Choosing death over life …

Matthew 7

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Indeed it is rather strange, and somewhat amusing, that many would choose to live to do evil more than good. Perhaps it is due to our sinful nature that we steer our helms towards the path of ‘death’ and finds it difficult to gravitate towards the path of ‘life’, simply because the competing forces from the evil side remains strong and determined to draw us to it. And more often than not, we cave in to their advances.

It has saddened me to hear that a former colleague of mine, has relented to the evil ways to gratify her thirst for power and superiority, and arduous pursuit for revenge. Despite being threatened and betrayed by her trusted aides, she has chosen to remain loyal them to accomplish her mission.

This had me wondering deeply – why do people still suck up to the ones who have betrayed and schemed behind their backs? What are they trying to achieve? Then, it struck me in my head that, she is merely using them to accomplish her mission because they could be of great use to her. And this has proven to me that people would stick to you only when you have your worth and value that they could use to accomplish their selfish goals.

Will this give her eternal glory and sense of accomplishment? No. She will only spiral down further the whirlpool of destruction. As I pondered on this, I became even more burdened to pray for her. Yes, I was angry for I couldn’t understand why she hated me so much when I have not betrayed her once. Yes, we may have had our disagreements and arguments, but never once have I done anything to harm her. Yet, she despises me so … till today. At first, I found it extremely difficult to come to terms with this and didn’t want to pray for her and thought that she would be better off in hell. But then I realized that if I were to continue walking in the light with God, I ought not to harbor such anger and hatred towards her.

As God also said in Matthew 7 …

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

If I were to come to present an offering to God, I first have to abandon this thought of hatred towards my colleague. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. I was tempted at all ends not to. But God’s power rules over all the heavens and the earth and hence, we will rise victorious in our battle with evil.

So I prayed for her and instantly, I felt the peace of God surrounds my aching soul. I pray she will find her way to the ‘light’ one day and not dwell among the evil ones any longer. I pray she will find the peace in her heart to let go of her selfish and foolish pursuit for revenge and self-glorification.

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Lesson on Faith

I have never learned so much about faith until my recent encounter with God’s words in the book of Hebrews. The word ‘Faith’ sounds ambiguous, inconclusive and sometimes confusing before this. I had always thought that once I’ve declared my belief in God, faith comes along with it. But my faith has been tested so much that I’ve begun to doubt its real meaning and effectiveness.

Prayers without faith is like a resounding gong – so says the word in the Bible. My recent understanding about faith has brought about a whole new phase of revelation to me. Hebrews 11:1 writes “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The phrase “assurance about what we do not see” has been misinterpreted by my confused mind as “something that I don’t see now but I will later on” which I associated with the baby that I never saw, but will see one day.

Then I read on and this verse rings a louder chime, taken from Hebrews 11:39-40 which writes “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

I dawned unto me that the prayers that I’ve been praying for may never be answered, but God has a way of giving telling me what I ought to have, which is something even better and greater – and that I realized and finally internalized – eternal life in heaven! So I succumbed to my fate in my faith that I may not be the mother that I hoped to be, but I can definitely be the child that God wants me to be! From that day on, I started placing my hope in the eternal glory which is heavenward and not get too hung up on my worldly desire for a child – which only brings nothing but eternal ruins and damnation!

So, did I give up my dreams of having a child?

I almost did. Hubs and I decided to start focusing on our own happiness – just US! We splurge on ourselves and started enjoying our lives as thought the world only revolves around us and us only – no babies! I even openly declared with utmost confidence that I am never going to have a child and I am going to tour the world and eat till my heart’s content – not worrying about the finances required to bring up a child. God denied my confidence and rekindled his promise which I so happily deserted earlier:

Habakkuk 2:3

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it[a] will certainly come
    and will not delay.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

God’s promises never failed … truly and as-a-matter-of-factly! When I thought all is over for me, he brought up these messages to remind me that He has never forgotten about it. And I know for a fact now that my faith is still working in me, although my flesh denies it. God never disappoints me. I know that one day He will answer my prayers.

Though I remain barren, though I will not know the appointed time, though my patience is wearing thin, though doubts clouded my head … yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior for he is my only strength and he lifts me up when my life takes on an uphill battle which I never thought it possible to win if it wasn’t for him!. Amen and amen! Praise the Lord!

