Right Place at the Wrong Time

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” — 1Peter 5:6

How many of you have gone to the place of your dreams only to find out that the timing was not so favorable? It must have felt like having a glass full of ice-cold water poured on your warm head. Frustration and worries obviously tried to steal my joy when it happened to me about two years ago.

While I marveled at the favor of renewing my passport via the DFA courtesy lane and seeing it stamped with a multiple entry visa at the U.S. Embassy, my 2016 U.S. trip did not exactly come out as an opportune breakthrough. Yes, I made it to the land flowing with milk and honey! I enjoyed the clean air, the warmth of the American culture and the luxury of their Thanksgiving celebration. But the discomfort of the coming winter season was too much for my system to manage. And so, it dawned on me that maybe I was in the right place at the wrong season.

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The conference venue in Grand Prairie looks amazingly spacious, but the multicultural environment only reminds me of a YWAM conference.

It was not an issue to come back home to the Philippines in about a month had I met my expectation of being able to promote my book to thousands of audience. Unfortunately, the conference my former pastor (with two other church leaders) and I attended only had a few hundred participants. Our pastor was supposed to speak, but he did not even make it to share his testimony. So why even bother to insist on my book promotion?

I would have come back home financially blessed had I been brave enough to extend my stay and accept a job offer to serve as a home care worker in Michigan or simply assist my sister in Texas for a month or two. Honestly, though, I wasn’t that brave or self-sacrificing for an adventure that others wouldn’t mind stepping into for the sake of their families.

My elder sister was also too protective to release me to go to other places other than back home. Although she was generous enough to tour me around and fund my shopping spree, I just felt like I was stuck in their house. I wasn’t able to do what I thought would have compensated my unmet expectations.

Was it a consequence of some unwise decisions? Maybe pride had crept in from the start as I was looking to prove my worth. Maybe I had placed things in my hands and not under the mighty hand of God. Despite all these maybes, I found encouragement from the timely preaching of the senior pastor of New Beginnings in Bedford. It wasn’t an accident that we made it to that church. He said, “Just when you think God is not at work or it seems He is not moving, He’s really doing something.”

The pastor expounded on the second chapter of the book of Joel. Verses 21-25 specifically spoke to me:

“Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things! Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.”

Now as I reflect on what has gone wrong, the Lord has given me this assurance that in due time, and as I learn to humble myself under His mighty hand, I will be in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. The opportune moment is coming because our God is a God of second chances. He can intervene with His abounding grace to bring forth vindication and restoration!

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“Happy Lang….”

READ: Psalm 139:13-16 (TLB)

How many of you have watched this TV series entitled “Little Nanay” on GMA-7? If you have done done so, I’m sure you do miss Tinay and her favorite expression, “Happy lang….”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kudos to GMA-7 for such a wonderful Teleserye concept! For those who do not know, Tinay’s character (portrayed by Kris Bernal) is a mom with intellectual disability. Carefree as she is, she was not spared from the ordeal of being ridiculed and rejected even by her loved ones (so-called superhero Archie and daughter Chie-Chie) a few times. Her family (Loloy, Lolay, Bruce, Peter and Gpap), however, has consistently shown their love and support from the start until the final episode (aired on March 23, 2016).

Parents, siblings and relatives of PIDs (Persons with Intellectual Disabilities) should have watched this. The last part is so touching—you’ll shed tears even if you don’t have a family member with disability.

“We may not be street smart or highly intelligent, but we can still do a lot of things…. We deserve love and respect from everyone, much more from our family.” — Tinay (paraphrased speech)

The entire video reminds me of the message of my book and of our negative attitude when we are not secure and content with what we are blessed with physically and intellectually. That steals our happiness. With our critical spirit, we see what’s wrong and lacking with this and that person. We have so much to learn from a simpleminded mom like Tinay. To her, “Happy lang….” means to be happy is our only choice. It does mean we refuse to give room to worries and sour graping, but we choose to be thankful for what we have—no matter the situation.

Happy lang surely includes being appreciative of each one’s uniqueness as God’s creation. While intellectual pride manifests itself in looking down on others who may not have the same intelligence or professional status, such pride is out of place or inappropriate for someone as grateful as a special child and the Psalmist.

We may not have wished we were special. But just how happy are we these days?

