All That We Ever Need

I feel that there is a need to focus fully on the Lord Jesus and exult Him in every circumstance, especially now that there is a potential for me to hurt all over, emotionally and bodily. I guess grief is capable of doing that. But I can’t afford to allow it. I’m already ailing and weak as it is, so, like a little child, I trail my Shepherd close behind, holding on to His coat and will not let go. Imagine a child at night who is afraid of the dark and clings to her mama’s skirt? That’s me now.

This was a painting from last year, illustration of the first part of Psalm 23.

This was a painting from last year, illustration of the first part of Psalm 23.

But I don’t want to just feel afraid and weak, I want to lift up the Lord Jesus in my life. I’m believing there is power that emanates from doing that. And so in this post, I will endeavor to do just that.

Sometimes, unawares, we choose between the Lord Jesus and the things of this world (our work, hobbies, chores, leisures, passions, and even obsessions). We may do it in a day or a string of days. We are unaware in that, we don’t really consciously choose to not pursue the things of God, but we somehow know deep inside that we have neglected the Lord and our time with Him. Sometimes, it could be that we spend more time with other things than with Him. It’s being back to Mary and Martha all over again. Whose heart do we carry in our bosom?

There really is a struggle. We are pulled on two opposite directions at once: God or things of this world. We cannot just pray for a more intimate relationship with the Savior then go ahead and pursue other things. We have to intentionally draw near to Him, with everything in us, not a body without the mind and heart.

There are two ways that I approach God, both not on my own volition alone, but I believe, always by the Holy Spirit of God. For the Lord says —

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

One is when I am driven by a great need (and admittedly, in great panic also). I fling my arms toward heaven without a care and present my supplications to God with much beseeching and tears. These are prayers that I repeat over and over until the peace of God descends and settles in my heart. (I know I’m guilty of redundancy of synonyms, but I still want to share the meaning of “supplication” below. Sometimes, we know the meaning of a word but not how meaningful it is).

supplication: the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.

In the first approach, I imagine myself like a typhoon coming to God, storming heaven with my panicked, urgent prayers. I thank God that by His Spirit, He is always the first One I run to. Even when the crisis is a hurting heart, when a good friend would have been a perfect person to turn to and confide in, I always choose to run to my Lord Jesus and talk with Him. Who could be a better friend than He is? He is my bestest friend.

The other approach is like gentle waves lapping against a placid shore. I come to the Lord Jesus with a calm heart overflowing with gratitude and love. I turn to my side and ready myself to commune with my Everlasting Love. Sometimes, I am a little child in His lap; at other times, His Bride, His Beloved. I love these times with my Lord. I reach out for my gratitude journal, then my prayer journal. During these precious times, I like to write down my prayers. It feels like there is a special intimacy when I do, like I am keeping our conversations within the pages and when I close my journal, my words of praise and petition are sealed.

It is only now that the magnitude and fullness of God’s providence [divine guidance and care] is slowly sinking in. God wants to be our all in all, that’s why He has assumed many roles from the foundation of the world. Creator, Life Giver, Provider, Healer, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Everlasting Father, Counsellor, Comforter, Prince of Peace, Good Shepherd, Immanuel [He is always with us], King of kings [sovereign]. He wants to be our Husband, Bridegroom, Friend. Even His name He has not withheld, for His name is a strong tower. He is all wisdom. He has it all planned out. He has it all covered from A to Z. He is Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. He sees throughout eternity!

And yet we fear. We panic. We go astray. We turn to other gods, vain things. Broken cisterns. And turn away from the Fountain of Living Waters. We experience a whole plethora of unprofitable emotions and submit ourselves to weak and beggarly elements.

God wants to be God to us, but most often, we don’t let Him. We doubt, we become faithless. We doubt His love, His trustworthiness, His goodness. But He is ALL that! He is Love. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. AND He wants to be all THAT to us.

So, let Him love us, provide for us, heal us, give us peace, make us strong, make us righteous. Let Him delight in us by our love and obedience. Let Him be honored by our faith and trust and hope. Let Him perform miracles by our not doubting. Let Him be God to us and ALL the blessings and goodness that come with that name. Let Him be big [heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool – that.is.big!], almighty, all-powerful.

In Him we are complete. Whole.

Psalm 23 says it all.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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Better Than Life

Chapter 11 of my ebook The Wrestlings Along the Narrow Path discusses God’s love, how we are secure knowing that His love never fails and endures forever. Today, I want to talk about God’s love which is better than life.

(image from Google)

Have you tried pondering on the words of Psalm 63: 3?

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

How that God’s love is better than life itself?

We all love life. We do our best to hold onto it, spending thousands, even millions (for those who can afford), to find cure or treatment to diseases that threaten to destroy it. We find ways to live life to the full, working really hard to bring fulfilment to our dreams. We love life and all the pleasures it brings. But sometimes, it doesn’t stay that way. Sometimes, life brings us trials that are hard to endure.

And then there are people who, though they seem to have everything in life – health and wealth – still find themselves hauling an unexplained emptiness.

One morning, I woke up with a heavy heart. Something happened the night before that had wounded my heart, and though I had cried and prayed, when I woke up the next day, I still felt restless and — empty and quite lost. I prayed again, thinking about the good things that awaited me that day, things I would love to do. But the inspiration and joy that I had always trusted to come every morning weren’t there.

It dawned on me that no matter how exciting one’s plans are, if problems and sorrow try to embrace your being, life just seems to fade into the background. Like it’s not what you really want. What could be better than wanting life and choosing life and embracing life?

I had found it that day: God’s love. If you cannot experience God’s love, if it seems to you that, unless you catch it and take a good grasp of it, life is meaningless. Yes.

Though we know God’s love is constant, it doesn’t change, it doesn’t vary in intensity and magnitude – our experience of it does. Sometimes, we unconsciously go far from it. We immerse ourselves to temporary, fleeting pleasures that we had forgotten the love that never fails.

To experience God’s love we need to stay in its embrace 24/7. We need to be constantly entering into it by entering into God’s presence. It is only when we diligently seek God’s face and bask in His holy presence that we experience the uninterruptible flow of His divine love. And it is this that we carry through the day as we go about our business and chores.

It is God’s love that gives life to our lives. Yes, even when life itself might be fading away. The experiencing of God’s love takes away the misery in life.

This is what walking through the shadow of the valley of death does to a Christ-follower: it catapults him or her straight to His love. In late-2004, in one of those episodes where I was struggling between life and death, all I wanted to know and feel and trust was the Lord Jesus’ love. I prayed over and over in between hardships, “Dearest Lord Jesus, I just want to know You are here with me now. I just want to feel You, Your love, and that will suffice.” To know and feel His love that encompasses all – His mercy, salvation, healing, comfort – is the best thing that could ever happen to a human being.

I had found that, no matter how hard life on earth is, the love of God that’s in the Lord Jesus Christ makes everything bearable, lighter, comforting. It makes joy and peace to triumph. 

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Journey with Jesus,