No words …

When it comes to God’s grace, there are certainly no words to describe its magnificence. This time I am certain, confident that God has me in his heart and he has not forgotten his promise to me.

I experienced yet another breakdown during my journey of waiting for God to bless me with a child. But this time, the breakdown did not “break” me. I wish I could safely say that I am more confident, more assured of what is to come. Though my heart still aches, but I am not sorrowful. Though my soul still yearns for God’s promise to be hastened, but I am not impatient. I have learned that what is meant to be, will be what is not, will not be. So I am going to take a step back, breathe and enjoy the life that God has ‘allotted’ to me.

In my recent episode of breakdown, I was almost certain that I will not in any chance have children. But God rebuked that. I was on the brink of brokenness, my soul torn into pieces. My hormone was acting really strange – something that has never happened to me before. I read up about my situation on the Internet and it didn’t sound positive. This is the consequence of relying on my ‘humanly’ wisdom, which what the bible describes as ‘foolishness’. I sent out SOS messages to my best friends, seeking prayers. I was on the verge of losing complete faith in the Lord and hence, believing in his promise was almost an impossible feat for me to accomplish. I told God that I wanted to give up for this wait, this faith is killing me inside. I could not breathe.

It was then a miracle appeared just within a minute after my message was sent out. It was so quick, as though God had intercepted one of my best friends’ network and replied my message on her phone:

When God promises you, please wait. Look at what Abraham did? Sarah suggested to Abraham to make Hagar become part of the household of Abraham. And Hagar, provided a ready accommodation to this temptation. God never approved it. This is a great warning never to look at sin lightly. One sin can make it easier to do another sin. It is far better what God thinks and let God’s Word be final no matter what others [including myself] say or think. Do you want to birth an Ishmael or Isaac?”

Therefore, given the many messages I received from God about Abraham, Sarah and their son Isaac, I can almost be certain that I will have a son who will be called Isaac as well for he was the one that God approved of.

The next day, I received more affirmation after affirmation from God’s words:

2 Corinthians 1:20 – For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Proverbs 4:13Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.

Psalm 37:9,15

All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you … LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God

To God, I give him all praise – Amen and Amen.

What’s in a dream?

Have you ever wondered what your dreams tell you? Have you deciphered your own dreams before, like how Freud conducted dream analyses on human dreams?

I had the most extraordinary dreams for 3 consecutive days. It was as though they were real and they were sending me some messages which I ought to know.  I couldn’t make up the first 2 dreams but hubs managed to help me decipher them. What he said made total sense. In the first night, I dreamed of being trapped in a cave and I was trying hard to send out text messages calling for help. Somehow, I was so distracted in the midst that I couldn’t send even type out the message in full. I remembered erasing the text over and over and it was extremely difficult for me to compose that message, let alone send it out. Then on the second night, I dreamed that I was in the maternity ward with other women who were going on labor. I remembered being the most calm patient without any labor pain while two women in front of me were screaming their lungs out. Then I saw another woman who just gave birth next to me and she was cradling her newborn in her arms. It was the most beautiful sight. Then I looked at my tummy and it wasn’t big – like how a pregnant woman should look like in her 9th month of pregnancy. I asked the nurse and she said it was not time for me to give birth yet. My hub told me that this dream reflects my innermost desire to become pregnant … and so it does!

Then on the third night (which was just last night … could be this morning), I dreamed that I was at the language center and I’ve baked lasagna for my colleagues (which is true because I did bake lasagna last night for dinner and there were leftovers and I’ve decided to bring some for my colleagues). Then I realized that the pasta noodles were too hard and I had to take it back and bake it again. I took a bus home but the bus seemed to be going nowhere. So I alighted at one of the bus stations and someone told me that there wouldn’t be any bus coming this way soon. I panicked as I had a class to teach and I should not be late. I remembered looking at my watch in that dream. It was around 40 minutes past 9 am and I had a class at 10:30 am. And there seemed to be no bus in sight. Then I remembered climbing up a hill which looked like a bus and I sat down on a tree root that protruded above the ground. And then I woke up.

