2015: A year of whys
A year of ________.
This practice started last 2014. Since then, I vowed to force (!!!!) myself to blog about how the previous year went and to summarize it with just one word.
In 2014, the word was pride-shattering. So before 2014 ended, I would respond with “pride-shattering” whenever people would ask me about how my 2014 was.
It has already been days since the start of 2016 and now that I think about it, the perfect word that would probably describe 2015 is WHY.
Why. It wasn’t just used a question. I guess all throughout 2015, I wasn’t just asking “Why?”. I have probably used “Why” as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb. It wasn’t just a question, it became my response to most of the situations in my life in 2015.
Why, why, why
I cannot even count the times that I have responded with the word “Why” in everything that has happened last year, whether in the Philippines, in the world, in the lives of other people, in the lives of the people I know, and even in my own life. For myself at least, this lengthy blog would have been insufficient if I were to list down all my whys in 2015.
Why are You making me do this?
Why on earth did my name appear in the list of accepted applicants in MIS?
Why did You spare my report from my professor’s cruelty?
Why in the world did that work?
Why do they trust me so much with this?
Why am I even surviving at this job?
Why does it have to be so hard?
Why do they have to live so far from here?
Why is it taking me a long time to move on?
Why are You making us wait?
Why did my heart had to be broken? (and why is it that when hearts break, they don’t break even? ha ha)
Why am I so forgetful (but when it comes to forgetting the things and people that I should be forgetting, my mind decides to engrave the things and people that I will be better off not thinking about?)
Why should I be friends with him?
Why do they have to leave?
Why do I have to pray for him?
Why do You want me to talk to her?
Why can’t she get it?
Why are they so stubborn?
Why doesn’t she understand?
Why do we have to experience this crisis?
Why did I get to have grades this high, grades I sure didn’t deserve?
Why can’t they see the point?
And etc. etc.
The answers to most of these questions have not crossed my mind yet, and there are a number of reasons why.
Some of these are just passing questions that enter my mind and stay there for just mere 10 seconds or so. At best, these are stored in my mind for a day or two, and then will disintegrate in a week, except when I have written them down (which I don’t usually do, but when I do, I usually forget which paper or notebook I used).
Others are questions that, I am aware, are needing much attention that I haven’t been able to provide lately.
Most questions are, honestly, hard to “answer” because I know the answer, but the answer hurts, so I try to stall and convince myself that the answer is not yet known.
Why can’t I see it?
One of my commonly used why’s in 2015, which was carried over to the first few days of 2016 is: Why can’t I see it?
Could also mean, “Where is it?” or “How come it isn’t happening to me?”.
I am talking about the time of prayer and fasting that our church commits to annually. Hopefully, we do not just practice this just so we could twist the arm of God and in doing so, forcing him to do what we want Him to do for us. It’s not even making God feel guilty about the “difficult” effort that we are trying to exert as we deviate from our usual feast. I like how Joseph Bonifacio puts it, that fasting is willfully and joyfully depriving ourselves because of the joy that comes with the increased sensitivity, relationship, and knowledge of God.
People kept talking about breakthroughs, and how God is in the business of revealing Himself to His people through the breakthroughs that He allow to happen. It’s not just material or tangible breakthroughs, because again, more than receiving all these, the ultimate goal really is to have a fresher and deeper understanding of who God is.
Yes, I am believing for my grandma’s salvation and I want to see that happen, but what I want more is to be reminded that this salvation is very much possible, because God is the Savior.
Yes, I am looking forward to overcoming the financial difficulty that were are currently in and I want to see that happen really soon, but more than being able to pay the bills and to buy the things we want and need, what I wanted more is to be reminded that God is a promise-keeping Planner whose plans are not going to harm us.
Yes, I am claiming that the Philippines will one day bow down to Jesus and I long to see that happen, but what I wanted more is to be reminded that God is the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Ruler of all nations.
But it seemed as if my desire was plunged into the “Why” pool again, since I was asking “Why (can’t I see it)?” again.
At least that was what I thought.
I call into existence things that do not exist
In the years that I have been walking with God, I’ve discovered that sometimes, God has this habit of choosing not to answer my questions outright. I would ask 5, 10, 20 questions, and in all those questions, He would simply provide 1 answer, and that single answer is enough to blow me away.
So when He does answer, I am left speechless, not because I am frustrated at His “laziness” to answer, but because I am knocked out of my foolish thinking that His “silence” means abandonment.
Me: Where?!?! Where is it????
Me: Wait, why can’t I see it?
Me: ….okay. It’s…it’s fine…I guess.
Him: I call to existence the things that do not exist. (Romans 4:17)
Day 5 of our Annual Prayer and Fasting, God spoke to me so loudly that I couldn’t help but weep at how faithful He is at His promise, that those who seek will find.
It was a buzzer-beater assurance that God sees our hearts, and when we delight ourselves in Him, He will gladly reveal Himself to us.
As of this writing, there are still plenty of items left unticked in my “list” of faith goals. I am not worried because I know that God is going to show off anyway, but more than seeing every item in this list come to pass, I am more excited to know and understand who God is. My knowledge of Him as a Healer if probably at 30% right now, so I’m excited to see it increase into 35 or 45, as He allows me to see healing happen in the people around me. etc. How much I know in Him being a provider is probably proportional to how often He is going to remind us that even if we are unable to buy certain things, we remain more valuable than sparrows. Etc.
It’s an all-encompassing thing, really. Because I find that when you know who God is, the list will no longer matter. All you are going to be caring about is to keep knowing who He is and then eventually come up with a new list: a list of things that you would like.
For the year _____, I’d like to….
( ) Know more about how He lived while He walked on earth 2000 years ago
( ) Love the way He loves
( ) Understand what His stands are in unconventional topics
( ) Acquire His passion to serve
( ) Be as compassionate as He is
( ) Fight for my time with the Father
Of course, right now, I haven’t really figured out yet what my one-word summary of 2016 is going to be (’cause ya know, it’s still the start of the 1st quarter of 2016, so that would be crazy haha).
But even if it’s just a few days into 2016, God didn’t let my foolishness pass. My heart wasn’t right, and I was focusing on how to grab hold of my “breakthrough”, rather than fixing my eyes on Him and Him alone. So naturally, I needed to be rebuked. And I’m glad I got the rod.
So while I still don’t have a one-word to describe or guide my 2016, I can always trust that there is always one Name that will suffice (for this year and the years to come): JESUS.
I may be unaware of what others are going through right now, but I am certain that in the same way that God spoke to me, He will also speak to you, person reading this. May your encounter with Him spur you into cultivating the same desires that He has caused me to have below:
When I tend to forget, let me remember that You can sharpen the memory of the forgetful.
When I remember stuff that I shouldn’t be remembering anymore, wipe out my memories that do not please You and replace them with memories that will glorify You.
When I choose to wallow in self-pity whenever I feel unloved and rejected, lead me to the Cross so I get to remember the greatest display of love and lavish pursuit for the fallen.
When I couldn’t forgive, remind me that I once was the object of Your wrath, but I am a sinner who has been forgiven much, a sinner only saved because of Your immense forgiveness.
When I deliberately refuse to listen, let me be rebuked in the hardest way possible so that in the days to come, I’d choose obedience over stubbornness.
When I am reminded of my filth, assure me again of the incredible capability of Your blood to wash away the nastiest stains and make new a once good-for-nothing life.
When I become doubtful of my salvation, enable me to understand fully what the Bible says about grace for the undeserving and mercy for the unworthy, once and for all.
When failures overwhelm me, show me again that if victory has been made possible for the seemingly hopeless case such as my freedom, then “defeats” shouldn’t really bother me anymore.
When I get confused by twisted doctrines and false teachings, point me only to the truth of Your Word and grant me the wisdom to understand You the way You’d want to be understood.
When I begin to get cocky about my now-identity, shoot down my pride and blast my foolishness to look past the truth that I am because You are.
And when I question everything (again), cause me to be secured that there will be times that I will not get answers to my queries, and that’s okay. Because no matter how many questions my mind can conjure, You will always prove that You remain sufficient to satisfy my longing to understand.
Just please tell me why
…was what I used to cry out to God last year.
It’s already the 31st of January of 2016 and in a few minutes, it’ll be the 1st of February.
If I am to be honest, there were still 31+ times that I have uttered the word “why” this January.
But thank God for Romans 4:17.
It might take a few months, or years, or decades, before my whys get answered. I may also have to think about the possibility that I may never find the answers to all my whys. But as I rise after this painful rebuke that I just got, may I always be reminded of the truth in Romans 4:17.
And that always and forever, His “because I AM” will be sufficient to satisfy my “But why, God?”.