Broken but Whole

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Reading: Job 42

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

Warren Wiersbe made a profound statement on Job 42, saying, “This chapter assures us that, no matter what happens to us, God always writes the last chapter. Therefore, we don’t have to be afraid. We can trust God to do what is right, no matter how painful our situation might be.”

God always writes the last chapter. Regardless Mr. Wiersbe’s context, I take it as God having the final verdict because he is in absolute control and he will do what it takes to accomplish his purposes, with our highest good in his mind. In view of God’s infinite wisdom and inexplicable might, Job understood his own frailty and he repented. Let us remember that repentance is two-pronged: we turn away from where we have fallen and then we pledge allegiance to God. Our dear friend, Job, did both.

In deep reflection on this man’s life during the past few days, we slowly grasp that fullness of life and brokenness essentially exist in one room – they are not mutually exclusive. Author Mike Yaconelli wrote: “Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the One who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed, it is about God being present in the mess of our unfixedness.”

Like Job, we may have been stripped off of everything that we hold so dear, but we are made whole again only through God’s redemptive grace. What are the volumes of truth that God has been pouring over your life this past week while meditating on the book of Job? Is there a churning that is happening deep with you? What is God asking you to do?

Reflect. Pray. Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart to God. Do what needs done. Then walk in humble, repentant faith.

Prayer Focus: “Thank you, Lord, for speaking volumes of truth over me as I reflect on the life of Job. It is only through you that I am made whole, so here I am asking you to lead me. Teach me again to walk by faith and not by sight. Amen.”

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Wor[k]ship: A Personal Application

If you’re on track with my entries, last week I wrote something about living a lifestyle of worship in the workplace (check  https://musingovercoffee.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/workship/).  I find it interesting because I got to engage in a similar discussion with a disciple of mine just this past Saturday.  I find it absolutely cool.  But it’s likewise challenging because the Lord would usually (and immediately) put to test what He has been teaching you. Like a regular student, you undergo long exams so your teacher would know if you really got the lesson or not.  Today, though, it wasn’t just about theory but life application.

I was about to finish my day at work earlier this afternoon.  I went out of the therapy area and what caught my attention was not my last student, but his mother who was in tears.  In an instant, I had to bring them to a separate room.  I was unsure of what to do next, but all I was able to utter was this question:  “How can I help you?”  For a moment there, I was surprised I asked that.  It was never my intention to meddle with personal matters, but I recognized that it was a divine appointment.  I didn’t have the time to get back to my contract and check if this was part of my job description.  I wanted to be very cautious, but I felt God nudging me to minister to this hurting parent.  I listened, but the matter was too heavy that I could not give an answer.  I caught myself being silent for a couple of seconds.  I took a deep breath, and asked if I could pray for her.  And she agreed.  After we prayed together, she admitted that she had nobody else to open her problem to, since all she had during that moment was her 4-year-old child (my student). As I continued to listen, I was simply awestruck by God’s work.  This situation is certainly bigger than myself, so I’m thankful to the Lord for breaking through mightily at that particular moment.

I have to be honest, friends.  At the level of my own fleshly nature, I could have just ignored the matter.  I could have just walked away, and went straight to do my task. But seeing this through the lens of Jesus, I had to step out in faith.  I desired to please my heavenly Master and do the task that He’s placed in my heart to do – to serve and love His people even when it’s inconvenient.

By God’s grace, I could say that I love where I am now not because it’s easy, but because I get to meet people who have a sense of brokenness within them. I love where the Lord has planted me, because He’s blessed me with such an opportunity to bring the church outside of its four walls.

Two weeks ago, I remember myself preaching to our youth group that the church in its in original Greek text would refer to the people (“assembly”, “congregation”) and not the structure.  The church is a living organism, capable of movement, where Jesus is at its very core.  (Oh, what a way to put this truth in application!)

As I recall what transpired today, I could only stand in awe of God.  I’m so thankful that it was Him who moved and that He enabled me to flee from the temptation of being apathetic.  I’m thankful for the parent who opened her heart to me, even if we hardly knew each other.  I’m grateful for each detail — for the Lord was in it, above it, behind it, through it.  All these things were definitely for His glory and for our good.

