Monday, November 10, 2008

I found God in the Blog Age

Forget about the Ice Age and the Information Age. I think we are now in the BLOG AGE.

It's funny, nice, and interesting that nowadays everyone seems to feel better sharing the "stories and sorties" of their lives in a form of a blog than writing on a diary. In a blog, you can freely tell the world about anything you'd love to share and have the choice to hide your real identity. Good thing - if you know you are in a good circle, you don't have to. And if this new technological developments endangers the diary, then one of the few good things left that we do alone is Praying. In that sense, it is very good benefit of the Blog Age; people know better how to express themselves yet will likely have more time to talk to God because he or she will likely be asking or thanking God with what he or she had written. It's hypothetical, I know, but don't you think it is very good to imagine that people are making good use of technology in that sense.

Anyway, since this is kind of my second entry to my blog site, at the onset what I only wanted to do is just to be able to write something that would somehow make sense to everyone or just allow my fingers to type whatever comes out of my head; it doens't matter though, it's just a blog, so they say. But there is this just one thing that has been echoing in my head; it is indeed manifested in the things that had happened in my life in recent years; what I consider the greatest and most important lesson I learned in years. Since I think it is important, I thought it is worthy to be written. And it goes a little something like this:

It started probably when I worked at a call center. I accepted a job I didn't like and was not proud of. It was a great deal and serious job that I had to do even I was not proud of. But you know, doing something you don't like but you just have to could teach you something. Let me just call it SACRIFICE.

It matches, right? But that's not it yet.

Sacrifice, as I have found out, is but the first step to truly understanding the mysteries of God's plans. So, since I was not proud of what I was doing at the call center; I hated it (but I loved the friends I met there) - I gave it up. I resigned because professionally it is not the right job for me, but It was the one job that gave me financial edge. Oh, that was true. However, it was there that the difference of material success and spiritual success became more obvious and distinct to me. I begun feeling indifferent. I quit to my friends and family's surprise. But I had no regrets. I'll tell you why.

Financial crisis begun. Many times from that time on, I would run out of money even to buy lunch; I would count coins everyday if I had enough money for my ride home; there were times I had to call my wife just to tell her I cannot come home early because all my officemates had left and I had no one to borrow money to buy our dinner. Tough and stupid you would say - but then came the flashy realization of what I truly exchanged the good salary with - finally a good reason to back up my decision to resign: It was then that I truly felt being in the "Refiner's Fire". Although I would admit that I got there in a rather stupid way.

But hey, listen - I haven't told you yet that the call center life was eating my life away; I wasn't enjoying; I was learning a tough culutre I couldn't take; at that same time, my friends who are not in the call center have gone farther away in their careers.

So, I thought it was already the toughest time of my life, but then it was with that emptiness that I learned something new about trusting God: I learned more than just to trust - I learned to "cling". I clung to God like a pest and believed that tomorrow would be a better one. Little by little I got used to skipping meals and walking long distances to get home from work. I appeared like a real loser to many people, but they did not see what I called "Only God and Christ-like humans will see" even if I don't tell them; I learned another thing -- IT WAS APPRECIATING THE BEAUTY OF POVERTY.

Well, of course, poverty isn't literally beautiful, but there is something beautiful about it: that "something" is what I learned from this Saint by the name of Therese (of Lisieux). She said, "If God is to fill our emptiness, then poverty becomes a source of delight". First, I began to understand those words by simply knowing that I had no choice but to "swallow" that life. But then, slowly I noticed that the more humiliation, hunger, emptiness, and exhaustion I felt, the more I would feel "assured" of God’s presence in my life. I loved it! And I said "Wow! This is something!". And so I embraced it "like a brave warrior would" and hoped that my life would stay that way. It was still confusing sometimes if I try to think of how I came to that conclusion, but I just said - It really felt good being in the Refiner's Fire - who is none other than God Himself. It really feels good to know or find out that God is shaping you. Yes, I recognized that.

And "to be shaped", I further realized, has a requirement - one who wants to be shaped had to submit itself to the "Shaper". Well, complete submission beforehand was something I only knew as the act of "giving up". So, in other words, if GOD wants to shape you then He has to make you "STILL". That means to "give up" is the same as to "be still". Right?

Let’s review:

1. A personal decision – often wrong
2. A realization – poverty and emptiness, clinging to God and not just trusting
3. An appreciation – of the bad things happening in your life
4. A transformation – shaping starts
5. A surrender – by giving up to the Lord
6. A deeper transformation – after giving up yourself to the Lord, you have to stay “still”
7. A system installation – you review and repeat the whole process whenever applicable

So, what does God have to do to make you give up (or to be still)?? ---> TRIALS (could this be the best explanation why God allows sufferings sometimes)

And trials, which are what we normally see as "hindrance", is indeed the "advance ingredient" for the Shaping that we want. But yes, of course, one has to give up on Christ and understand that a poor faith says "I believe in God because life is beautiful" and the rich faith is "Life is beautiful because I believe in God".

A better perspective of life – happier and stronger you.

Ok. I give up – to the Lord.


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