. He’s never really free from them.”

I continued, “I read from my book that the greater the suffering, the greater the anointing, and the greater the anointing, the greater the suffering. That’s great to hear and I felt the burden somewhat lightened up, but I don’t think I like it entirely.” I always thought I was not cut out for that kind of life.

While I had let my heart wander farther away, unconsciously subscribing to the world, desiring to chase after temporary pleasures, the Lord’s words came and pierced through me like a spear:

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (Mat. 13:14) 

It is following without looking back. It is sacrificing without counting the cost. It is bending low without complaining. It is losing the life we had dreamed and planned to find one that lasts forever.

There might be a part two of this. I hope you’ll stay with me :).

For those who are new on this blog and are wondering why our family can’t travel, you may read my story here. I’m still waiting to be able to travel beyond 10km.

Related post: The Need to Step Back

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Christina says:

    Hello Rina, glad to chance upon a fellow Filipina’s site. Your words are very touching and I have no doubt that God’s call for you is so much greater than what you have experienced in your career. He is truly allowing you to experience much detachment now probably so that you can have room for more of what He desires to give you. Unlike you I am so happy when travel plans don’t push through ’cause I just love staying home and resting but my schedule is so packed with suitcases and airplanes 😉 I wish you well though, that by His stripes your healing will come more and more everyday. Blessings! P.S. I was very ill once and got to learn a lot via http://www.curezone.com hope it helps you too.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Nice “meeting” you here, Christina. I haven’t been able to travel for years (if outside Luzon, 10 years) due to my illness. Sometimes, I can’t help my human nature to crave to be able to see the outside, even just a picnic at the beach perhaps.

      By the way, are you by any means related to Patsy Paterno? I have a feeling you are :). Patsy has become my good friend through blogging and her art which I patronize. I have bought 4 of her artworks: 2 from her gallery, and 2 commissioned works.

      Thank you for your prayers for me!

  2. Hazel Moon says:

    Thank you for sharing your story at “Tell Me a Story.” Jesus humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples. We may not literally wash someones feet, but we can serve in other ways.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, it is a symbol of humbling down and giving oneself to the service of others. There is a sacrifice involved. Some may do it willingly. Some may do it with grumbling.

  3. Sweetheart, thank you for sharing this. Such a timely and sweet reminder of who we are before our mighty God — we are to be His maidservants; willing for our lives to be poured out as a drink offering upon His altar! Thank you for linking this up. I know others will be blessed!

    • RinaPeru says:

      His maidservants … This is beautiful, Kate. I will take that and hold it close to my bosom lest I forget.

  4. Laura says:

    “The world says “Take”; He says “Give””.

    Isn’t this our message? And He gave so much. We are weak, imperfect vessels but when we meditate on what He has given it changes so much. Blessings to you, Rina.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Amen, Laura. Indeed, He has given us so much that just the remembrance and appreciation of it humbles us and compels us to follow His example – all praises to Him! Blessings to you, too!

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