I kinda guessed that this dream tells me that I should not look back in my “ugly” past (represented by the uncooked pasta noodles) and that I ought to strive forward for a better future (going up the hill). Today’s message from God affirmed my hypothesis:

1 Corinthians 5:7 – Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been crucified.

And the response to the message above reads:

Psalm 31:1-5,7-8

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.

 

And finally, the finishing touch to today’s message from God which tells me that I ought not to look back at how I’ve striven to get pregnant – going through treatments and all that – but to look up above for the ultimate and divine solution. For God is the Creator and Maker of life, there is certainly no other:

Proverbs 21:2 – A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Amen and Amen I said ….

Depending on God’s power …

Hubs and I made the hardest decision we’ve ever made in the face of our infertility problem – that is to give up all forms of medication and treatment. It was hard because we have depended on human wisdom to help us all along and while it has been the most tangible source of help, it was never God’s plans for us.

My husband prayed the most meaningful prayer I’ve ever heard – “Lord, we have decided to depend fully on you for we have given up medication”. Full dependence on the Maker is something that a lot of us grapple with. It’s not an easy feat but God has made it very clear that so long as we depend on our own human wisdom and effort, it will be futile. He affirmed this statement through this Scripture which was brought forth to me in the past two days of my QT with him:

 1 Corinthians 2:5 – so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Isaiah 29:14

Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden

Jeremiah 9:24 – But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me

1 Corinthians 2:7,9-10

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[a]

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

 

Proverbs 20:24 – A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How the can anyone understand their own way?

Though these are wondrous revelations that God has shown me, it still pains me to know that I am still childless till this day. Day after day I hear news of birth and pregnancy and they just kept my biological ticking even faster. Each tick sends waves of fear and anxiety through my tired and depressed soul. But at the end of the day, I can’t do much but just call on God day after day, hoping that I could come to terms with reality and to make peace with Him. My cries from the deepest sorrows of my heart were that of the Psalmist. But just like the Psalmist, I too, receive wondrous revelations from the Lord, affirming his love for me. I count myself blessed, truly blessed, in this sense and I could not ask for more.

Psalm 27:7-8,13-14

Hear, O Lordwhen I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 28:1-2,6-7

To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

In my silent prayer, I prayed:

Dear heavenly Father,

You know me. You have made me and you have made me whole. I am perfect in your eyes. You know my every desires and thoughts and struggles. Though I am struggling with childlessness, but I believe you will bless me and hubby someday with a child to love and to bring up in accordance to your teaching, just like how you’ve blessed Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and Rachel. I believe you Lord. I pray Lord, that you have not forgotten about us. We surrender fully to you Lord. Let your face shine on us and your glory be known to all the earth. Amen

I don’t know what to make of it …

It has been a harrowing experience for me and hubs as we kept trying to have a baby naturally without opting for IVF. I was told by a friend who is also a Christian sister that IVF was not for us and much to my disbelief, I obeyed. As tempted as I may be to opt for IVF treatment at times, I believe that God’s ultimate plan of procreation stands supreme. Our endeavor to have a child has taken a toll on my patience and faith that in countless times I have almost given up treatment … and hope. I never thought I would see the day where I would be carrying a bundle of joy in my arms and having a little one falling me “Mummy”. All these seem unimaginable and out of reach. I have prayed every day without fail and I often doubt if God ever heard any of them.

Apparently he has. Though the answers He gave were not the ones I expected, but they actually bring peace in my aching soul. Each time I made the decision to give up altogether, a scripture from the Bible would be prominently displayed before my very eyes telling me how Abraham – to whom God has credited as righteous – has endured the painstaking waiting period before God gave him Isaac. And there was one time, God showed me hope in the most divine moment which I would never forget. I was playing the song “Try Everything” by Shakira (a theme song from Zootopia) on Youtube on my way to the shopping mall when I turned to catch a beautiful glimpse of a patch of rainbow in the midst of the dark rain clouds. I could feel a sense of hope rejuvenating my soul almost instantly and a smile unexpectedly etched on my face. The feeling was blissful! Hope filled my soul once again and my decision to give up on it dissipated, completely out of trace.

