If you think that because I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ and madly, deeply, passionately in love with the Lover of my souls, I will be "spared" from any kind of physical or even emotional discomfort, think again.
I want to shoot this arrow straight to the heart of every person who's reading this: YOU are NOT immune from disappointment, discouragement, pain, hardships and trials if you become a Christian (if you're not one yet). BUT the difference would be borne out of this one thing: YOUR HEART. "Surrendering" to Jesus, contrary to popular opinion, is not a passive choice. It is an active, willful decision (heart AND mind) to put everything in the hands of a Sovereign, Omnipotent God who KNOWS all things and is NOT surprised at the choices we make.
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?"
True, we can never fully understand "matters of the heart," simply because we are sinful beings since birth. We are "wired" to be connected to the Vine so we can "successfully" go through (and enjoy) our earthly existence. Otherwise, we rot into insignificance.
A few months ago, we transferred to a house located in Novaliches. I was "in denial" to say that it's in Quezon City (gives me the illusion of nearness) when geographically, it is in Caloocan. I used to 'live' about 15minutes (30minutes the most) from my workplace before the transfer but nowadays, I have to give at least 3 hours allowance so I can get pressureless-ly to Eastwood City.
A minute of tardiness for me these days would merit termination because I am (still) employed by the company on a 'mercy' note. I could have been sacked last month but instead of termination, they gave me "stern final warning. Talk about "pressure."
I must confess that since I entered the call centre industry, I've been angry more frequently. I tried to analyze the source and it boils down to one reason: control. To say that I am not concerned about my AHT (average handling time) is hypocrisy. I am thankful that the "anger" is confined within the corners of my workstation and that my team manager is supportive and understanding of my struggle.
(This has gone far longer than the original transcript, but anyhow, if you'd still allow me to be with you in the next few minutes, thank you. ^_^)
The moment I recognized the source of my anger, I made a conscious effort to be on guard for "warning signals." I mind my tone, the heat in my earlobes and the palpitation of my heart. I wrote words in my Notepad to help me counter this "vicious" emotion.
I put words like: "Forsake anger in favor of forgiveness," as I've learned from Charles Stanley, and verses like "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry." "Anger resides in the laps of fools." "In your anger, do not sin.."
From time to time, I am also reminded of this square sticker I see whenever I traverse the public market on the way home. Such sticker has letters big enough for a person with 150/150 myopic vision to see from afar: "WANTED:KAPAYAPAAN."
What really is KAPAYAPAAN (PEACE)?
Let's play word association and perhaps the following would come up: SILENCE. QUIETNESS. SOLITUDE. CEASEFIRE. DOWNTIME. CHILLAX. VACATION. ME-TIME. PEACE OF MIND. Perhaps you may even visualize the spectrum of DUSK and DAWN.
But how about "A heart at peace"? Have you imagined what that looks like?
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30
"A heart at peace gives LIFE to the body," because a heart at peace DOES NOT ENVY. A heart at peace is confident of its identity and it actually REJOICES with the success of others, not threatened by them.
A heart at peace is optimistic. It does not bank on a false sense of hope but on the UNSHAKABLE TRUTH of the sovereignty of a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God who knows what's best for it.
A heart at peace isn't lonely. A person can be in the midst of friends and loved ones yet still feel lost and lonely but a heart at peace is comfortable in solitude, communing with its Maker moment by moment each day, walking by faith and not by sight.
A heart at peace knows to Whom it belongs. At the end of the day, a heart at peace may have had to deal with some discouragement and disappointment but its firm resolve drives it to continue doing what it ought to do: to supply blood and oxygen to the rest of the Body.
A heart at peace is generous with forgiveness. It chooses not to be bitter but to be gracious in defeat and humble in victory. It turns foes into allies because a heart at peace quiets itself even when it wants so much to speak up and defend itself.
A heart at peace is not afraid. It steps out of the boat and walks on water, knowing fully well that arm-in-arm with its Creator, it can never sink in the waters of failure.
A heart at peace does not grumble or complain.
A heart at peace waits. For it recognizes that God's timing is always perfect though man might think otherwise.
A heart at peace overflows with joy. It acknowledges the reality around it -- all the pain and suffering and injustice and immorality prevalent in the world -- and chooses not to wallow in them but to take action through prayer for a heart at peace knows fully well that the very reason it exists is to stay connected with the Vine.
A heart at peace is radiant with Love for it has been washed clean by the precious blood of its Lover.
A heart at peace is after the heart of God -- and is unashamed to let the world around it know. For a heart at peace, though a work in progress, knows fully well that there is NO OTHER way to live a truly purposeful, meaningful life than to stay connected with the Vine. (Haven't I already said that?)
Oh, my dear heart, are you at peace?