It is Good to Remember… 

Throwback picture. Taken at 20 weeks.

Remembering God’s grace as I look back on the past few months. We (Nick, baby and I) have survived running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere in Kalimantan, a burst tyre on the highway, unexpected events that led to many changes in plans, many check ups at the clinic and hospital, hospitalisation, my friend and I getting chased down and followed by an un-gentleman driving a luxury car during my trip back to penang and the latest, running away from a fire at the eatery we were dining at in Kuching. 😂

God has never promised a trouble free life. But His grace is always sufficient for His children. 

Immensely grateful for the support and kindness of the different people He has put along our way to bring us shelter, aid and comfort. Thank you guys from the bottom of our heart. ❤

Hath Thou No Scar?

Imagine the pleasant surprise that awaited Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Instead of feeling the flames, they found themselves in the presence of the Son of God! What incredible joy they must have felt. When King Nebuchadnezzar called them out, I wonder if they thought, “Aww…do we have to?!”

How often do we fear suffering for Jesus–when actually God richest blessings and joy fall on those who are “counted worthy to suffer for His Name”. (Acts 5:41) Paul expressed how he wanted to suffer with Christ so he could experience a closer fellowship with Jesus through it. (Phil 3:10)

This life is too short to live “comfortably” here on earth. Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Heb 11:1 – 12:1) who have gone before us and found God faithful (even in great trial), let’s embrace their same faith–knowing that we have the same God. And may any wound or scar we receive along the way be counted as an eternal treasure. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

“Hast Thou No Scar?”

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendent star
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that encompassed me, I swooned;
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the master shall the servant be
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

Amy Carmichael,
Gold Cord: The Story of a Fellowship

“Irreversible and hopeless”

Have you ever found yourself in a position where your mistakes are irreversible or the situation hopeless? It could be the death of a loved one, your personal failure which led to irreversible consequences or even handling a difficult child or ageing parent.

Nothing could have been worse for Mary and Martha when their dearly loved brother died. The sisters had sent a message two days before his death, asking Jesus to come. They made a desperate request, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” They were expecting something out of their Lord, they believed that their bond between siblings and Jesus was close enough and therefore had the freedom to ask freely. It was also an appeal to Jesus’ compassion… He whom you love is ill

Have you ever pleaded with the Lord for something? For hours? Days? Months and years? Don’t despise a few hours of fretting as compared to days of suffering… Three hours can seem like forever if your child goes missing or your loved one is in the operating theatre undergoing major surgery…

Well, Jesus response was to tarry. John 11:5 says “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”, but what was His response? He stayed longer in the place where he was! Seems like dear Jesus was dilly-dallying. Have you ever felt like God was too busy? Or you begin to think it’s the lack of faith that causes unanswered prayer…

When Jesus finally arrived at the hometown of Lazarus, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Now Mr L could not have been any deader, for want of a better word. 🙂 Martha said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” I can hear the grief in her voice, disappointment, and maybe even slight resentment at Jesus’ apparent apathy towards their pain and desperation.

Jesus continued by saying, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha must have felt quite irritated by now, and replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” There are times when we feel frustrated, tired of being given cliche answers… Here are some samples – “God has a purpose and plan for you, just trust Him.” “He has gone to a better place.” “Look at the brighter side of things”… Haha, annoying isn’t it when people do not seem to understand your pain and throw out careless, thoughtless advice.

Jesus, still patient and unfazed by Martha’s emotional state continued, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Martha replied, “Yes Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Martha called for Mary who then quickly left her home and ran to the village street where Jesus was. When Mary saw Jesus, she fell to His feet and wept. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, along with her Jewish companions, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. (John 11:33) What was in Jesus’ mind? Deep grief and love for His brethren. Very likely, He was also thinking about His impending death on the cross. Anger could have been present too, anger at death and the thought of how He would be the answer to conquering death and evil…

Jesus wept. Jesus wept.

What sacred words. Our Lord. Whom we judge as far away, inattentive, too busy, neglectful.

Our shepherd weeps. He hurts. Do we even feel His pain, or are we so focused on our own pains and sufferings? Do we share our Lord’s grief when we see our fellow brethren suffer, when we see injustice in this world, poverty, suffering, brokenness in families? Maybe we are the ones who are really apathetic.