🙂 🙂 🙂

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit them together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
It is amazing to think about.
Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.”

Psalm 139: 13-14 (TLB)

Our Spiritual Eyes

eyes

READ: Philippians 4:8-9

As an OC, I get irritated at times with mess, and I grow tired of too much unwholesome talks. Thank God that by His grace, He has given me eyes which dwell on the positive.

Whenever I see unpleasant or unfavorable situations, I normally get disappointed in a moment, but not after “wearing the eyes” that cool me down and bring me back to my normal adrenalin level. Thanks that these eyes are available whenever I need them.

The problem, though, is that sometimes I turn to be too independent. I forget those eyes, and I depend credulously on my own defective eyesight. The result—my surroundings and I repel, because both of us are “negatively charged.” I see somebody’s irresponsibility, and I get impatient. A brother or sister seems careless and unreasonable, and I become cynical. I glean through an unfulfilled dream, and I get bitter and depressed. Someone is in trouble, and I am too insensitive. Here come discouragement and disappointments.

Either an interpersonal or an intrapersonal conflict is present, simply because the God-given eyes are forgotten and left somewhere else. I have suffered a number of times the consequences of my neglect of these eyes. I treasure the lessons I’ve learned as I am still in the process of learning.

But God is not pleased when we keep on using our own eyes that center on ourselves—what we want and what we expect. Conflicts will be here and there if we won’t make use of the gift God has imparted.

Every Christian is just gifted with spiritual eyes. These eyes, which transcend superficiality and every form of facade, enable us to look not only to our own interests but also to the interest of others (Phil. 2:4).

Are we often caught grumbling as if we were carrying the whole world on our shoulders? Are we quick to detect imperfections, shortcomings and inconsistencies? Do we feel so discouraged and disappointed?

Perhaps we must learn the habit of “wearing our spiritual eyes.” These eyes focus on the positive side of everything and make us thankful under whatever circumstances. They represent the eyes of the Father. Do we look and see with His eyes?

“… Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

– Philippians 4:8

The Real Winner

READ: Psalm 37

A severe headache attacked late Friday night. I thought I wouldn’t make it to the 4:00 a.m. Dawn Prayer in our church. But after a short good night rest and deep sleep, I woke up Saturday at 3:30 a.m. feeling pretty well with an utterly vivid dream I just couldn’t forget. . . .

In my dream was the Pound for Pound King, Manny Pacquiao. He won the fight against Bradley, but he did not get what he should have gotten—something that’s supposed to be his!

Knowing that God sometimes gives revelations and warnings through dreams (in accordance with His Word), I told my husband confidently that Manny would win. While watching the Pacquiao-Bradley match, I even declared to my hubby and daughter the interpretation of my dream: that it’s a “sure win” except that Manny wouldn’t get Bradley knocked out.

After the 12th round, when everyone of us including our boxing hero was confident of the result, the announcement of the winner brought a big shock and disbelief. Bradley won (115-113) with the judges’ split decision. One sports commentator exclaimed, “Whew! It’s unbelievable! I am flabbergasted.” Manny Pacquiao himself voiced it out, “I respect the decision, but one  hundred percent I believe that I won the fight. . . . I don’t know what happened.”

The whole world (only in exception of Bradley and the two judges) has been so upset. I myself was fretting over a completely disgusting result, until the accurate interpretation of my dream surfaced:

Manny Pacquiao actually won. That something he was deprived of–that’s supposed to be his–stands for the Welterweight Champion’s belt. It belongs to him. For some reason that the two judges succumbed to, the belt was instead given to the undeserving Timothy Bradley.

Who is not smart enough to smell deceit or detect an outright questionable decision? We can go on with endless sighs and grumbling. But at the end of the day, we need to go back to our Sovereign God who is a God of purpose.

When the moment of truth gets shaded with lies and deception, it’s time to ask, “What does the Word of God say? What does God want us to do?”

Thank God that the winner knows how to respond. He’s indeed shaped for victory as depicted in the second to the last chapter of my first educational and inspirational book, Rediscovering Your Intelligence.

A winning attitude makes a real winner. A timely reminder from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (TEV) goes, “Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”

“… Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. A little while and the wicked will be no more, though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.”

–Psalm 37:7,10-13

Please feel free to review my book “Rediscovering Your Intelligence” on askDavid.com