May 17, 2012 – Thursday
I had to be on my way to Sta. Rosa, Laguna for some appointments. My challenge was to get there at around lunch time without getting lost.
That’s how it is with how we live our lives.
There is a definite destination and we are bound by time. The challenge is to get to where we’re supposed to be without getting lost.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” -2 Corinthians 5:10, NIV
I already was given instructions the night before. I had two options – take a bus from Market Market going to Ayala and then get on a van going to Balibago or go to Guadalupe, take the MRT, get off at Buendia, and take a bus from there. I was told the latter was better choice so that’s what I did.
There will always be options but choices have to be made, even when you are unsure. It only takes faith. I’m quoting the album description I wrote on Wednesday here: “The choices we make everyday lead us to either grow in faith or live in fear. Allow your faith to be stretched. It’s the only way to go and the only way to grow.”
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” -Hebrews 11:1, NLT
Getting to Buendia was easy. Finding the bus to Balibago was a totally different story. There was no bus station and the buses that passed by where I was standing (under the HEAT of the Manila sun) were either going to Alabang, Ayala LRT, and Dasmarinas. I didn’t think that would be much of a challenge because I can easily call the friend I will be meeting in Sta. Rosa…or so I thought. I only had to dial his number to find out that he is out of coverage area.
It wouldn’t be easy. There will be roadblocks, hurdles, detours – anything that would test your faith. The enemy will come to steal, kill, and destroy your joy, your peace, your passion, your determination to get to your destination. But giving up should never be an option. The greater the trial, the greater the testimony!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4, NIV
I smiled. Okay, that may sound weird because I was standing alone at the bus stop with people around me but I did. And then I said a silent prayer: “Okay Lord, we will have to figure this out together. Just You and me this time. Please speak audibly. Thank you.”
It’s not about you. Giving up will never be an option when we get a clear understanding of how everything in, of, and about us is only sustained by His grace; that we are living in and by His mercies day after day after day.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” -Lamentations 3:22, NIV
I then remembered my first option. I got on a bus going to Alabang which was supposed to pass by Ayala LRT as well. I was praying the whole time: “Lord, bahala ka na. Wag mo akong ililigaw please!” I had my earphones on then. The lyrics of the song that was playing then still rings in my head up until now:
You promised me
You’ll never leave
You promised me
I’m never forsaken
Goodness and mercy will follow me,
Surrounding me where I go
Everywhere that I go
You Lord are a shield around me everywhere
Everywhere that I go
Your grace and love surround me everywhere
(He never fails to do that every time – speaking to me through song lyrics.)
His promises always hold true. When He said He would never leave us nor forsake us, He means it. When He said that he is our shield, our strength, our comfort, our refuge, our salvation, our deliverer – He means it.
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” -Numbers 23:19, NIV
A few minutes later, my friend from Sta. Rosa called.
Chris: Hello, asan ka na?
Me: Good question. Yan rin mismo ang tanong ko.
I knew he couldn’t help me just yet so I told him I’ll try to figure something out. I also knew I was lost. I realized that the place I was supposed to get off at was the MRT and NOT the LRT station. I was still on the bus then. And then I felt like I needed to transfer to the seat on another side of the bus. I didn’t want to but I did so anyway.
Listen and obey. Asking God about what He wants us to do is one thing, obeying it is another. We can fast and pray all we want, hear Him audibly in the process, and even get signs when we ask for it, but if we are not quick to move our feet when He tells us to, we won’t be getting anywhere.
“For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.” – Romans 2:13, NLT
And then I saw two bus terminals on different sides of the road along Taft. The bus I was on was moving slowly because of the traffic so I can see the signboards on the buses that are bound for Calamba and other provinces. We passed by another bus terminal and to my surprise, one of the buses there had Balibago on its signboard!
I literally jumped from my seat and got off the bus stop. A few seconds later, I found myself seated comfortably on the bus going to Sta. Rosa, in awe of how I was already on my way to where I’m supposed to go when a few minutes earlier, I totally had no idea where I was and where the bus I was in would actually end up taking me.
Works without faith is futile. Faith without works is dead.
“It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” – Ecclesiastes 7:18
At the end of the day, I have found this to be more than true:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.”
– Psalm 23:1-4