Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘testing’

Work Refines Character

This is the rush hour season. It’s worst than cramming for your high school exams. You get loads of deadlines after deadlines. You have to finish special reports and year end reports or you’re dead. Welcome to the character crucible.

You end your work, get a good result, and air it on time. But usually, at the end of the day, when my eyes are half-closed, I realize I made grave mistakes: the epic failure of character realignment.

I admit I get tantrums. And like a kid I always demand my rights for my rights. But after the end of the day there was never any glory for no glorious character was exemplified. Just rights demanded for rights.

Work is good. It’s not the fault of work why I get tantrums. My reaction to pressure is a reflection of what I want.

And so I stay in the fire. And like gold, dross come out when heated into the intense flames. All I wanted was to come out pure. But am I ready for the removal of these dross?

I don’t need the excess dross yet all I thought they were a part of me. Would I oblige? I guess I still got a long way. Like gold, I am in a long purification process.

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Birthed After Refinement

The death of one seed is the birth of many blossoms.

Have you ever wondered how beautiful one can become when tested?

Think of the majestic butterfly after it struggled as a hated caterpillar in a tightly-squeezed cocoon.

Think of the powerful eagle that was once helpless and weak at its birth.

Think of the beautiful diamond that endured intense polishing after discovered as an rough and ugly volcano rock.

Think of the pure, shining gold that has passed through refiner’s fine.

What would these trials and testing make you?

Think of what you would be after passing through them…

Surviving the Dangerous Waters

“Do fishes have emotion?” I asked my mom while looking at the pool filled with variously colored koi.

“Of course they do,” she replied, “they also feel stress.”

I asked the question because I was wondering how they would feel when they’re removed from the comforts of their calm, cultured world. Put them in a running river or the open sea, these fishes might feel extreme stress. The outside world is too hostile compared to the serenity offered by their artificial pond. I wouldn’t wonder if they don’t survive at all in the open sea or the dangerously gushing river.

It’s the same with us human beings. We love to stay in our comfort zones. When we are placed in an environment or situation outside these comfort zones, we become stressed. What if like a fish, we have no chance of going back to that artificial pond? We have two choices: give up and destroy ourselves or overcome and emerge stronger.

It’s good to be in the comfort zone, but there is also great danger in it. There’s a false sense of peace going on around it, causing us to be unaware how our senses, thinking, discernment and ability are destroyed by a bacteria called complacency. We’re trading all talents and ability for sleep. Thus, when the shell of comfort are destroyed around us, we are caught unaware, too late to realize that all our capacity to survive is lost.

But when we are put into dangerous waters, this is the time we use every given ability, talent, and thinking into survival mode. Through this, we learn how to stand up and strengthen ourselves and forge ourselves to persevere until we develop the ability to survive.

I’ve been put into such moments many, many times. But at such instances, I wanted to give up and destroy myself, believing its the only way to get out of the problem. But, of course, we are not meant to stand in the flames alone. Do you know how God wanted to partner with us? In Him, we can have all the survival mode that we can need: the abilities, talents, thinking, and wisdom can only come from the Creator of time and space. By the moment I thought I got nothing, I just ask the Father the grace and wisdom to overcome. In Him, I got everything, and in Him I can persevere and survive.

When we are put into dangerous waters, don’t curse the moment. Instead, it’s an opportunity and privilege to become stronger and better people yet.

Destiny Seeker

There are really such times that I am tired with my own world. I’m tired with some of the people around me. I’m tired of the demands asked of me. I’m tired of living under a purpose not my own. I’m tired of the mundane routines that cause me to drag my feet to work. I’m tired of waiting for the great destiny set aside for me. But then, I would think again…perhaps, I am just too excited to see the prophecies foretold come into material in the wrong time.

When I was in grade school, I believed I had to achieve everything before I become 30 years old. I should be famous, I should have a book published, and I should be a well-achieved woman by then. Going beyond that age would mean I would have no more chances of becoming well-known at least once in my life – nor my name being etched in history.

But things get different as I aged. And yet, the Lord had shown me in different ways how He wanted me to be in His time. No, it’s not getting famous. Actually, I think these roles are downright unacknowledged in society at all. So, I kept all these things in my prophecy shelf. But because of my personality as a sanguine, I tried to wait though. However, I couldn’t connect the dots on how these things will happen in my lifetime. God had foreseen it and was already there before me. It’s just up to me to continue running and struggling to get there. It’s up to me to push harder the mountains that try to hinder me from getting there.

