It is a Monday, a day that most employees in every busy city dread. Ugh. Right? Sometimes, things get too hectic and frantic, anxieties pile up, stress adds greys to your hair, or if you’re a man, stress reduces your hair……. But anyway, Mark 6:31 says, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” This is so that amidst all this chaos, we will be able to find serenity and hear the voice of God.
Today, after some quiet, I had a yearning to talk to someone from our BLD community — just talk, you know, normal chit-chat — and God answered my prayers right away when I bumped into one of the mother figures from our church. Some may say it was divine providence. To me, it was weird… Because there I was, walkin’ around, being the normal person I am (or so I think I’m normal), neutral and a bit relaxed, and then as soon as I start talking to her, I found myself fighting to hold back my tears. Weird.
But after some time, I just gave into it and we sat down in a nearby coffee shop. Unknowingly, I needed to unload some things. I had a confession to make… and it was this:
Since December, I had been struggling with my faith… Nobody knew, but whenever I was asked to participate in an church activity, or simply hang out with people in the community, I found myself initially not wanting to go. If not, I was thinking: Ok, I will go, but I’ll disappear from the scene right when I feel the urge to. I didn’t want to show anyone I was weak, and at the same time, I wanted to brush away whatever hurt I was feeling. But those things never happened. I faced weakness and I was always present despite my hesitation, even if it meant shame or embarrassment.
During those times, I felt like I was living in the darkness as I found myself feeling the after effects of many losses. I was taking family for granted, my path in my career was once again uncertain, past traumas haunted me once more, and I felt most alone and wanted to remain alone to wallow in my weakness. It was a sad sight, really. I was at times, angry at myself and I was especially angry at the situation. I was also questioning God if He really heard me — these were the down days of my faith.
But then, I stumbled upon this quote by Al Gore: “In a time of darkness, you don’t curse the darkness, you light a candle.” And on the 24th of December last year, when I felt that it was most dark for me, I lit a candle.
That tiny flame was the only light in my room, and it symbolized how much I felt God present in my life at that particular moment. A mere 2 seconds, I felt an inkling of Jesus’ presence in my heart. That was enough, at least on that day. In the succeeding days, I lit up more candles — more and more when the days progressed. It was just like our SE Grand Reunion theme: “Blessed are all who wait on the Lord” (Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6) I was waiting on the Lord.
John Ortberg writes: We have to wait for the Lord to make the storm disappear. In some ways, ‘waiting on the Lord’ is the hardest part of trusting. It is not the same as ‘waiting around.’ It is putting yourself with utter vulnerability in his hands.
And everyday I waited as I lit up candles in my room. Until today, after confessing and talking about it with a caring woman from our community, I don’t feel the need to light one anymore.
John 8:12 says: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
My situation hasn’t changed — all that I lost is still lost — but lighting those candles made me grow more in faith. Now that I don’t wallow in my weakness and focus more on the strength of God, I feel like I am able to step into situations with more confidence, own up to my past failures and accomplishments, open my heart up more to experiences, and start and end my days with a huge smile on my face. All there was to do was wait for the Lord during that dark storm in my life and come aside by myself to listen for His voice… He was there. He had always been there.