Will you still praise Him?
I asked myself this question when I got stranded at a coffee shop yesterday. I was supposed to go home, but since the engine of my car did not start, I had no choice but to stay and wait for help. “No way, Lord. Not again! Another hurdle this month?” I felt annoyed and ashamed at the same time. But, God has always been patient in revealing impurities like this in me. As He is allowing me to go through these moments of brokenness, I see how He is also graciously sustaining me.
In the past month, I have struggled with two unexpected hurdles. I will be sharing more about them and what the Lord has been teaching me through them.
HURDLE #1: HEALTH
There is an infection (not contagious) in my body and it has been here for more than three weeks now. Despite me taking antibiotics, praying, and going through treatments, it still won’t go away! Aside from causing me pain, it also affected my usual activities. I needed to take a few leaves at work, postpone my exercise routine at the gym (Hello, monthly gym fee!) and my participation at a table tennis tournament. Managing my time, energy, and money as I recover from it has also been challenging for me. Each day, I hoped and prayed for the Lord to finally heal me. But for some reason, He still is letting me experience it, even as I am typing these words.
Through this, the Lord continues to remind me to trust in His character.
He is GOOD and He will always be good in every situation we’re in. By His grace, I started seeing His goodness through His provision. I realized that I didn’t need to spend for consultation fees or treatments outside because my parents (who are also doctors) can check up on me anytime at home. Also, I could have my medicines reimbursed at work, as part of the benefits for the employees. But, more than the physical aspect of this situation, each time my heart gets discouraged, the Lord continues to comfort me with His presence. He is with me. Through this weakness, by God’s grace, I find myself drawing closer to Him and Him drawing closer to me.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” –Isaiah 41:10
HURDLE #2: CAR TROUBLE
In my 11 years of driving, I have not experienced bumping another vehicle until last week. My stubborn self has always been distracted whenever I drive around, and this time, the Lord did not want me to escape the consequences of my actions. Unfortunately, I have learned the skill of putting on make-up, navigating through my phone, and organizing my bag WHILE driving. I can try to blame the luxury of time I have as I am usually stuck in traffic, but I can really only blame myself.
On my way to work last Monday, I was getting something from my bag on the passenger’s seat when I suddenly felt a loud bang in front of me. I bumped the back of a white van and I immediately felt a cold shiver in my body. The driver of the van went down and asked for my license as I sincerely apologized to him. He told me to meet him inside BGC so that we would not cause traffic along C5. As soon as we got to an emergency bay, he approached me and asked for a specific amount to pay for the damages I caused as he was already running late for work. I only had HALF of the amount with me at that time, so I asked if he could accept it instead. By God’s grace, the driver agreed to let me go, gave my license back, and received my cash payment. You could just imagine how embarrassed and humbled I was before God as I continued driving to our office.
Later that day, my manager and supervisor called me for a lunch meeting and the first thing they mentioned to me was: “Congratulations! We are promoting you! Yaaay!” The crazy thing about it was the amount of salary increase was the exact amount the driver was asking me to pay him earlier. Also, half of the salary increase was already credited to my account three days before the incident! God, in His perfect timing and sovereignty, graciously provided for me even before I got into an accident!
In this situation, I felt the Lord break me as He convicted me of the importance of obeying Him in the smallest things, even when no one is looking. The grace He showed me that day broke my heart even more and moved me to not only remove the distractions while I am driving, but also, to let go of the distractions that hinder me from honoring Him and seeking Him in my heart.
God used these two hurdles to speak to me in the recent weeks and I thought I had learned my lesson. But when I had another hurdle yesterday, the pride in my heart overflowed as I blurted out my frustration. “Lord, why do I feel like, even as I obey You, You still continue to break me? Is this how it’s supposed to be?” I went out of my car, walked back to the coffee shop, grumbled in my heart, and started worrying about the additional expenses for the car again. That was when I felt the Lord speak to me: “Nic, what if I don’t take the pain away? What if I keep letting you experience more hurdles? Will you still find it in your heart to praise Me?”
He then reminded me of Joseph’s testimony in the Bible and how he continued to seek and honor God in the highlights and hurdles of his life. He also reminded me of Jesus’ example and how He humbly surrendered His life to God, even though He is also Lord and King. My desire and ability to seek and obey the Lord comes from Him. It isn’t about me and it never will be. I asked for forgiveness from the Lord as I acknowledged the pride in my heart. The same God who was with Joseph then is still the same God today. What a comfort it is to know that He is good, Holy, faithful, sovereign, loving, and gracious. That He loves His children enough to discipline us, even if it means letting us experience brokenness again and again.
By God’s grace, my dad came to the rescue and helped me jumpstart the car. As soon as we got home, he also assisted me in having my car’s battery replaced that same day.
I share these things not to boast about anything except for His power and grace in my weaknesses. In whatever struggle we may go through, no matter how big or small, I pray that these verses would be real in our hearts and in our lives, for the glory of God.
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” –Psalm 34:1
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sharing with you a song I wrote recently, inspired by being broken before the Lord. I hope it encourages your heart to keep your eyes on Him!