Thursday, June 30, 2011

Train Rides And Prayers

I take the train everyday to go to work and to go back home except on weekends. Each ride lasts for about 45 minutes, one way. That's an hour and 30 minutes per day. To my estimation, it totals to around 7 hours and 30 minutes of commuting each week. Or almost 1 day and a quarter of being on the train within a month. It does add up, doesn't it? So now the question is, what to do with those 16 days (more or less) every year I spend on train rides?

Too bad for me, I'm one of those people who doesn't like listening to music blasting on my eardrums from an iPod or some similar gadget. I like to enjoy my music communally, where I can sing-along aloud or sway to the melody. I guess I can do that with an iPod, if I don't mind people looking at me like I've just lost my marbles. I also don't like watching movies or any kind of shows on a teeny-weeny screen from an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or any other kind of i-gadget. Don't we watch a lot of television and movies at home already? I think that's more than enough for me.

One thing I do like on my train rides is reading. I read a lot and I'm so glad I'm not like my husband who is so sensitive to motion. If he is not the one driving, he is usually a "nauseated passenger" of anything --cars, buses, trains, airplanes, you name it. Not unless he's driving he will be sick and because of that he can't enjoy reading while in motion. I'm so thankful I'm not that way at all because reading is what I do when I'm on a moving vehicle. Well, I should say most of the time, because I also do other things, like using my phone, "people-watching," and I pray.

"Pray without ceasing." -1 Thessalonians 5:17
It is commanded by God that all Christians pray, non-stop! That's what "without ceasing" means, right? Wow, what an impossible command, a lot of people will say. How can anybody, even the most religious and spiritual among us, can pray without stopping? Maybe that's why several people are disillusioned and we feel discouraged when we try to assess our prayer life. It's simply not going to happen. We all need to rest, eat, work, do other things than just pray. How can God even think that we can follow this particular command? Did He make a mistake? Didn't He know what "without ceasing" means?

Of course you realize these are just rhetorical questions I'm asking on here because I already know the answer. God never makes any mistakes. He knows what He's doing all the time. And He knows that what He's asking of us is for our own good. There is nothing impossible with Him. Nothing. So, how do we do this? How do we even begin? For me, it begins with obedience. I know it's not going to be easy but I also know that I have to obey. Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Bible says. God is pleased when His people make the decision to obey Him no matter what. Then His grace will shine through and gives us the possibility for the impossibles. It's hard to explain since no words are enough to encompass His greatness and the things He can do. Christians all over the world give accounts and testimonies of His power and mercy, of miracles after miracles happening to them and around them with no plausible explanation available except to say that it's of divine nature.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." -Jeremiah 33:3
On those train rides, God has shown me that prayer can be a part of my lifestyle if only I will obey first. I do not claim that I pray non-stop now. Oh, I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn from Him on this area in my life. It is my hope that He will guide me as I make that decision everyday to obey Him. How wonderful it is to experience a conversation with my King and my Lord knowing that He hears me and He listens to me. The Bible tells us that prayer is a conversation. It is not a one-way street where I get to talk and tell Him what I need and what I want Him to do for me. Prayer is a wonderful privilege given to God's children to communicate with Him. When we read the Bible, we allow Him to speak to us. When we listen to the preaching of His Word, we learn from Him. Sometimes, He also speaks in a "still small voice" within us, and if we are quiet enough we might hear Him telling us great and wonderful things we haven't known before.

"And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." -1 Kings 19:12

I do understand now that it is indeed possible to pray without ceasing. It's when in my every waking hour I have His commands and promises in my thoughts, it's when in my every move I try to follow and obey Him, and it's when by every word of my mouth I shall praise and declare His holy Name forever. Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A "Songer," Not A Singer

A songer. I know there's no such word in the English dictionary but that's what I am. I can sing and I can carry a tune. I'm not one of those people who say they can't sing but when they do, they sound like Celine Dion! C'mon now, that's just too much modesty, if there's even such a thing? The reason why I say I'm a songer, not a singer is because singing has never been a "life-altering" experience for me. Unlike most singers I know, they live and breathe singing. But not for me, I don't really enjoy it very much. I feel so nervous everytime I have to sing that I'm scared I might faint. I don't have the confidence of a real singer.

