In His Time

When I saw their picture together – relief, joy, and the dawning of happiness etched on their faces- I cried. I cried in joy and in a sudden gust of hope and inspiration. That kind of hope and inspiration that breaks through the hard, rock-encrusted trial (at least for me). I rejoiced with them in my spirit, not only because I was really happy for them but because their picture is an embodiment of a dream come true. A prayer answered. I rejoiced because God was showing me there is still beauty, hope, and light in this dim, suffering-laden world.

One of my practice paintings 2 years ago. Notice that I still hadn't learned the technique of shadowing between flowers.

One of my practice paintings 2 years ago. Notice that I still hadn’t learned the technique of shadowing between flowers.

Belle came to work for us in 2004. She is my husband’s cousin. She became part nanny and part caregiver. There was a time when she was bathing me: she was bowed down, concentrating on rubbing my feet with the soapy towel. I felt so touched by the sacrifice that I gently touched her head and said, “Someday, the Lord Jesus will bless you and reward your love and sacrifices.”

Not long afterwards, she found work abroad as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) with better compensation. When she transferred to Hong Kong, she became a choir member in our church’s outreach station there. Later on, after years of working in Hong Kong and serving the Lord faithfully there, she found her lifetime partner. They came home and got married in Belle’s hometown in the province. It was a simple, yet lovely wedding. Belle was a pretty, radiant bride.

Her husband (also a young OFW) returned to his work in New Zealand while Belle stayed in the province waiting for her petition to follow him. It was quite a long separation and there were a few difficulties in processing her papers. She spent the time cooking and selling meals in front of the school. She was also a faithful companion of my newly-widowed beloved mother-in-law. They attended church together regularly.

But at long last, Belle finally flew to New Zealand and be reunited with her husband. The photo I mentioned above was taken when they met each other at the airport: eyes shining, smiles breaking forth across there faces without reserve.

And I cried. I cried for the sheer joy of dreams fulfilled and lived. Of hardships overcome. Of love triumphing. Of perfect health and new beginnings and bright, shining tomorrows. Yes, I cried and rejoiced even if they weren’t my own. There is hope in the world. There is hope for each one of us who loves the Lord to pieces.

In His time.

In His time, He makes dreams come true. In His time, He heals all our diseases and binds up our wounds. In His time, He makes all things beautiful.

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecc. 3:1-8, 11)

So, hold on to your faith, dear ones. Better things and better days are yet to come. Amen and Amen!

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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,