“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for
tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
exception, I’m one of those who worry a lot about the future, of the ‘what
if’s’, of the unknown. It is
tiring to say the least. There are
nights when I could not sleep worrying about my future: of unpaid bills, of getting the next
project, of what my life will be like a few years from now. Being single and a freelancer has its
freedom and perks, but it also comes with some worries.
Matthew 6 several times, especially verses 25-34. These are verses often introduced to the young believers and
a comfort for those who have been in the faith for some time. Though I’m the latter, there are
moments that these do not bring comfort.
(Yes, me of little faith!)
How can I not worry when bills are piling up and I start to feel creaks
and pain in my body that were not felt a few days ago?
time with my 7yo nephew who has Autism, made the verses 25-34 clearer. Miguel’s therapists have been teaching
him the concept of ‘today, yesterday and tomorrow’. He has difficulty understanding the concept of ‘yesterday
and tomorrow’, but has no problem with ‘today’. Miguel focuses on ‘today’, the present, the now: what he
eats today, the things he could do today, his schedule for the day. He does not worry about yesterday, more
so about tomorrow. He happily goes
about his life, knowing that his parents and family will take care of him for
the ‘tomorrows’. Miguel has faith
in his parents and family.
This is what
the Lord is asking of me, of us:
to trust Him, to have faith in Him who gave His life for us. Like Miguel, I could trust in my Lord
for He knows everything about me, even my unspoken and hidden desires of the
heart. I could trust my Creator for
He created me for His purpose and He works everything for the good of those who
I could put my
faith in Him who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The troubles of today are enough: of
understanding His word and applying it to the present; of responding in
Christ-likeness when you encounter difficult people or circumstance; of being a
trustworthy steward even in the little things; of sharing who our Lord and
Savior is to our family, friends and the people that cross our paths; and of
thanking and praising Him for today’s abundant blessings.
Knowing that the Lord has our back (and front, center, sides, above and below), we could joyfully rest in His peace!
*My reflection on “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip” by Michelle Bengtson
You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one.
Luke 10:41 (NLT)
Am I Martha or
Mary? Sadly, I’m the one who
worries and gets busy with doing a million things. I tag things as ‘urgent’ and put needless stress on myself. It’s very tiring and I don’t want it
I want to be
like Mary. That means
changing my ways and thoughts and having the right perspective — which is
having the Lord’s perspective. In
the passages above, Jesus says there are few things needed. (Really? The Martha in me reacts. How about the deadlines, the meetings,
the errands, cleaning, etc?) But
Jesus points out Mary. Mary knew
what was needed and she focused her time, energy and thoughts on that. She pursued Jesus, listened to Him and
meditated on His words. She let
the pressures of the day pass her by.
Or isn’t it more
like ‘because she focused on the important matters, the demands of the day did
not press on her.’
There was a
time when, upon waking, that I would eagerly greet the Lord and meet with
Him. More are the days now that
upon waking, I mentally list down the urgent things that I have to do. When did things turn for me?
Re-reading these passages, I am struck with Jesus’ last words “…and it will not be taken from her.” I want that! I don’t want my peace, my joy, my faith to be taken away. I want all those back! So, I have to do what Mary did and focus on the essentials: pursue the Lord, spend more time with Him and meditate on His word. These are the ‘few that are needed’. And these will not be taken from me — as promised by my Lord Jesus.
*My devotion based on “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip” by Michelle Bengtson
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see
Hebrews 11:11 (NIV)
It is easy to
profess “I have faith” when life is sweet and going smoothly. But life seldom is. There have been times that my faith
wavered. It happened while I was
waiting on God to answer my prayer for writing projects. I was warned that going freelance would
sometimes require waiting for replies to project bids. I took the advise seriously and waited
patiently for days and weeks. And
weeks turned to months. By the
third month, I was frantic and anxious.
I started questioning the Lord as to the wisdom of getting out of the
corporate world and going freelance.
I questioned the Lord as to how He would provide for me if I can’t get
projects. I questioned, grumbled
and whined. I could not see the
light at the end of the tunnel. I
had a faith dilemma.
But in one of my
quiet times, He brought me to Hebrews 11:1. It felt like the Lord was asking me where my faith was. That shook me. Where was my faith? Did I really have faith in the
Lord? Or do I have faith only when
life is breezy? What was I putting
my hope on — on my abilities or on the faithfulness of the Lord? Could I even assure myself of a great
career? Isn’t everything — small
or big — from the Lord alone?
I felt so
ashamed on realizing the flimsiness of my faith. I was not suffering nor was I being persecuted like other
followers of Christ. My momentary
problem was like a slap on the wrist compared to others and yet here I was
whining, grumbling and questioning the Lord. I repented and spent more time meditating on His word and on
thanking and praising the One who knows my every weakness. The more time we spent together, the
more my eyes and heart opened to His constant grace, mercy, lovingkindess and
Months later I
realized that the Lord did not open work opportunities for me immediately so I
may spend more time with my elderly mother. Unknown to us, she was already suffering from
Alzheimer’s. Those work-free
months gave me the luxury to spend long conversations, lunches, dinners and
movie time with my mom. It was
going to be the end of wonderful storytelling and sharing of thoughts with my
mother, because soon after, her Alzheimer’s took a sudden and fast turn for the
I thank the
Lord for those months that He kept me free from work. I did not see it as a blessing then for
my faith was focused on the tangibles.
