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How Faith Grows When God Says, No. (Poem and Testimony)
Before Anything Else
Saved by God’s grace through God-given faith.
We can never really understand what it means to be a Christian if we don’t know how one person becomes one. It’s pretty easy, to be a Christian you have to be saved. So, what does it mean to be saved?
- To be saved means you have come to repent of your sins and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord. God so loved the world (you) that He gave His only Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- And that it is purely by God's mercy and grace. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9),for He demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
I clearly remember the day of my graduation and how much joy I felt on that day. I said to myself, “Thank you Lord! I have finally finished my painfully long yet wonderful journey as a student (undergrad), bring on the REAL WORLD!”
From where I stand now, I realize how ignorant I was about the “real world” that I have so excitedly challenged. Sure, I have heard how bad the real world was but I never imagined it to be this bad.
I also remember how confident I was that the Lord will give me my dream job and how He will make everything easy for me. And to my delight everything went great for the first few months! I enjoyed my last summer vacation as I found loads of time to relax and not worrying about waking up early while students were bracing themselves for another school year. Everything was absolutely perfect. Then came the taunting reality of unemployment.*insert the most horrific sound effects you can think of* Yep, that was the big reality that every fresh graduate must grudgingly embrace. It’s like a welcome gift nobody would want yet everyone must go through.
The hostile transition took me by surprise and I was completely shaken and lost sight of everything. To make matters even worse, I didn’t have my dream job. My employment status filled me with anxiety and my disappointing circumstances slowly dragged me into a state of depression and lack of self-compliance. God’s series of “no’s” were becoming more and more brutal during that time. And yes, I am a child of God and yes, I was completely failing to trust God which made everything a hundred times worse. I wanted to trust Him but I was just so overwhelmed that I struggled and sinned against Him instead of trusting Him.
It was probably the most shameful moments of my life; doubting Him, complaining and even blaming Him. That’s why I am at complete awe and deeply humbled that God, despite of my unfaithfulness, brought me to experience His goodness in a much deeper way and in new dimensions. As giving back the glory and honor to Him, I wanted to share at least a portion of what new things He has taught me about Himself, about His will, and about His plans for me. I pray that this will be a blessing to every heart that stumbles upon this testimony. Soli Deo Gloria.
What the Bible says
~And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”-Hebrews 12:5-6
~ I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.-Psalm 119:75~
Realizations and Lessons Learned:
1. It is in the valley that our hearts are tested and our sins dealt with.
Valleys are very personal. Every Christian has a different concept and experience of what a valley is in his/her life. We may find a number of similarities when it comes to our mountains but we differ more and tend to get more personal when it comes to our valleys. But praise the Lord that He is both the God of the mountain and the valley! This is just one of the many truth that God has made me experience recently. I can now truly testify that God is all that He is regardless of what we may see and feel and that our circumstances, no matter how hopeless it may seem to us, are just another wonderful manifestation of God’s goodness! But to do so, God first made me realize a handful of sinful habits and attitudes regarding the matter that He intends to cleanse me from and correct. I’m not saying that these are the only things God is going to change in me. For sanctification is a lifelong process and can sometimes be quite overwhelming yet so refreshingly blissful!
To begin with, God showed me that I have already made my dreams and expectations as my idols. He showed me that I had a wrong heart and that my intentions and motives were not pleasing to His sight. So what did God do? He completely consumed it all like fire. It does not mean that He does not want me to dream and go after it, rather He wants me to not make my dreams an idol. How did it became an idol? It became an idol because I cherished it more than I cherished God’s plan for me. Anything that does this and thus takes away His place in our lives is an idol; an abomination to the Lord. If He is not Lord in one area of our lives then He is not Lord in our lives at all.
God Burned Down All My Security Branches
I would never realized how much of it I have grown if what happened did not happen. Some of these idolatrous branches were my dreams, my friends, my comfort zones, and my out of proportion egocentric ideals just to name a few.
Truly, God will never tolerate our ungodliness nor will He be hospitable to our unfaithfulness and lack of reverence. When God hates something (sin), it is a consuming fire. And He will do whatever it takes for us to be cleansed for our own good and for His glory. Besides we are no longer slaves to sin for we are now ,through Christ, slaves to righteousness! Praise God!
Ultimately God’s purpose prevails as always. I am nothing but thankful for His discipline and chastening, excruciating as it was; having your sins dealt with and corrected and getting your heart checked and aligned.
Lastly, we must always remember that valleys are part of our sanctification. It is not a punishment nor an act of cruelty; it is also most certainly not an indication of God favoring another over us. Instead, we must be thankful for it as much as we are thankful when God places us on the mountains. It's two blessed yet different experiences and in both we should be still and know that He is God.
~Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.-Psalm 118:1~
~This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.-1 John 1:5~
2. God Is Good All the Time!
God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!
