A Life Undeserved

If only academic problems were the only problems plaguing me. If that were the case, life in medical school would be so much easier. It’s true, and I always knew it was, that following God’s calling for my life would be no walk in the park. But I never expected it to be this bad.

It is as they say, that the race would be riddled with entanglements. Distractions. Things that trip you and make it so difficult to get back up again. When you finally do, what is left of your energy and motivation is but just a few drops of oil dribbling down to the bottom of a steaming gas tank. And instead of running the race, you end up shuffling. Crawling even. Desperately wondering how you’re going to reach the end with your heart shattered into a thousand pieces.

Sometimes the things that trip you aren’t necessarily evil. It’s not always sin. A lot of times, it’s a gift that God himself gives you. Something good, like an opportunity, favor in the eyes of men, a dear friend, or even a childhood dream. Something that draws you to thank him for each and every day.

And when all is perfect, and you feel that nothing can go wrong, there’s a plot twist, and God takes it away from you. And in an instant, your whole world shatters, and walking the road to the kingdom becomes just a little bit harder. A little bit lonelier.

I am currently reading the book of I Samuel, I saw the faith of David when he went up to King Saul and said that he would challenge Goliath, saying that because God helped him kill the wild animals who threatened his sheep, he would be able to slay the giant who threatened God’s people.

And I’m torn inside. On one hand, I’m thinking, “Wow, what amazing faith, this David has.” I knew how he would swear by the name of God to defeat the Philistine who threatened Israel and become a powerful and mighty king.

On the other hand, I’m thinking, “He has something terrible coming up.” I’m thinking of his entire affair with Bathsheba, his inborn child, the rebellion of his son, and the rape of his daughter. I’m thinking of how even a righteous man, in an instant, can have his entire horizon to warp into obscurity.

But then I stop and think. Could there ever be anyone righteous enough to deserve God’s blessings? Is there any one man who can dare go up to God and make a demand by his own merit? There is truly none. I am a child of God and a follower of Christ, but even then, I can never demand that from him. Even if I have plans and dreams, it is God who ultimately determines what happens in my life.

Even Jesus Christ himself, a man wholly righteous and One with God the Father, did not get what he wanted. He could have been a great earthly king, ruler of many kingdoms, and respected and honored by all men. But in obedience and humility, he conceded to His Father’s will, giving himself up to death on a wooden cross. Because of His obedience, He was glorified. And because of His sacrifice, I am set free from death’s power. I am destined for an eternity in the Father’s embrace. An embrace undeserved.

By this truth alone, I am thankful. By that, I am humbled. I realize now that even my wildest dreams, I do not deserve. Fame, acceptance, glory, I deserve none of that. All the blessings I have in my life are undeserved. Yet, in God’s love for me through Jesus Christ, I am accepted as His son and destined for a wonderful life lived serving Him. A life filled with blessing, promise, and wonders I could never dream of. A life undeserved.

God does everything for a reason. And when my life is shaken up, I can see now that it’s only so He can bless me more. When I remember again that He died and rose from the dead to bless me with freedom and eternity, I am reminded that I have been blessed with something that can never be taken away from me: a part in God’s loving plan. And with this renewed sense of identity, I get back twofold whatever was lost: more opportunities to serve Him, favor in the eyes of God, more chances to love, and more creative ways to dream.

It is through my identity in Christ, that I am being continually transformed into a new creation. And with this transformation is the hope that I may become more like him.

Seeing my problems now from His eyes, it’s almost like they were never there at all. He has given me a renewed sense of purpose, and a renewed perspective on my life.

A life undeserved.

Job

God I don’t know what I’ve been running from
Still, I can’t help but feel afraid.
The memories of yesterday are just so dear to me
I’m scared that they will all be torn away

God, all my feelings are distracting me
It’s hard for me focus on the now
I know I’m supposed to have a role in your great plan
I only wish that you would show me how

Because it’s you who put inside me the desires of my heart
It’s coz of you that I can rise to face the day
Coz of you, I learned to laugh, I learned to live, I learned to love
You gave it all to me, and took it all away.