I want to tell you a secret but after this blog I'm afraid it won't be a secret anymore. When my husband and I sing sometimes at church, he has to begin the song because I always mess up the intro. Always. That's one of my weaknesses in singing. And also, someone (I forgot who it was) told me when I was in grade school that I am tone deaf. What does that even mean? Somehow that comment stuck with me, and as you can imagine, it doesn't help with my singing at all.

Yet despite all that, I do sing. And I only sing for the Lord. And oh, very rarely, I also sing in private karaoke parties with some Filipino friends. I do have a song in me although I won't belt it out. And I sing in the shower all the time. If ever I have to call myself a singer, it has to be the shower singer. I also understand that this talent was given to me for a reason. That I should not waste it or else it might be taken away from me. I do know that God delights in my singing not because I have a great voice but because of the One I have in my heart Who causes me to sing back to Him.
"The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him." -Exodus 15:2

When I used to lead worship in my hometown church in Tacloban, I remember always being so nervous even two days before Sunday. I don't even know what I'm nervous for because in my mind I tell myself I don't care if I mess up since it's not about me. I keep telling myself that there's nothing "disastrous" that can happen to me even if my voice crack, even if I mess up the song, or lose my timing, none of that matters because I'm not performing for people, I'm singing for God alone. (Though it would also be nice if I can bless others with my song.) But the clammy hands, pounding heart, and weak knees are always there with me everytime prior to singing. Maybe it's because God wants to show me that without Him I can't do anything at all. Maybe I am so scared because I know that God can take away my voice if He wants to, anytime. Yet He always see me through each time. The very moment I open my mouth and sing the first word, all the nervousness fade away slowly. It's as if He's telling me, "good job, my faithful servant." 
"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." -Colossians 1:10

And that's all I need from Him for me to continue singing.

And here's a little fact I just found out. There is actually a word songer and it's French. It means to daydream or to meditate. How fitting! Since everytime I sing I feel like I'm meditating on the great and wonderful things the Lord has done for me all my life. And I worship and thank Him not just for those great things He has done for me but especially because He deserves to be praised for who He is.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blurred Vision

© Copyright, Mara Dizon Images, 2011
Yes, I do need reading glasses now. I don't exactly remember when it first began but my vision started to become blurry. I do remember the first time I acknowledged the problem ---it was at church, during the morning service. At first, I was looking at our Pastor at the pulpit and listening to the preaching, then I had to look down to read the Bible verse we were studying that morning, the next thing I knew, I can't even see a word from the page! Not even a letter! That was the time I admitted that I do need to get me some reading glasses, quick. But my eyesight, except when I'm reading, is still great. I can still see people's faces, road signs, the computer and the TV screens clearly with no help at all. My vision is still better than good. I only need glasses for reading, that's it!

See what I just did right there? Excuses, excuses, excuses! Vanity makes me point out the good aspects of my eyes and my vision instead of focusing on the problem. I can't readily admit my eyesight is now slowly failing. It might be a slow decline but I can't deny the fact that my eyes are not the same anymore since I was a teenager or even since when I was in my twenties. Age has a way of sneaking up on us like that.

I am surrounded by women who are older than I am. At the office, my co-workers and my friends mostly are in their mid-fifties. When I first met them, they were only almost fifty. And everyday, for the past 2 to 3 years, I see and hear firsthand all the changes they go through ---physically, mentally, and emotionally. I tease them that they are living my future for me so I don't have to. The aches and pains are so "rampant" it seems like it's contagious! The hot flashes, have you heard of those? They're the worst, I'm told. The energy and strength to do physical activities with friends and families..... wait, they say, what energy?! Yes, these are the things I witness with my own eyes and ears, and to tell you the truth, I'm not too keen on getting older now.

"Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." -Psalms 71:9
Then God showed me that we are not alone in this "process." Everyone goes through aging. Even among the best of the lot in the Bible, they all cried out to God to help them in their frailty. Although I'm still not too keen on getting old yet God has given me His promises from His Word on this issue. He assures me that He is and will be the same even in my old age. That He will carry me through the aches and pains, and as the apostle Paul said in the book of Corinthians, God's grace is all sufficient. I've read something on one of my devotional books by Marion Stroud which makes so much sense to me: she says that getting older, and having joints that creak and squeak with arthritic pains, with graying hairs, the wrinkling and the sagging, our memories and eyesight that eventually would fail, all these are God's way of making us not long too much for our earthly lives forever but to crave for our heavenly, eternal home. (All italics in the latter sentence are my personal addendum.)

"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." -Isaiah 46:4 

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

There's nothing I can do about my failing and blurry eyesight except to get a temporary remedy to help me read better. I may succumb to vanity and get myself some contacts or some chic eyeglasses that goes with my every outfit. But it is my utmost hope that I will not have a permanent blurred vision of what's in store for me for eternity. Jesus promised that He's preparing a place for me where He is at right now. May He grant me a clear vision and a hopeful anticipation for that perfect place. I know that He is expecting for me to take Him on that promise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It was my Daddy who first told me that my writing was verbose. Yes, I was a little offended. Even at a very young age, I had a hard time with criticisms no matter how "constructive" they were. But as I've said, I was only offended a little because primarily, I didn't know the meaning of the word. I was only 15, for goodness' sake! I had to grab a dictionary, fast. You see, my father was once a journalist and a newspaper editor. We grew up in a home filled with news reports, weeklies and dailies, facts and words. Growing up, part of how I enriched my vocabulary was to listen to my Dad and his peers talk shop. I guess you can say I had no chance at all, I had no escape, I had to write, too. And how I love it!

With Dad's critiques on some of my "work," it made me strive harder to improve on my writing. I learned how to be more concise and clearer in sharing my ideas. I try to make my sentences short and to the gist. He also told me that writing should not be too "highfalutin." And yes, you guessed it, I also needed a dictionary for that word. My Dad also said that I should write the same way I speak because it's the easiest way to communicate my thoughts and that I would never go wrong with that kind of "style." Don't you just hate it when your parents are right especially when we were teenagers? But how I love those advice now, so full of wisdom!

We've all heard the quote, "The pen is mightier than the sword!" which is taken from a play by an English author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. This quote has been used as an inspiration by several non-violent revolutionists all throughout the years as they write to express their discontent and complaints, as well as their praises and support for something worthwhile. I would like to bring it to another level by saying that if the pen is mightier than a blade than can kill, well, the tongue is so much more so! What the pen writes comes directly from our hearts and our minds, so then basically it's the same thing as speaking out.

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." -Luke 6:45

The tongue is even more mightier than the sword. It is one part of the body that can ruin another person's life. It can break a friendship apart, dissolve trust, and entangle one's future. All because of something that we can never take back ever again. I've read somewhere (maybe it was on Facebook?) that the only three things we can never take back are: time, opportunity, and words. So true, right? Sure, we can apologize and make amends after the fact but the "damage" has already been done. Those painful, thoughtless words we uttered are already out there, hovering in thin air, hurting people. Maybe we said it at the height of anger, and someone or something provoked us in saying them. Yes, there will always be a thousand and one reasons to justify our cause for speaking out of spite, but what happens after when the anger is gone, when the provocation is minimized? What then? Can we also lessen the pain we've caused? Can we take back the words? I don't think so.

God's wisdom on this issue shines through so clearly especially in the books of Psalms and Proverbs, where the tongue is the most talked about part of the body. On how much damaging it can be if not used wisely and sparingly. The Bible does refer to it as like a sword or a razor!
"There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." -Proverbs 12:18 

"The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully." -Psalms 2:2

Too many words can result to too many errors at times. Few words fewer mistakes, they say. Verbosity equals excess, and excess can mean saying so much more than we ought to, most of the time. So it is my ultimate goal to be able to write and speak clearly, to share my thoughts and my stories, yet without any deceit nor verbosity, so my words, no matter how short and concise, may be truthful, honest, and will always give the utmost glory to my God. The latter part is the most important thing that matters to me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beautiful Funeral

I don't even know if it's appropriate to say a beautiful funeral. But it's the word that comes to mind when I look back to the memorial service for a young man we went to last week. It's a sad story really on how he passed away but I'm not going to dwell on that anymore. It may be morbid for some to talk about death and funerals but we can't escape it, can we? It's a sad part of life. Besides, no one comes out of life alive, to steal one of the popular quotes.

