One late at night last week while Felix was away in the province and I was alone in our room, the enemy attacked all of a sudden. It started with labored breathing, then my insides shook like when you feel really cold. But my two layers of blanket couldn’t reach to the core of my body to warm it. The shaking and weakness spread to my legs until they seemed lifeless. The twitching muscles made them limp. I wanted to just curl up and let the strange suffering pass, but I couldn’t do that either. I tried to vomit to relieve me, but the shaking inside continued, from my belly, sides, and up to my abdomen. While sitting up, I raised my hand and prayed and begged God to heal me and relieve me of what I was experiencing, then I cast out the demons of illness that were attacking me. I was becoming scared. I lay back on my pillows, put my Bible under me, turned off the aircon (although the room wasn’t that cold), covered myself with my blankets, then forced myself to lie still in a prone position. My heart was beating fast which was making me feel exhausted. There was nothing more I could do but to wait for the mercy of God.
This kind of suffering, in all of its forms and insidiousness, has been a part of my life these past 13 years. There are times I wanted to wave my fist at it, at the unseen demons lurking in space, and challenge them to battle, but what good would that do? I want to pound the demons of illness and suffering to pieces, if only I could see what I am up against. This suffering, it leaves a bad and bitter taste in my mouth that I want to spew out once and for all. If only spitting it out would do the trick.
(My scary experience that night reenforced my perseverance in casting out demons of sickness and suffering in full faith and power and authority in Jesus’ name and not to grow faint and give in to the devil’s wishes).
That night, after waiting out for the shaking to stop and for my insides to settle and my heart to beat normally, it finally came after more than half an hour or so. My heart gradually returned to its normal beating and I felt my whole body warm up. The feeling was almost heavenly and I was lulled to sleep because of the warmth and exhaustion.
There had been such episodes of warmth and peace before, healing moments I call them, when the relief from suffering felt like I was being lifted up from the bed and rocked gently in the clouds to sleep. I remembered them then before I succumbed to a peaceful slumber.
In the morning when I woke up, I remembered the suffering of the night before. In my mind, I gave form to the subconscious thoughts that have always plagued me these many years of suffering so much.
Does God really love me? If He does, why does He let me suffer so much and this long? Is He always angry at me? Unfavorable? Displeased? Why does He punish me so severely and would not relent?
But even as I entertained these bitter thoughts, wisdom was squeezing itself hard into the forefront of my brain, wanting to be heard.
Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice? (Prov. 8:1)
I listened to wisdom and truth enveloped my whole being.
It is not God who is making me suffer. God isn’t my enemy, the devil is. God, who loves me with an everlasting love, will not do that to me, will not punish me until I am crying out for mercy. He doesn’t take pleasure in inflicting me pain. The devil does.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. (Ps. 103:8)
I took hold of the truth even as it took hold of me. I sat up and raised my hands toward heaven and said,
Father in heaven, in Your name my dearest Lord Jesus Christ. You are a merciful God, compassionate and full of grace. You loved me even when I was a sinner and unworthy of Your love. You cared for me so much You poured out Your love and life on Calvary. You saved me from hell because I matter to You. It is not You who are making me suffer for You are good and faithful to me.
I remember Your grace poured out upon me and I know You love me.
After the storm, the birds come out of hiding to sing. They don’t wave their fists toward heaven and rant why their nests fell to the ground and their young left pitifully as the storm battered and buffeted them. The flowers open up towards the sun slowly emerging out of the parting clouds, greeting the world and their Creator with their radiant faces.
Humans lament and complain.
Grace poured out upon us beyond measure, more than 2000 years ago, even before Calvary. On a holy, chilly night in the hill country.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-14, emphasis added)
good tidings of great joy
goodwill to all men
They all spell G-R-A-C-E.
The spouse, a family member, a friend, or a co-worker hurt you and made you cry because of his/her ill treatment of you? Cry some. Pray big. Fully forgive. Remember grace.
Grace received, grace given away.
Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (see Rom. 5:20).
Grace is the channel through which all God’s blessings flow.
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