Then came another month and I was nowhere near the “double lines”. Of course, the thought of giving up, filled my mind again. But I wasn’t as dejected as I was before and I don’t know what to make of this. Do I still have a tinge of hope left in me? Do I hold on to the promise God has given me? Or do I simply feel indifferent, completely numb to all these?

Then God intervened. When my jar of hope and faith was almost empty, he filled it up again with these verse from the Scripture:

Romans 4:18-22

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offsprings be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 

As I read this passage to me the second time today (when I copied it into my post), I came to realize so deeply that:

  1. God does not want a weakened faith. Abraham did not weaken his faith although he was facing the fact that both his and his wife’s Sarah’s body were as good as dead.
  2. God does not want a wavering belief or faith. Abraham did not waver in his belief that God can and will do anything that He had promised.
  3. God wants me to continue bearing hope and giving him all glory and honor and praise for only by having a heart of praise and thanksgiving, I could continue to stand tall in his righteousness and live a life of total dependence on his faith, trust and love.

When I thought I do not know what to make of all these – the tiring process of trying, getting disappointed, trying again, feeling hopeless, then trying again. Needless to say, I am almost worn out. But God has not failed to strengthen me time after time and I could feel his presence surrounding me in my hopelessness and weariness. I am lost with words to describe my current disposition. Am I glad? Not sure. Blessed? Yes, definitely. Hopeful? Maybe not in a profound way right now. Prayers and prayers through and through.

God never fails to amaze me …

3 nights ago,  I suffered another meltdown. I woke up in the middle of my sleep and started crying. I wasn’t really sound asleep as my mind leaped back and forth, being active during that night. Because of that, I suddenly went into the thoughts of how “unblessed” I am compared to my friends. I kept thinking why is it that my friends, some enemies, tend to have better lives than mine. They have a career and kids and I am quite the opposite.

As I questioned God about my life, I broke down into tears. Hubs whom I thought was sound asleep, heard my cries and woke up to wipe away my tears. He did not ask any questions for he knew why I was crying. I was crying because I am still without a child since my miscarriage almost 2 years ago. I cried because I felt life’s really unfair for me. Why was it that I have to suffer so much watching others living a life that is so ideal I wish it was my life too. I sound like I am coveting my friends’ lives  … perhaps I am.

It has been a tough journey, juggling between wanting to follow God’s ways that is suffering, and wanting a life that ideally belongs to the world – kids, career, etc. I am tired, I really am. This journey has been exhausting my strength, energy and even faith. I feel guilty because I am tempted to give up on God. He’s been taking his time in blessing me. What does He mean by his perfect timing and plan? I really don’t know and I really wish I do. Have I done anything so sinful in His sight that he has to banish me to suffering just like how he banished Saul for not following His commands in 2 Samuel?

I am tempted to give up fighting for my faith.

But God never fails to amaze me. When I was losing hope and as my faith dwindles, God revealed himself to me through His word the next morning:

John 16:20,22-24,33

v.20: Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

v.22-24:

22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

v.33: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Proverbs 16:4

The Lord works out everything to its proper end—
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Then He taught me how to pray and this verses were exactly what I wanted to pray but I was lost at words. God helped me to put them into my heart as I was trying to reach out to Him:

Psalm 119:76-77

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.

I very much want to shout ALL GLORY GOES TO HIM but my heart remains pretty hardened. I am still coming to terms with my present disposition. I am still trying to be at peace with the journey and plan that God has ordained for me. His word is truly a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I wish I could follow it wholeheartedly.

Proverbs 16:9 – In their hearts humans plan their course, bu the LORD establishes their steps.

Today, God revealed yet another revelation to me taken from 2 Samuel 14:14 that God does not intend to banish anyone for good for that is not what He desires. That in itself has given me hope that God still loves me. He reprimanded David for sinning by committing adultery with Bathsheba and killed their child. But in his grace, He has granted David another child with Bathsheba. He has punished the Israelites from straying off their paths, but time after time, He forgave them and provided for them. Truly, He is a loving God. His love gives us hope that there is no eternal darkness in this world, but eternal hope that He provides through His Son Jesus Christ for all who believe.

I thank God for his divine intervention that has saved me from stumbling. Truly all praises go to Him. Amen.