Vertical versus Horizontal

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Horizontally-speaking, life feels rather one-dimensional: hard.

Having a horizontally-challenged perspective is a big part of what makes us human. Too often, the limited perspective makes us believe this moment is all that is and the scene in front of us is all that will ever be.

Of course we know better than that, but at times that’s how it feels.

 

What we need is a vertical perspective when we’re waiting for something life-changing. We need assurance there’s an end in sight when we’re going through something heart-breaking. We need faith in a sovereign God when we’re called on to suffer.

God promises a future and a hope. He promises sustaining grace for every trial. He promises His presence with you—as close as your heartbeat and as near as your breath. He promises to never leave you. And never to walk away.

So today, allow God to take away your fear of the unknown and replace it with a calm, quiet confidence. He knows the path of your life from a thousand feet as well as the route that you take on your way to work today.

So, if you’re struggling today, it’s going to be OK. And if it’s not OK yet, then it’s not the end.

Job 23:10: “But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

You may not see it, but . . . the best is yet to be.

Capture

 

This morning, I was passing through MacDonald’s (not my normal route), to get to my bus stop. I can’t help but notice an old lady sitting at a corner, drinking from her mug. Catching a quick glimpse of her, I was about to hurry through the exit, when something made me stop and turn around. I walked back to the old lady in the corner. She was scruffy, with an umbrella, a walking stick and 2 large bags of what looked like garbage (or perhaps scrap paper and cardboard for recycling?). I just felt prompted to do something for her. So I asked if she needed anything. Initially she declined, I asked again ‘Can I get you a burger?’ She replied ‘fish burger’.

As I trodded back into the front of the counter and started queuing, I had no idea why I was doing this, it was a work day morning and I was hurrying to work. So there I was standing in line and I thought, ok, I’ll just buy a burger, pass it to her and get on my journey. However, I heard a voice telling me ‘get yourself a breakfast, sit and eat with her’ I replied ‘God, I already have breakfast in my bag, I’m in a hurry’ Yet, I felt I had to go sit with the old lady, so I bought breakfast.

Returning to the old lady, I sat down, passed her the burger and a hot tea. She started speaking ‘You know girl, I can take hardships.’ I was lost for words. She continued to pour out to me, how she was working a cleaner and used to have 4 to 5 jobs a week but now she’s only left with 1 job due to weakness in her leg. To add on to her troubles, an unknown man had been taking money from her and she felt compelled to give to him, a few dollars at a time. She told me she didn’t understand why but she could not resist giving him a few dollars, not that he threatened or solicited from her, just that he would always say something nice to her.

As she talked, I asked God to help me, give me the words to say to her. When she paused, I looked her in the eye and asked ‘Do you feel lonely?’ She looked surprised and said, ‘How do you know?’ She teared as she said ‘Every night, I feel I’m getting mad from feeling so alone.’ This had me fighting hard to control my tears, I am familiar with the sting of loneliness too. At this point, I asked her did she believe in Jesus, she said yes. I told her that Jesus loves her and asked if she wanted to receive Jesus Christ into her heart, to which she was hesitant. Then, I asked if I can pray for her leg, she replied ‘Yes, and not only for my leg, can you pray that God will take my loneliness away?’ I said ‘Sure’. Holding her pair of hands which were slightly deformed by arthritis ( I wondered when was the last time someone touched this pair of hands), I prayed for her physical healing, and that she can come to experience God’s love, joy and peace. As I prayed, I felt God sees her as His precious daughter and I spoke that out to her. She revealed that she had been hoping to meet someone who can help her with the loneliness problem. Showing deep appreciation, she said she felt a load had been lifted up from her. I assured her God is always with her and He cares for her, she just has to call out to Him.

 

Before I left, I tried to ask her for a contact number but she said she had no phone and was reluctant to reveal much about where she stays. When I left her, I only knew she stays around the neighbourhood, I’m not sure if I’ll meet her again, but I trust God will heal her physical body and her heart.

While I continued on my way to work, I marveled at this ‘divine appointment’. It wasn’t in my plan to be there at that time, at that place this morning, but I happened to be. I’m thankful that I can be a messenger of God’s love. If a fish burger and 40 minutes of my time can make a difference in someone’s live, I’d gladly do this any day.  This is what makes life worthwhile, not wealth, not getting hitched, not having kids, not career achievement or wining the lottery. The satisfaction of doing something that counts for eternity surpasses any sense of achievement this world can give.

Everlasting Love

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I shouted “Why!”
He assured “Trust Me.”
I retorted “Why me?”
He replied “Because you’re my beloved.”
I cried “It’s too painful, I’m so alone! I can’t make it!”
He reminded gently “I’ve borne every rejection, betrayal, heartbreak, injustice, I understand.”

Overtaken by a rush of emotions as I recall His sacrifice at Calvary, I whispered between tears “I love you, I love you, I love you Jesus!”
He replied, touching my head “I love you too, which was why I had to die on the cross – for you. I have loved you with an everlasting Love.

a Love that is timeless, it knows no beginning or ending.
a Love that is eternal, it is perpetual, indefinite, infinite.
a Love that is constant, it is invariable, imperishable, indestructible.

And I will never leave you or forsake you.

Trust Me.”

Jeremiah 31:3 – The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

The Beauty of Trials

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Are you in that time and space where …

the nights just seem so long,

the winter just seems to drag on,

the rough patch just got rougher,

Are you in a difficult lot in life right now?  Wandering and wondering …

Why is this happening to me?

This isn’t fair!

How can I carry on?

What will my future be?

 

Much as we hate it, life has its ups and downs: disappointments and betrayals, broken relationships, creditors on the door, lost a job, lost a home, lost a loved-one. For some people, it may have seemed like it’s an all-time low or that the roller-coaster is never coming back up.  Trying times like these leave us hurt, frustrated, anxiety-filled and even depressed.

In the darkest of my nights, tears just rolled down; the grieve was so deep, no words can describe.  During these deepest moments of despair, I cried out, desperately to Jesus and guess what – He met me there!

There and then, He called my name and told me ‘to let go of the past’ and that ‘He is there for me’ and ‘He is enough for me’.  Through it all, I’ve learnt that He loves me more than I can ever imagine and He is always there with me.

So then, why the suffering and pain? I’ve learnt much from these trying times, how to forgive some people and rejoice with others, how to be content with what I have and quit complaining, how to feel for people, how to give and receive love.

Just like there’s no victory without a battle, no rainbow without the rain, no dawn without dusk (and we know the darkest hour lies just before dawn) – There can be no growth without pain.

When life gets overwhelming, everything can seem to crash in together simultaneously, leaving you with no room to breathe. This is when you need to breathe in the air of Jesus – cry out to Him. He will come and hold you, heal and love you, and take you through this season.  He’s been there for me, I’m sure He’ll be there for you.

 

Whatever your circumstances, know that God is working behind the scene, 24 x 7.

Whatever happens know that God has not left you.

It may not be what we expect but then again, how would He be God if He always meets our expectations?

Nonetheless He will bring you to a flourishing end and it will be more beautiful than what you can imagine.

 


Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

James 1:2-3

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.