“Roof Off. Walls Down.”

Out of the blue, I visited my old Multiply site.  I revisited my blogs and others posts (pictures, videos, etc.).  Apparently, this was the last “piece” I wrote back then.  In recall, I was pretty much in a bind when I wrote this.  It took me more than a year before I was able to write this, because I was exhausted in a number of areas of my life.  I guess you’ll better understand my predicament as you read along.

To my surprise, too, it was exactly a year ago when I posted this blog.  God really has His sense of humor, don’t you think? 🙂

As I spent time to read it with fresh eyes and to remember what has been happening then, I couldn’t help but be saturated with awe of God’s lovingkindness and His being in control of our life’s details.  Today, I could honestly say that I haven’t arrived at my “promised land” yet.  But my heart’s more intact now, and my faith has been made stronger during this entire span of time (July 27, 2010-July 27, 2011).  There’s much room to improve on and so many things to learn from the Lord, but I’m thankful that I’m on the right track.

May you be reminded of the Lord’s grace, as I impart to you a portion of my life journey

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“Roof Off. Walls Downs.” (circa 2010)

It’s been quite a long “wilderness” experience on my part in the past six or seven months, earnestly asking the Lord for clearer directions.  My heart has been often in an agitated state, to the point of getting frustrated with myself and with the situation, breaking down before the Lord in my personal times of prayer.

My job’s inconsistent. The small business I started seems to not work.  I couldn’t get clients.  I feel like a failure in every attempt to rise again.  My wallet rants here and there. Bills are scattered on my office table. Obligations surround me. I fear what my family might say about the way I handle my budget. (I hardly have the money to spend in the first place!) I appear so clueless.  I simply can’t wait for an answer, because I want a solution now.

Yet when I go pick up that thick leather-bound Book, I lose the courage to question the Lord (or even blame Him or other people) about what’s happening in my life now.  As I meditate, it’s as if I resemble a Moses who never runs out of excuses or just another stubborn Israelite who never runs out of complaints.  Reading through excerpts of the Lord reminding people to not fear was a common scene as I sought and strived to read the Word from cover to cover.

“What now”?  What should I do with all the bills and obligations that I need to settle?  I get strength and encouragement, yes.  Those have been momentary solutions, perhaps.  The “right now” attitude keeps silent for a while, but still surfaces when pressure creeps in, as you notice.  Equally, however, the Lord pours out His Word into my heart giving me hope, whispering again to keep still.

“Fine, Lord, I will wait”, I muttered.

About a week ago, I stepped into a coffee shop with my Bible, another book, and my journal.  I read for about two or three hours, I guess.  There, the author of the book and the Author of life tackled a profound lesson on brokenness.  More so, a lifestyle of brokenness was, in a way, proposed.  “Okay, let’s see where this will lead…” I thought.  I wrote down my ideas in response, and honestly put my present struggles into writing.  As I surveyed through my writings, I never imagined how much pride and insecurity I’ve been carrying inside of me.  I ended up just closing my eyes, in fervent prayer, and allowing God to strip me off anything that keeps me from getting His main point.

Roof off, and walls down.

The Lord wanted me to be straightforward and sincere – to Him and to myself.  From the outside, I may seem patient because of the nature of my profession, but in the unseen recesses of my heart, I am not.  I might have thought I was humble, yet my level of humility as of that moment was not enough.

You see, the present trouble is not finding the destination.  The problem is that I don’t get the point why I had to wait.

God never fails to educate me (and you) on the lessons of humility and in having an authentic relationship with Him.  To be frank, I still don’t know where I’m being lead to now.  No staff.  No clear pillar of cloud, nor a pillar of fire yet.  But I believe the invisible roof I have placed between me and God, and the invisible walls I’ve put up – so that people would not see my state of brokenness and rottenness – are both on the process of breaking down.  That’s a good start.  And for that, I am grateful to God.

How about you? Maybe you can join me in this journey of learning to live a lifestyle of waiting and of brokenness.  Maybe you can likewise start tearing down those unseen roofs and walls in your life.

*Link to the original post — http://unashamed.multiply.com/journal/item/13/Roof_Off._Walls_Down.