Even before I was saved I already knew this saying but now by His grace, I can testify to its undeniable reality. We may think that we know the full extent of God’s goodness but God made me realize that we can never fully grasp His goodness and all that He is in this lifetime. But as He has promised, He slowly leads us into a progressive revelation of His attributes in ways that our frail human understanding can handle. What I’m saying is that God’s goodness does not end with Him answering our prayers. It is so vast and its depths are just so unsearchable that if He would reveal it to us all at once we will drown in it! That’s how good God is!
Secondly, another new thing that God has taught me is that His goodness cannot be described nor manipulated with our human concept of what “good” is. If we were to summarize our understanding of what good is it would probably be having everything in favor of us.
Nothing can compare to the joy I have felt after God gave me the right perspective after dealing with my sinful attitude/behavior. I saw nothing but His goodness! And I’m still so excited for I believe that He will continue to do more good in my life! My circumstance pretty much remained the same but my faith became stronger! I have come to understand His goodness in greater depths!
Truly, God is light and in Him there is no darkness and to even ponder about the idea of Him having a tiny hint of badness is sin and nothing but sin. How freeing it is to be assured that our God is so good! Everything He does is for our own good and for His glory!
Sure, as of now, I do not have my dream job but God taught me to be truly content both in Him and in whatever my circumstance He puts me in. He has taught me what it truly means to rejoice in Him. God Himself is the reason for rejoicing!
Even though everything about my plan after graduation was completely a flop, God promises that my plans are not worth comparing to His perfect will for my life. I have long known of those things about God but it was not until now that I have truly experienced them in greater depths. Painful? Yes, but absolutely worth it. Therefore we must keep in mind and take to heart that God is good all the time and all the time, God is good!
3. To Live Is Christ
~ “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh that means fruitful labor for me.-Philippians 1:21-22”~
Haven’t we all as Christians once made a decision to be resolved in living for Christ but then such resolve suddenly dissolves in the midst of adversities? This doesn’t mean that our desire to heed to God’s call is fake nor is God making it hard for us to do so. He is simply teaching us how to live for Him and what it means to live for Him.
In my case, God taught me that to live for Him includes my whole entire life. I have this bad (sinful) habit of compartmentalizing my life and God is now putting an end to it by teaching and guiding me how to surrender every part of my life to Him. And that includes my career life, my post graduate life and my life in facing the real world. The very reason why I have struggled so much in the real world was that I have somewhat made a separation between my faith and this particular phase of my life.
Similarly, the divergence between my faith and struggle also made me disregard the command to glorify God in “everything” you do. I completely lost track of my eternal purpose. I simply cannot serve God in one part of my life and then deny or disregard His Lordship in another.
I remember reading from the book, “Following Jesus in the real world” by Richard Lamb in where he says regarding work, “Use your work to love God and love people.” It was as simple as that.
The Important Thing
It doesn’t really matter what job we have, as long as it does not go against God’s principles. What’s truly important is that we aim to glorify God with that job. How can we glorify God? Well we can start by being thankful for the job, be diligent in doing our duties, letting our light shine and not allowing that job to make our relationship with God a lesser priority in our life.
We must remember that we are first His disciples. Only one life so soon it shall pass but only what’s done for Christ will last. Because if we really are genuine born-again believers, what good will it be to do something that will not please God at the end of the day? If we love Him then we will obey His commandments and leave (entrust) all the consequences to Him. (John 14:15)
All our toils and hard work will amount to nothing in the end if it’s not done for His glory. So the key is to live for Christ and nothing else. Our purpose is not to be the greatest worker or the smartest student there is, though those things are good and can give glory to Him, but if in pursuing it will cost our obedience to Him then better to be jobless and be the least in the class than dishonor Him.
~He is our King, our Savior, our life, the only Truth, our purpose and motivation. To Him be the glory forever and ever, amen. ~
~ “..whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.-1 Corinthians 10:31”
How can faith grow when God says “no?” (a poem by SM_Miannubo)
How can faith grow when God says “no?”
How can we rejoice in times of unexplained sorrow?
When everything happen in ways we can’t seem to accept,
Is it enough of a reason to doubt that His promises are kept?
But let’s ponder on a different point of view,
Let’s focus on Him and no longer on you,
Why do we doubt in the valleys and rejoice on the mountains?
Is He not our God? Or is He a means for selfish gain?
To dream of dreams are not evil in its sense,
It is when we idolize it that we must indeed repent and be cleansed!
Remember who He is and who you are now in Christ,
Take to heart what He gave as a precious sacrifice,
If we trust Him with our eternity,
Such evil it is to deem His plans unworthy
One last thing I desire to share,
That is to cast to Him your every burden and care,
His ways are higher, His thoughts not ours,
Such a blessed invitation to trust and obey Him every hour,
For Holy, sovereign and good is He,
A just and loving Father, He shall forever be
So let not His loving “no” be the reason for you in sorrow grow.
Through it He shall teach you great truths you still ought to know
And come to a deeper understanding of His grace,
A blessed encounter He shall bestow
Oh come! Abide and stay close by His side,
Our yearning and frail soul, He shall sanctify.
Soli Deo Gloria!