The story goes on about how Jesus commands Lazarus to arise… and how a miracle was performed that day.

My purpose in this post is to draw more attention to what happened prior to the miracle, because that’s where many of our struggles lie. We focus so much on wanting answers and solutions, when God is really more interested in the journey of our faith. If we resist these challenges, we will fail to learn about His goodness and character. We will fail to see His loving provision even in the moments of silence.

Let these moments of desperation, despondency, utter helplessness throw us down at the feet of Jesus. And lest we forget His humaneness, ponder on these words – Jesus wept.

Rainbows

“When a Christian consciously sees the smile and love of God during troubles, the true glory and beauty of that Christian’s life is shown to the world. Do you see only the rain of your current circumstances? What suffering are you wasting? As you trust His promises, God gives grace to triumph over circumstances so your suffering shines with His resurrection power. Will you purposefully look to see God’s glory revealed to you in your current trial?” -BSF Lesson 9 Series 1

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It has been a tough week, a week of failure, disappointment and frustration. I cannot ever remember taking failure so bad as I did last week. It felt like a slap in the face and definitely a wound to my pride. Pride. Never thought pride was one of my struggles since I wasn’t a very confident person anyway. HAH! How wrong I was.

I was talking to a friend one evening, who happens to have a similar medical condition as I do. As we were talking about the possible challenges the illness could bring to other aspects of our lives, I was telling him how I felt God was teaching me patience and humility though the blows I have been experiencing lately. Blows in my health, personal life and even in my work. It seemed like before I got over one challenge, another one was waiting for me… It really takes patience to bear these punches in stride, and humility to accept them while rejoicing with those who are experiencing the blessings that you have been waiting to have. He responded to me by saying, “I am so jelak of eating humble pie” (which literally means, he has humble pie coming out of his ears!) I could relate. I am sure some of you can too, right! I don’t think God is angry when we tell him that we have humble pie coming out of our ears, though He may lovingly respond, “It is good for you, my dear.”

Dear God, I desire to be brought into Your green pastures and still waters. Help me not to waste this season, by only looking at the rain and grim circumstances. Let me be reminded by the rainbows of Your promises that better days are to come. Better days, not because I receive what I want, but better days because I learn to want whatever You desire me to have.

To desire the things that are truly important.

And then, I shall truly not be in want.

Thanksgiving

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. -St. John of Avila

Good night, my dear readers. Remember to thank the Lord for something He has done for you today. 

The unattractiveness of a complaining spirit…

Image

Taken by my bro, Sam 🙂

I’m back!

It’s funny how I tend to be inspired with a lot to say on days that I’m busy but when I actually have time to blog, my mind becomes an empty canvas (in a bad way-I am uninspired).

Have had a lot on my mind recently. There is always the question of “Why did God bring me through this whole roller coaster ride, to invest so much time and prayer and effort (of many wonderful people too!), just for all these to come to naught?” I have come to the acceptance that there will be no answers for these questions, at least not in the near future.

Why does God allow my pain to prolong? Isn’t one kind of pain enough? Pain externally and also pain internally…  Then I begin to make sinful comparisons and wonder why others seem to have it so easy for them (yeah, I know. Smack my head.)

A complaining spirit saps you of joy. It clouds your vision – overwhelms you with your heartaches and trials and clouds your eyes to God’s goodness and the many blessings you already have in your life.

We tend to see complaining as a “milder” sin compared to lying, anger or lust, but judging from how God punished the Israelites for complaining in the wilderness, we had better take heed.

God repeatedly warns in His word about trusting and obeying Him, remembering His goodness, not forgetting His discipline and having eyes of faith when all looks bleak.

When I complain, it not only discourages the person who listens to it, but it brings dishonour to the Lord Whom I profess to be sovereignly wise, always loving and all powerful.

If only my responses could be right through these trials, so that God’s glory could be shown amidst the rubble and broken pieces of my life… No, I have not reached that stage yet. Christ be praised when that day comes 🙂

I will not pray for an easy path to walk on, for God has commanded us to carry our cross daily and follow Him… But I pray for stronger faith, vision with the end in mind, and a willing and surrendered heart.

Some of my favourite verses this week:

Deuteronomy 7:12-13

English Standard Version (ESV)

12 “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you.

1 Corinthians 10:9-13

9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God bless! Have a good weekend!