Again, it was a lovely service. Naturally, there was a lot of sadness and crying, sorrow and pain, but it was the perfect place and the right time to feel that way. The family and friends at the memorial all felt that way, and I guess we will still feel this way for a very long time. It's the physical separation that makes death so painful. Death is also the ugliest thing that has ever happened to mankind here on earth. No matter how or when we die, it will always be painful and ugly for those who are left behind. Isn't it too horrible to think that we will never ever going to see those who have passed away physically here on earth again? Missing someone we love puts a heavy load on our hearts. Absence only makes the "hearts grow fonder" when we know we're going to see each other again. And I think that what makes the funeral service last week so beautiful because it made our hearts grow fonder with the thought that we will indeed see that young man again. In God's perfect time.

At the memorial, they also called it a "homecoming." How appropriate! 
"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." -2 Corinthians 5:6-8 

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." -Philippians 3:20

That young man is now in a much more better place. Actually, make that a perfect place! And these are not just words we say to each other to make us feel better. It is the truth. We are the ones who need comfort and healing as we try to move on after our loss. And we need the strength as we try to pick up where we left off before we began mourning. It's going to be a challenge but people do it all the time. Life goes on. We wipe off our tears and try to smile again. We have to put a brave front for those who depend on us. There are still children to take care of, spouses to love, friends to uplift, dishes to wash, clothes to fold, and life to live. And that's just the way it should be. Or else, all those beautiful funerals would just go to waste.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Endless Summers!

And it's finally here! Yipeee! I love summers too! In fact, it's my favorite season. No surprises there, I guess.

Summer in Chicago reminds me of life in the Philippines. It reminds me of vacations, sunburns, and hammocks. It brings back great memories of melting ice cream, pitchers of iced water, and lots and lots of halo-halo. It was the time to jump into waves of salty water under the blazing sun, having limitless blue skies with fat clouds and long picnics! Summers are of endless, warm nights when families stay out at the patio or their backyards watching the stars and just simply loving life.

© Copyright, MMD Images, 2011
 Maybe this is why summer has always been synonymous with youth and being at the peak of our lives. The heat probably gives us the idea of that youthful energy and vigor. Oh, how we wish summer will never end, just like when people would want never to grow old! Is this why the search for the fountain of youth continues, and people still put in their money and hope on products and promises that claim to keep them young and younger? Sorry to say but that search is futile. We can keep on fooling ourselves that we are invincible, and that life remains glorious, and that summer will never end in our part of the world, but the truth remains ---everybody grows old, we wrinkle and we age, summers turn into fall, and fall becomes winter. Or in the tropical countries, summer ends then rainy and typhoon season begins. This is the normal cycle of the seasons. 
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." -Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thanks be to God that there is real hope. It is possible to age gracefully, to enjoy life in every season, and to look forward to the next summer of longer days, endless nights, and more fun! He promised that there will be no more darkness in heaven, that we wouldn't even need the sun to give us light because His glory alone will be more than enough to illuminate the whole place! Imagine a place with true endless summers, and no bugs to come with it either! He also promised we will have better, glorified bodies that would make the search for that fountain of youth seem so ridiculous! No more aging, no more aches and pains, no more sickness or diseases, and no more deaths! Perfect endless summers indeed!

But as for now that we are still in this fallen, imperfect world, we must always remind ourselves of God's truths so we can never take off our eyes from the ultimate prize. We must tell ourselves, and encourage one another especially during the fall and winter seasons of our lives, that summer is coming back again. It is so easy to be discouraged and feel sad when things in life take the wrong turn. We are an emotional specie and God made us this way so there's nothing wrong when we feel. Our feelings is what makes us different from the rest of creation. Even God feels. He wept, remember? But we must also remind ourselves that we can't completely trust our feelings. Too many layers of imperfections, too many inputs from worldly wisdom, and too much dilutions from its original state have made our emotions too unreliable. That is why God tells us to persevere and to endure despite of our emotions. To trust in Him with our minds and intellect, not only with our hearts. To be alert and always be ready in and out of season.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." -2 Timothy 4:2

Are you enjoying your summers?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Unoffendable Christian

Be an unoffendable Christian.

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." -Romans 12:3 

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." -Matthew 5:38-41

To offend is to irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure; to affect disagreeably; to violate or transgress.

I try very hard myself to be unoffendable. I think one of the most primal and inherent quality of humans is to feel offended. We do know when people are being offensive, right? Without a doubt, we know when we are offended by others but for some strange reason, we often have to be told frankly and to be confronted when we are the one who's doing the offending. We are absolutely "clueless" when we offend other people, and isn't that just weird? I guess it's one of man's eccentricities.

And since every person is unique and different, it's very difficult not to offend anybody! Whatever you say, however you try to be nice, someone, somewhere out there, will get offended by you. They get offended by what you believe in, by your facial expressions, by your lifestyle, and even by the color of your skin! Do you ever wonder why the world has never attained a true and lasting peace? Why do you think we continue to wage wars against each other? Why do we have enemies? Or, let's just make it simple and to the point: why don't we like somebody? I find it funny when I hear someone says, "I don't like that man on the TV commercial!" Huh, what did he do to you? "Nothing. I'm just offended by his tone of voice!" Okaaay.

While grace is defined as a favor or good will; mercy, clemency, pardon; that which is freely given, an unmerited favor, and the love of God.

As Christians, we have been forgiven so much. God has already paid for the penalty for all the bad, evil, and wicked things we did and those that we will do in the future! Do we deserve such forgiveness and love? I don't feel like I do. Nevertheless, God has done it already! He has offered me His love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation by His grace alone. All I have to do is accept it and trust in Him.

Since we have been forgiven much, we must also forgive and serve much. God wants us to be rooted and grounded in Him so we can tap into His boundless grace and overcome our struggles and any offense that are hurled our way. I keep telling myself this: there is nothing else anybody can ever do to me that was not done to my Savior. Jesus bore it all! He was offended beyond measure, slandered and spat at from Gethsemane all the way to the cross on Calvary. Even until now, in all His glory at the right hand of the Father in heaven, people still mock and slander Him. They continue to say offensive things about and to Him. There is nothing more people can say or do to me that should offend me. And I keep on telling this to myself so my heart will also believe it as well as my mind. Sadly, I'm only human.

It's always been my prayer for God to help me see people the same way He sees them. To be long-suffering and to love the people He died for. I know it's hard to deal with different kinds of characters and personalities but with God’s grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit we can make the decision to love each other no matter how difficult. And importantly, to learn how to be unoffendable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Great Story

I love a great story. Who doesn't? We all love the good old tales of life, adventures, and magic. Sometimes, we even like the bad ones, too! Why do you think the movie and the television industries are two of the biggest businesses in the world? We stack up on VHS, CDs, DVDs, TiVo, DVRs, and now there is Blue-ray, so we can have that great story-telling experience we love so much anytime we want. I guess everyone is still a kid in a grown-up body and we have not outgrown the bedtime story readings we have had when we were little.

But I also know not everyone has had the opportunity of having bedtime stories read to them. I would know, since I do not remember doing such a thing in our house while growing up. But we did read to our son when he was little, and then somehow, I grew up to love books and stories. Maybe this is why I ended taking up literature in college then I worked at a local TV station in my hometown in the Philippines. Being a news reporter was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I loved that job! For me, news reporting (on TV, radio, newspaper, and oh, may I add the world wide web!) is just one "glorified" story-telling. It is like having bedtime stories on steroids.

Whenever I was on the field gathering news and stories to share with the noontime and evening audience, all I had to do was ask questions and then listen. People usually are more than happy to talk and tell you their story. Most of the time, it was just their side of a whole new tale! It was pretty interesting to see how a story develops from almost nothing. I only had to ask the right questions, be very interested, then listen well. By the middle and end of the day, I have a plot unfolding before me and I can't wait to share it to those who were also willing to listen and watch.