And yes, these mountains brought along little bugs that tell me to give up. Give up where I am now and take a dangerous short-cut to my destiny. But, oh Lord, do not let me listen to them. I must admit, I’m ready with my resignation letter. I’m in this road called lost. But, I’m also seeking the Lord. I really want to know His heart and where He wants me to be at this point of time. Should I jump the cliff or stay on the edge for the moment? I have to know…

I will never forget how the Lord spoke through a friend last time that I am shaken first to be a voice to the shaken. All these shakings made me hurt and offended. Oh, man, if I can just be emotionless just like Little Wonder or be your everyday hero just like Wonderwoman. But God is not looking for heroes or robots. He’s looking for real-life flesh and blood who will be filled by His Spirit during those upcoming great and terrible times. Can I fast forward my tape to that point in eternity? Nope. I have to go through the normal playing mode and see how His story in me will go.

The question is not: to go or not to go? But it should be to hear or not to hear. I’m ready to burst, really. But I’m also ready to listen. Which way should I go? I’m ready to take that step…to that path that I should take towards that destiny He has set for me.

Recognizing the Leaders of Our Society

It’s really hard to break old habits, but how more much to break stubborn pride. I must admit, I always have a hard time when my character is refined, especially when you’re talking about breaking pride.

There’s a stubborn, little rebel in me that always wanted to break free from authority, whether in the office, at church, or at home. No one is perfect, not even our leaders, and it is not at all times that we would agree with one another. But true enough, it is here that God tests us on how we deal with our authority.

Studying the Nazirite Training Phase 1, I looked back to the topic “Submission to Authority”. Until now, this is the phase that the Lord is still dealing with me. I’m usually quiet but deep within I love to criticize. But the Lord reminds me that it is not my business to criticize a leader’s fault. The issue is how I respond. Let’s take a look why we should recognize the authority of our leaders in society:

Leaders are appointed by the Lord: Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey those in authority over you for they give account for your souls”. We have no right to question why such are in authority. The Lord has a reason to put them in place. Whether it’s a tyrant or a very impressive president, only the Lord has the right to promote or demote him (Psalms 75:6-7).

We are a generation in need of fathers and mothers in society: Although God is the central point of authority, he has placed people to lead in various aspects in our lives to guide us (Prov. 15:22). It does not mean that He can’t handle us. They are there as a guide and they are like the shadow of His authority. But that does not mean they are perfect. Yet, their imperfections should never be the reason that we should disrespect them.

Rebellion and disrespect lead to one’s breakdown: There are many instances in the Bible that a person falls because he disrespected those who was in authority over him. Ham, whose family line was cursed because he “pointed a finger” at his father, Noah, who was drunk one time (Gen. 9:20-24), the former King Saul, whose promised kingdom was taken away when he sacrificed the offering himself without waiting for Samuel (1 Sam. 13:5-15), and Eli’s sons who died early because of the wicked deeds they did even though they were serving in the temple of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12-36). In fact, the Bible has a promise to those who will obey their parents: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Yes, disregarding authority can lead to loss of inheritance and even death. But look at the lives of those who regarded those in authority: David, to whom the kingdom was handed down to him by the Lord because of his respect and love to Saul even though he was an object of his murderous obsession (1 Samuel 24), Nehemiah, who found favor to rebuild the temple as he regarded the authority of a secular king (Nehemiah 2:1-9), and Daniel, whose life was always spared from great harm, as he honored the authority of non-Jewish kings (Daniel 6:10-28). See the paradox? God’s rule is simply black and white. No in betweens. Obedience mean life and gain. Disobedience means loss and death.

But the Lord is merciful. And I am under refinement on such things. Our generation can never stand as leaders if we never regard our leaders. Society falls when the people rebel. What more if we disregard God’s authority over earth?

May we learn how to regard those in position regardless of their character. May we learn how to yield and to react in love and respect regardless of their imperfections. And may we grow in grace as the Lord hone us to become the leaders of this coming generation. Lord refine us to be like You. We can never take our position if we are not willing to be broken from our own will. Let Your will be done in us as it is in heaven.

 

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