Psalm 42: 5-11
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(From In Touch Online Devotional)
February 27, 2009
Living in God’s Grace
When I visited the West Coast, I had the opportunity to do some photography at a spectacular beach. From 75 feet above, I watched huge waves roll in and crash on the rocks below, twisting and breaking, spraying foam into the air.
While observing this magnificent display, I realized that our lives are very much like those rocks when we’re living in God’s grace. This world can throw some mighty fierce waves our way, but no hardship is greater than God’s provision for enduring it: Jesus’ Spirit lives within each believer. By cooperating with His Holy Spirit, we can allow Christ’s life to be released into our circumstance.
Nothing can move Christians out of the Lord’s grace. His power dwells in us, ready and available. When we live in fellowship with our Father and rely upon Him, we can become like rocks, standing firm against the onslaughts of life.
God has granted us everything we need to endure triumphantly, no matter how intense the pain may be. Our peace and joy originate not in the circumstances of life but in our relationship with Christ. That’s why we can experience contentment even when a tidal surge slams against us.
What situation is crashing upon you–relational problems, health issues, financial struggles? God wants you to live in His grace, rely on His strength, and place your hope in Him. If you were capable of handling everything that came your way, how would others ever realize that His strength is what makes you strong?
these past few weeks have seen me disturbed and downcast. depression and worry were triggered by financial stuggles as mike was (and continues to be…but not for long, i believe! praise God he has two job inteviews lined up next week) in limbo between jobs, and housing concerns (gusto na namin magsarili but don’t have the resources to do so). i questioned my self worth, capabilities and past career decisions and future (will i land into a good job after the bar? will i get into my desired career/specialization?), as i fretted about not getting any letter from law firms because i am not part of the top 30 of our batch (apparently, the top law firms are not impressed with students who are merely part of the top 33.333-50% of a graduating class and do not seem to care about an individual’s past work/organizational experiences. haha. bitter. pero tama na nga ito). today, was the worst, as i thought of myself as incompetent because of the turn of events in the OLA case i have been working on the most this semester.
the past weeks have been a roller coaster. the depression came and went. each time it would strike, i would turn to the Lord. and i praise God for speaking through the messages in the midweek services and in His daily word for me.
last wednesday, after the message, and during dinner at tokyu, i realized that even though mike and i were asking the question "when?" (when will our finances improve? when will we get good jobs and have fulfilling careers?), we were still blessed. we were blessed with each other, and for the many simple moments and dinners that we enjoyed with each other. certainly, those moments and our love for each other are incapable of pecuniary estimation.
yesterday, i talked to "ninang" ma’m daway, who listened to me and encouraged me with Scripture; this afternoon, i sought my mom’s counsel (thank God my mom was in town this afternoon!). after talking to my mom, God made me realize that i needed to make a choice: to trust Him, and to not limit Him. and so i did, instead of continuing to be distraught with myself. as i decided to refuse to dwell in that defeatest attitude and instead maintain a positive outlook, paradigms began to change. after all, as my mom told me this afternoon, it’s all about perspective.
early this evening, after a couple of hours more (actually a day) of waiting for my supervising lawyer, i was able to consult with her. i realized that my "dilemma" wasn’t that big nor hopeless as i thought it was, and neither was i incompetent or negligent, as i exercised every effort naman to uphold my client’s rights.
so what if i am prohibited from filing a reply to the defendant’s answer in my client’s case for damages, which was governed by the rules on summary procedure? it’s not hopeless – in the (clarificatory) pre-trial conference which will most probably take place, i could still manifest my positions and argue based on the context of the situation, the law and the nature of the proceedings involved. in every stage of the case, there’s always a remedy. as legal practitioners, we are tasked with finding the solutions to problems, and almost always there is a remedy. the more we think that there is none, and fret, the more we would be unable to think out of the box to figure out a remedy…and these are things about lawyering that i learned today from ma’m litong, my SL. (and today, i also learned how to appreciate OLA)
i also learned valuable lessons about life: when faced with challenging, grueling circumstances that even move us to ask God questions such as "where?", "when?" and "how?", we must likewise choose to look to the Lord, trust Him and not limit what He can do to change our perspectives and eventually better our situation. oftentimes, He begins with shifting our paradigms because only after having paradigm shifts could we see where He is actually leading us. only then could our calloused shells crack and peel off, and our eyes and ears be opened to the direction and messages that He may have already been shouting in our ears for a considerable length of time. His wisdom, strength, and guidance is always available. only we have to choose to avail of His help, instead of figuring the way out of struggles by ourselves….because oftentimes, nay all the time, we can’t. we need the Lord in our lives – for salvation and to live abundant lives. it is only through Him that we are capable of handling everything that comes our way; it is His strength that makes us strong. only the hope He gives and the promises that He always keeps could sustain us even through the darnest and dimmest of circumstances.
as we choose to put our hope in God and praise Him, we make the best and only plausible decision. in spite of whatever i may be feeling, i choose to hope in Him. how about you, what would you choose? 🙂