Happy Holidays everyone! It’s the last day of the year. I missed posting the usual Christmas Wishlist. Didn’t feel like asking for too much this year. Instead, I want to give praise and thanks to God for everything that He has blessed me with, especially in the past year. Not that I got everything that I want (there are still so many things I desire and pray for). But I don’t want to appear ungrateful in the midst of His blessings, sustenance and tender mercies in my life.
I don’t let on much in this blog about things happening in my life. Too personal, and even I haven’t figured things out as they were unfolding. Going through my private journal, my entries there were fragmented, incoherent and long-winded. I vacillated between petitions, to uncertainty and questioning, and then prayers again. This is my attempt at making a cohesive piece out of those broken thoughts and experiences.
I think I did mention a couple of times how tired I was last year. I realized—belatedly—that it was because I was apart from God. I worked hard and was too busy to pray. I was tired, anxious and sick. Hence, my one word for this year was “Health.” And among other things filed under it, I resolved to have a healthy spirit: to start my day with prayer and jumpstart my Bible reading. I counted my blessings and kept a gratitude journal. I re-connected with fellow believers and journaled (not blogged) about my reflections.
For a while it was good. I felt rested and refreshed. But it turned out to be ningas cogon, and sometime in the middle of the year, I began to backslide. I got too lazy to devote even a few minutes to meditating on God’s word. Or if I did read my Bible, it was just to tick it off my to-do list. I got sucked into mindless Internet surfing to while away boredom, resurrecting feelings of anxiety, and causing me to wake up late that I had to rush through the mornings. My prayers became quick and automatic. I continued to be “blessed” however. Was able to work and rest in between, even go out of town a few times. I was comfortable. Perhaps too comfortable for my own good.
Then Elmo got sick. And while it turned out alright in the end, I was frantic at that time, not knowing what those red spots were. I
had (still) have a lymphoma scare, and was afraid to lose him. And that was when I started to pray. Again. Real hard. And it was difficult. Because I felt ashamed about asking God for favor, when I haven’t exactly been a good girl. I didn’t doubt that He could deliver, I’m just not sure if He would—if it was in line with His will. I believe that He is all-powerful. But I *forgot* that He is also all-loving. That while He is the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty God, He is also our Heavenly Father.
I struggled with that truth for weeks. I prayed and meditated on His Word. Sometimes, I felt comforted. Most times, I felt empty and doubtful. And I don’t know which was scarier, that I would lose Elmo, or lose my Faith. It’s so easy to praise God and give thanks when one is comfortable. But so difficult to pray in times of distress, unsure if your prayers are effective, if you are righteous, if you have unconfessed sin, if it is in line with His will. So many “ifs”. So many conditions *I* have set and burdened myself with.
During one Church service, I listened to this girl N share her testimony about Jesus appearing to her in a dream. This is not the first time I’ve heard Christians testify about God speaking to them, or Jesus appearing in their dreams. And deep inside, I wish I could have that experience too. I prayed to God that night, and asked Him to give me a “sign”, if He could speak to me in a dream, and assure me that everything will be alright. I slept a fitful sleep and woke up in the middle of the night, restless, dreamless, sign-less, hopeless. 😦 Reached for my Bible and picked up where I left off from my Bible reading. It was Deuteronomy–not exactly the most encouraging book in the Bible. If anything, it was scary because it was about the Israelites’ stay in the wilderness where they mostly complained and God punished them for their unbelief.
I came upon this verse, from Deuteronomy 7:19: “You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.”
IDK, but I felt comforted reading that verse. Maybe I was indeed desperate, I would cling to any word that can offer hope and encouragement. But I was devouring Psalms like crazy, quoting heavily from King David’s prayers and pleadings, but didn’t feel comforted. Deuteronomy was the last place I expected to find the hope I was looking for.
But I did find comfort, and was finally able to sleep. All I needed was to “Remember.” And so on this last day of 2017, I will remember God’s faithfulness in my life. I have seen and experienced His goodness. And I can expect more from Him, my Father. Not because I am a good girl. Not because I am a righteous person. Not because I have prayed hard enough, nor have fully read and understood the Bible. Not by my own efforts. But because He is an all-loving and merciful Father. He has promised, and He is faithful.