Thinking for the Future

I aspire to work in a neurology residency program in the USA. Preferably somewhere on the east coast like in Massachusetts or in Virginia. Ever since I had cancer as a child, I’ve always wanted some sort of education in the USA, in order to give back somehow. I want to become a neurologist, a teacher, a researcher, someone who will inspire other people and lead them to God through what I do. Though there’s nothing wrong with being idealistic and having dreams, I realized very recently that it’s important to be grounded and have a perspective of realism.

I was talking to my dad this afternoon. He asked me what I had planned for the future, particularly how I saw myself financially after I graduated from medical school in 2020 and got into residency. I told him that I didn’t expect to earn much from residency, and that I would only start earning with significant profit once I finished and became a neurology consultant. This was regardless of whether I would end up in a residency here in the Philippines or in the States.

After I told him about what to expect in the future, my dad gave a follow-up question and asked me how much I expected my day-to-day cost of living would be. After I told him about my daily food, cellphone, rent and travel expenses, he asked me more questions. How much would internet be? Electricity? Clothing? Taxes? This made me stop to think, have I given my life a reality check?

Thankful for a dad who reminds me to think long-term.

Last night’s dream

I had a dream that I was in an art class. One day, I was sitting in the classroom and submitting ny artwork, which I think was acrylic paint on canvas. I left the room when class was done, only to realize that I had another painting due, to be submitted at the plenary later that day. So in an attempt to cram, I set to create a large watercolor, with a depiction of the earth in the top center, and I would fill in the remaining space with random things. I remember explaining to a classmate with me at the time that I chose watercolor due to the fact that it would dry up faster.

Blessings and Curses

This will be a really short post, because I still have much to do. I have a quiz and two exams tomorrow, and I have to study and get rested.

The book of Deuteronomy is essentially Moses’ last set of words to the Israelites, before he dies and passes the torch of leadership to Joshua. It’s essentially a reminder to an entire new generation of Israelites, the children of the generation that had been delivered from slavery in Egypt but perished in the wilderness due to their rebelliousness and disobedience. Moses was reminding them of the laws God had given to their nation at Mt. Zion, and of their divine covenant. I was reading my Bible and came across a set of scriptures from Deuteronomy.

‘Cursed is anyone who carves or casts an idol and secretly sets it up. These idols, the work of craftsmen, are detestable to the Lord.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who dishonors father or mother.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who steals property from a neighbor by moving a boundary marker.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who leads a blind person astray on the road.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with one of his father’s wives, for he has violated his father.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with an animal.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his sister, whether she is the daughter of his father or his mother.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his mother-in-law.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who attacks a neighbor in secret.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who accepts payment to kill an innocent person.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who does not affirm and obey the terms of these instructions.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

– Deuteronomy 27:15-26, NLT

This was essentially a set of curses that would be placed upon anyone who would rebel against God’s law. It was a serious, scary part of the Bible that reinforces how the law reminds us of how cursed we are as sinners. And yet, in reading, I couldn’t help but recall a similar set of verses that take place a few dozen Bible books later.

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,[a]
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,[b]
for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
or the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

– Matthew 5:3-10, NLT

This, to me, was an intriguing parallel. Because of our sinful nature, the law became a burden to us. But when He came to give us the gift of salvation, Christ gave us the chance to set things right with God and experience blessing with Him. He fulfilled the law and by his blood gave us the gift of salvation, so that we may be united with Him in His Kingdom.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we no longer follow the Law as a set of rules to meticulously conform to for the rest of our lives. Instead, we receive His Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts. He renews us and gives us the Heart of Worship that enables us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, day by day. And His grace empowers us to follow His will, which is the Spirit behind His law. Because of Him, we are freed from all the curses of sin, and instead, we can experience in our lives all the extraordinary blessings poured out from God’s bountiful generosity.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

– Matthew 5:17, NLT

What a blessing it is to have Christ as Lord!