Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 Days After ......

It is not a beautiful memory, not something that you wish to harbor in your mind. I wish I could pay a price to get it erased, to have it deleted permanently. But no matter how determine or how faithful you press the delete button, it will come back with even stronger force. Ruthless. Brute. In-exterminable.

It is not death that breaks your heart into pieces, it is not so much the separation, but all the pains and sufferings leading to it. When the fallen world exerts its forces upon finite beings, when health deteriorates, when breathing becomes a pain, when sleeping becomes a toil and when all your organs work against you, that’s what unbearable and sickeningly suffocating.

I don’t think any of us is designed to handle that, not even the strongest and most iron-hearted of us. I don’t think the heart of flesh possesses any capacity to see, observe and feel the pain, especially if it is your beloved. Watching is excruciating, and without you being able to do anything about it, is even more excruciating. It is beyond excruciating. Don’t you now wish that you are given a heart of stone instead?

I try and try to imagine how God faces this kind of stuff. It’s too painful for me to handle, and this is just a one single event of my life. How could God face the reality of pain every second? If we humans could be so troubled and disturbed by the pain of our beloved, what’s more of God who sees his children suffer every second? What does he feel when he sees his children desperately crying out for help? I assume the pain he feels is unspeakable, and probably the temptation to extend his hands is unmatched by ours, but probably he understands more that love is not equal to kindness, that sometimes love involves pain, even the most seemingly despicable pain.

I wish it could be that easy, I wish.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Loving Memoriam

Thank you God that although we would never be able to make sense what you're trying to do, you always make it a perfect sense eventually.

Thank you God that the Bible is full with stories of your great deeds, and human remain only as the characters, not the author of the story.

Thank you God that the Bible always shows how humans are too small to even know what we are doing, but you always know what you are doing.

Thank you God that you rise beyond humans' ability to plan their life. Thank you God that at the end of Joseph's story, you have the last word. "You meant it for evil, but I meant it for good"

Thank you God that in the Bible, death is only a stage, not an end in humans life, that neither death, nor disease, nor suffering nor angel nor even evil can separate us from the love of Christ.

Thank you God that in you, death is not a tragedy, it is a celebration. For as Paul said, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Thank you God that you give us promise to be hopeful and even to be joyful at the face of death.O death, where is your sting? Where is your victory?

So help me Lord to be joyful, to fully understand that you have prepared a better place for her, that one day, we will be united again in perfect harmony, a place with no more grief, tears, and pain.

Thank you God that you let me know how to respond at times like this. Help me to conclude just like Job concluded, God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thank you God for giving me such a great mom, thank you God for the splendid 23 years together. 23 years is too short, but I thank you for the time, the last vacation together, the opportunity to serve her during her last days. Thank you God that although it was not a perfect relationship, you will make it perfect in the end, thank you.

And thank you God that you think mami's life has reached its perfection. Thank you God that it is with your loving hand that you take her away, that she is now at your bosom, at your loving embrace. 

Thank you God that it is you who gave mami to me, and it is you who took her away. And with all that I am God, with my limited understanding, and with my utter humility, I submit totally to your will.

God gives, God takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What does God die for?

People should learn to read the bible, that's my thesis. It is stated intentionally this early and this conspicuous because situation demands no other less. Yes, there are some parts of the Bible that admittedly need more dedication to interpret, but major doctrines like atonement or what I'm about to expound shortly is crystal clear, and any possible misinterpretation, I conclude, has nothing to do with its author, but everything to do with its interpreter.

God died for our sin, and it is our sin that he redeemed on the cross because it is sin that brings alienation between God and human. In case you miss the repetition, I'll repeat, it is sin sin and sin (read for yourself Romans 5:8, 1 Cor 15:3). But, what I hear so often from the mouth of the unwise is a very audacious extrapolation. He died for our disease, that he has win us over from the power of sickness and we can claim that promise from God. Hey, the cross has freed us from cancer, or heart disease, or HIV.

I have a problem with that statement simply because it distorts the main teaching of the bible. The trademark of a Christian is not the immunity from the evil in this world, but from the wages of sin, which is eternal death. Stemming from this false belief, people are given false hope. I wonder how many people buy into this promise, just to be disappointed later on with God once they discover that death is real and inevitable, yes, even for Christians. 

I have a problem with that statement because it doesn't hold water. It doesn't matter how many times a person is healed because of this belief,  they know at one point, healing will betray them and they will have to succumb to the reality of death. And if an absolute statement of "God will heal you because he has died for our disease" is proven wrong once, it is wrong no matter how many times it is proven true. It fails to be absolute, and exist to be a mere wishful thinking.

Clearly I have a problem with that statement because it it is my mom that we're talking about here. It is my mom who would be disappointed, it is my mom's mind that is being corrupted. And what makes the problem even more painstakingly ironic is that this can be evaded simply by paying more attention to the Bible. If only people learn to read the Bible, and let the Bible talk to them, we wouldn't have to face this problem.

Again, I'm not saying anything against healing or miracle, and I hope you can interpret from my writing that I'm not against it. If not, maybe you need to simply learn just to read, not only to read the Bible. And for those of you who still hold on to your own concoction of the Bible, I just wish that God also died not only for your sin or disease, but also for your folly and ignorance. May God listen to my plea. Amen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Peace in Worship

It's an encouragement from the Lord this morning as I listened to a sermon from Tim Keller - couldn't be more timely and the context / topic couldn't be more right on.

How do we answer the question, how do we face distress and adversity with peace? The Bible is full of petitions to God asking for deliverance, healing, comfort etc and that is exactly what we did, and of course we should do it and in fact we did it. The Bible talks about it.

But, Psalm 57 talks about a different way to face this tough time with peace, which I through experience, should acknowledge to be true. It is through worship - utter amazement of God and God alone, the alpha and omega, the end in itself.

The psalmist, in the midst of all his valley and trouble, does not ask for God to change his situation. He asks for neither deliverance nor success nor victory - there's no petition at all. Instead, after he accounted and listed all his inventory of troubles, he exclaimed "Be exalted oh God, above the heaven; Let your glory be over all the earth". It is through worship that he calms himself, not through determination or loud petition. If the psalmist can find peace through this, so do we.

What are these compared to God's glory and majesty? What are these compared to grace? Everything pale in comparison to the salvation and hope that awaits us ahead. Thus, for me, I will bring this salvation that I have, present it daily to my very heart to get it appraised, to be reminded over and over again of its value, to let its glory shine before me so strong that all other problems, anxieties, and sufferings become a blip on my sight. So minuscule that they are easily overlooked. Yes, ignorable, brushable and neglectable.

"They say of some temporal sufferings, "No future bliss can make up for it", not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory" C. S. Lewis