Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When I said, "yes" to God...

Out of the unexpected, I was asked by our pastor's wife to share my testimony on God's great love during a spiritual retreat of graduating college (Tourism, Nutrition, and Hotel and Restaurant Management) students in one of the universties in the city.

I wasn't sure at first as to what to do with the opportunity (and a challenge!) considering that I was still struggling with a worldly loss, which I now believe was never a loss in the eyes of my perfect God. Thoughts of whether I was worthy or deserving haunted my decision-making but I knew very well that God has a purpose for me. I finally said "yes" as I have vowed to grab every opportunity to talk about God.

I intend to share what I testified during that event (and I am quite excited at the thought of it) but for that, I need more space and a longer time. But I will do so, in His perfect time.

For now, I would like to share what I have learned from the moment I said "yes" to the opportunity to share God's love to the moment that I was actually doing it until the after-event:

1) The moment I said, "yes," the enemy has been attacking me non-stop, determined to thwart God's perfect plan.

Whether it was a tiny-weeny detail that my fiance forgot or a minute mistake I made, I was quite irritable and easily-angered. Every little thing was magnified. My sinful self was up and about and the enemy knew it and he made sure to tempt me with every available circumstance.

I would be a hypocrite to say that I did not fall for any of the temptations. I did. I was impossible to deal with at some point and I allowed my emotions to control me. What was helpful was that, by God's infinite grace and the Holy Spirit's convictions, I was able to identify the enemy's tactic and I relied on His promise everytime I fall.

2) I always had to constantly and solely rely on God's power.

I am nothing without Christ. And I could not do anything without Him. The morning before I spoke, I wrote down in a piece of paper a detailed outline (yes, I am a perfectionist and I am excited to share how the Lord has been re-shaping me in this area) of the points that I wanted to be included in my testimony. I prayed hard for Him to speak through me and to use me as instrument of His love.

When I was finally speaking in front of the 60+ students, all my notes flew from my mind and I could no longer remember anything nor did I have the chance to re-check that piece of paper. I really had to rely on God alone and as expected, He enabled me to do so.

3) I did not have to do it perfectly because my inefficiency is the primary reason why His grace exists.

Did I say I was a perfectionist? Well, my old self was screaming my mistakes right after I did the testimony and the small-group sharing thereafter. All the "I-should-have-done-this" and "I-shouldn't-have-done-that" kept on flooding and it was only by the extra-ordinary grace of God that overcame all of these insecurities.

The truth of the matter is that, I am not perfect and I never will be. It is God's grace who fills all that I lack or those that I do not have. More importantly, it is the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts of those young students and my job was only to proclaim the greatness, the majesty, the glory, and the faithfulness of God. If there were some points (which I thought were important to share) I failed to mention, verses I did not share, or illustrations I did not emphasize, I trust the Lord that He will make a way--that He will bring His other children or any other way to further strengthen them.

4) I did not testify to please men or glorify myself but only for the purpose of pleasing and glorifying the Lord Almighty.

I don't know if it is just me but I assume most (even Christians) will agree that we humans all love to have the spotlight. After I gave my testimony, I was expecting/hoping/wishfully thinking that someone from the crowd will come to me, shake my hand, and with tears in his/her eye will say, "Thank you. I was so touched at how God worked in your life. Thank you for sharing."

But nobody did. And at first, I thought that perhaps, I wasn't effective. Maybe, I told myself, I should have just declined. But by God's grace, however, I was equipped to remember that I did it not to please men or to glorify myself but only for Christ alone.

When Christ's name was preached by me or someone else, God is pleased. Period.

To end this entry, I would like to leave you all with this photo that I found online. And remember that the Bible says that we should all do this with gentleness and respect: