Last night, I dreamt that I was taking the bar exams for the 2nd time. Upon waking up, I realized that my dream pertains to the tests that my husband and I underwent in the past 3 weeks: miscarriage, forfeiture of the reservation fee for the townhouse, learning that my leave is unpaid (save for SSS benefits, which is barely a third of a month’s salary) for a month. Thank God that the Seller of the townhouse decided, yesterday, to restore part of the reservation fee. Praying that he’ll follow through indeed (We’ll follow up, as well; I believe this is part of contending for the losses. Similarly, I pray and aim to fully recover soon so I can begin working again).
Compared to me, my husband seems less affected by these tests. Probably, it’s because he doesn’t feel any cramping and back strain and he still goes to work everyday, hence a semblance of normalcy for him. Yet, could it be that he’s feigning a front stronger than how he actually feels? Then again, he always takes things more lightly vis-a-vis the normal person, while I have always been the contemplative type…that’s just how I’m wired. I remember that my dad used to admonish me whenever I displayed happy-go-lucky tendencies, but in times of testing, could it be that a happy-go-lucky disposition fares better because, he, at least, has joy, since he (rightly or wrongly) thinks that things are A-okay. In such light, would it help if I were less contemplative and more happy-go-lucky?
In this connection, today’s prescribed text from the Attitude devo is v. 5-8 of Romans 5;
Yet v. 3-4 in the amplified version struck me the most. Be full of joy, exult and triumph in troubles? Rejoice in suffering? I am generally ok (especially when praying), but I’m realizing that when asked how I’m doing, I don’t always sound too joyful. I guess it reveals that my attitude towards the test, itself, is still one of disdain. Perhaps this reveals that in the deepest recesses of my heart, I am not full of joy right now. (And I thank God for revealing this to me). Perhaps this is why the Lord is encouraging me to be full of joy.
As I wrote yesterday, focus is key. Do I limit my sights to pressure, affliction and hardship that accompany the tests or widen my perspective to see the fruits they produce: patient endurance, maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity) and developing the habit of joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Do I not want these things? Are these attributes not uncommon? Will they not set me apart vis-a-vis the normal person, as well?
This reminds me of a similar argument that my late Dad and I used to have. He’d instruct me to not copy my peers’ ways, saying “iba tayo, anak” (we’re different than them), to which stubborn teen-aged me would respond, “pero gusto ko maging kagaya nila” (but I want to be like them). Right now, the same dialogue seems to transpire between my heavenly Father and me. I feel Him telling me, “Really, my child, do you want to be just like them? But I have already set you apart, sanctified by the blood of my Son. Remember, I have plans to prosper you, give you a hope and a future. I want you to have character that is ready for the responsibilities assigned to you, for the double-portion of blessings that I have likewise set aside for you. Remember that I have placed in your heart a passion, a vision to make a difference. You are an ambassador of My Kingdom and you have an excellent spirit because My Holy Spirit is in you. In that light, You are different.”
And just like that, even as I’m typing right now, I feel a boost of energy in my spirit. I feel that the Lord is reminding me that it all boils down to the joy of my salvation. By grace through faith, when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, I was justified, forgiven of my sins. Now, I am experiencing further sanctification to develop passionate patience (not the lethargic, reactive type), tempered steel of virtue (refined, with polished edges…again I recall my earthly father’s reminder, “maging pino kung kumilos, anak” (be refined in your ways, my child)…I feel my heavenly Father also telling me, “I want you to be refined in your ways”), and alertness for what God will do next. When I go to my heavenly home, I shall experience glorification, thus completing the process of my salvation.
God wants us to have alert expectancy so that we won’t feel shortchanged (yes, hindi ka kawawa, Lorybeth. No to self-pity!). After all, God has and continues to generously pour to our lives through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches, counsels and reminds us of the things of God, especially of His great and precious promises. The Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus arrived at the right time to redeem us, and His help is likewise timely in whatever situation. He reminds that we are not hopeless and our situations are likewise not hopeless because we are in Christ.
The concept of alert expectancy to God’s next move, to what’s going on around Christ, is something which excites me. In the past two days (and even in the past two Sundays), Col 3:1-4 in the message translation has been highlighted to me:
It reminds me that our God is a dynamic God…that He’s always on the move, though He’s unchanging. It gives me comfort that my current storms are not permanent…and because I am in Jesus, this season shall pass. And I should expectantly be on the look-out for what God has in store.
Most of the time, it really just takes a prayer and a revelation from the Lord to snap out of a moment of gloom and self-pity. While such feelings may be normal in the midst of trials, one should not dwell on such thoughts. Some may be strong enough and able to instantly shift their thoughts (there are moments when I’m like that, as well), but there are just moments when it’s not as easy to shake such feelings off. When those times come, it helps to come before the Lord in honesty (anyway, all-knowing as He is, there’s no use in denying what you think and feel), and humbly ask for His help in shifting our perspectives towards His. While my own joy may not be enough to strengthen me, the joy of the Lord is my strength. 🙂
In that spirit, I am asking God for revelation as regards my situation. Right now, I am on bed rest, but I can pray and war in the spirit to pray not only for this situation of mine, but also for anything else that the Lord places in my heart.
Lord, give me revelation, as I pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.