Every person has his own personal story. It is amazing to see hundreds of brand new biography and autobiography books out there every year. There are memoirs, journals, recollections, confessions, narratives, etc. available at our own demand! And I do like biographical books. I love reading real stories about famous people, their ups and downs, their successes and failures, and then look who comes out to be the hero in the end! Again, it is within the whole idea of entertaining people with a great story-telling.

Since I am one of those people who love stories so much, and the whole display of adventures and misadventures, I am so glad I have my God interested with my own life story! Isn't it amazing to know that the God of the universe, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, knows my personal story ever since before its beginning, and I am completely sure He knows the rest of it, too. I wouldn't even dare say the end because He says I will live for eternity thus my story never ends! What a majestic way to create a plot, and it is my very own! 
"The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name." Isaiah 49:1(b) 

"O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." -Psalm 139:1-6

Everyone has a story to tell. I always tell my son the best way to gain new friends is to be interested in their story. It only depends on us if we are willing to lend an ear to every person we meet. Just take a listen around you, everyone talks. They all have a story to tell. The only question is, are you listening?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Power of Peace

It is an oxymoron. The dictionary defines oxymoron as a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect. And locution is a style of speech or verbal expression; a phraseology. Examples of an oxymoron would be: a humble God, the sound of silence, or the living dead.

I love a good oxymoron. It kinda reminds me of life in general. Isn't life literally an oxymoron by itself?

Power is defined as the capability of doing or accomplishing something; a great or marked ability to do or act; a strength, might, or force. While peace is a state of stillness, silence, or serenity; a state of tranquility or quiet; a state of security or order. For me, to possess the power of peace is an oxymoron, and a great one indeed! God says in His Word:
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:7

To attain peace is one of the most elusive occupations of man. Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that there is this huge, gaping hole within us that no amount of wealth, success, or happiness can ever fill. We have heard it all from famous celebrities to popular billionaires, how often they speak about this emptiness and despair that don't seem to go away. Dreadfully, drugs and alcohol are consumed in the hope of lessening the pain and to stifle the inner tumult.

When we read such promises from God in the Bible about having the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding" and "the LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11, people tend to doubt it. They say, but isn't it a lofty promise? Maybe, but there are only two choices --- either you believe it or not. And if you believe it and claim God's promise of peace, what great power it brings to a person's mind, heart and soul! It is that kind of power that even in times of difficulty, sufferings and devastation, God's people remain resilient. Yes, there may be so much pain and crying but it is not a sign of weakness or despair. Oftentimes, the pain a Christian goes through is necessary enough to make him stronger just like purifying gold through a furnace.

Darkness is only as dark as it can be until when we bring in some light into it. Come to think of it, the blackest tint of paint we use on a palette will always be the same unless we add some white paint to make it lighter. One way or the another, we will experience some form of darkness in our life. It is one of those things that will grip a hold of our hearts and minds which can make us buckle on our knees. We often think, how can we survive such a blow? How can we move on and go on living after such a loss? How can we ever recover? We are such a broken specie. We hurt and we break apart, but by the grace of God, we often find that we are far more stronger that we can even begin to imagine. We have His peace to sustain us. We have His peace to "fix" our brokenness. We have the power of peace to help us pick up the pieces, move on, and to look forward to the hope He alone can give through His salvation. 
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." -2 Corinthians 4:8-9 

I do not claim to have gone through great adversities in my life as compared to others, and I do not wish to go through one either, but as scared as I can possibly be, I am also completely confident that even amidst the "eye of the storm," I will see the calm, through chaos and utter confusion, I will have God's promised peace. It is an experience that no amount of words can truly explain, you just have to know it to understand, and it is something you have to go through to be able to see with your "inner eye." God's peace has power that defies natural laws and human nature. It is not magic, it is something real yet out of this world. Peace that overpowers common sense. Peace that has the power to calm down fears. A peace that is beyond imagination yet attainable by faith alone. What a great oxymoron, and glory to God! Amen.
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