But real faith is believing and hoping on Him whose promises are true,
even when our eyes cannot see.
I always find comfort walking through the woods, the serenity, the
mystery, the abundance of unseen life.
Walking under the canopy of trees clears my head and at present, dark
clouds are running through my head faster than my faltering stroll. A jumble of senseless thoughts and images are flashing
through my mind when I stumble unto a battered, gray luggage. Not so big that you could pack your
whole house into. Nor too small
that it could only hold a pair of nice shoes, shampoo and toothbrush. I’ve always wondered how some people
could pack a week’s worth of clothes and food into a tiny luggage. They must have bought their luggage from
Mary Poppins. Kneeling down, I
notice there is no lock but the zipper looks sturdy; the external frame is
scratched, making me think that the owner must have used it to ward-off a
I freeze and look around.
I don’t know anything about mountain lions. Would there be one or two here? Most unlikely; maybe a bear? I sigh. No use
frightening myself with the nearest person living more than a mile down the
mountain. There is no bag-tag, no
stickers. Should I open it to find
the owner? Who would leave a
luggage in the forest? Perhaps a
person running away from a cheerless home or maybe a teenager running away from
a violent father? Or perhaps
someone eloping with a lover? Who
knows? There are a million reasons
to pack-up and leave. I look
around but there is no one and nothing to give more clues.
I stand up and turn to continue with my walk. My legs feel stiff, my mind racing with
unconnected pictures and feelings.
There is a nagging feeling inside, something pressing, but I don’t want
to face it, not yet. I need to
chase the dark clouds away to see more clearly. There is a throbbing pain in my chest but I could address
that later. I take a deep breath
and attempt to walk faster and straighter. The woods smell of pine and old, fallen leaves, a fresh
smell. I’ve always liked this
smell. Not many people like
it. It reminds them of age, of
death. It reminds me of clean air,
of sunshine and the joy of being surrounded by life. Not people, but of mountain and clean life.
I smile, remembering how I enjoyed summers in the mountains with my
family: long hikes, swimming in
the lake, fishing and gathering wood for the bonfire. It always sparked courage and hope in us. I could still do that. With that thought, I walk on.
I trip now and then over stones and root, but I am able to get into a slow
rhythm until a red square catches my eye.
Not a bloodied corpse, I hope as I hesitatingly direct my steps towards
it. It’s rectangular, not square
after all. Another luggage! It’s the kind where you pack your whole
life in. Just like the first one,
it does not have any identification marks. Unlike the first one, this has a combination lock. No use trying to figure that one
out. With three digits, there are
a thousand possible combinations.
Slashing through the canvass frame would be easier. I grab the handle to make it
stand. It’s big and heavy. The owner must have packed some
precious things inside besides clothes and shoes. How could a person lug a heavyweight luggage up the mountain? Desperation to get away from someone or
something; or desperation to get somewhere or to someone? Who could you run to in the mountains
and in the middle of nowhere? I
sigh. Unless I meet the owner, my
questions will remain unanswered.
I walk on picking up my pace.
The sun would start throwing its might soon and I would like to reach
the lake when it does. A cool dip
in the lake would be nice. No
swimming or fishing just yet. Cool
mountain water to wash away the murk in my mind and cool my stinky, sticky body
would be nice.
I could smell the lake. I must be near.
I find it strange that people can’t smell water. I could always smell whether I’m near a
lake, a river or the ocean. They
smell different. Lakes and rivers
smell fresh. The ocean smells
pungent. Why can’t people tell the
The ground is sloping down.
Pebbles and stones skip and fly as I skid down the slope. It won’t be good to have an accident
with no one around.
I see something shimmer between the bushes. The lake! I
made it! I take off my sneakers
and wobble to the edge of the lake.
I dip my toes to the edge where the water laps the stones. The water is cold. I look up at the clear sky and speak to
no one in particular. But yes, there
is Someone in particular I’d like to talk to again; it has been a long
time. Do You still know me, I ask
in my heart. I could use some help
— maybe You could make the sun shine brighter? I stand at the edge, letting the water slap and kiss my toes
and feet. It was just the water,
sky, sun and I. And, the
chattering birds and bugs of course.
They must dislike my intrusion into their private world.
I remain standing for a long time, doing nothing, thinking of
nothing. What a relief to have to
not think of anything or anyone.
He kept His promise as always — I could feel the sun warming my face. I look up and whisper a thank you. Tentatively, I enter the water. It’s cold but bearable. I stand waist deep in the water before
plunging my head. I feel the cold
tightly clamp my head then slowly release it’s hold. I stay underwater for as long as I could, until my lungs
start to scream for air. I shoot
up and take a big gulp of air. I
look around: the trees standing
tall and proud, loyal sentinels of the mountain for years and years; the birds
flying here and there, busy with their lives; the ripples of water smacking
gently against the stones and pebbles; and His signature all over. And me, still breathing and alive. He is closer and nearer here. But of course, it’s me that has been
staying away. But I’m here now. A deep sigh escapes me.
Everything is all right and life goes on. I could feel something in my heart stir, a quickening. Perhaps hope? I don’t know, but I prefer this feeling than the dark,
swirling pit earlier.
I get out of the water, not minding the cold that makes me involuntarily
bristle. I take in my
surroundings. I haven’t felt this
close to Him for a very long time. I quickly put on my sneakers and walk towards the cabin. I take a different route, a shorter,
more direct but steeper path. I
almost forgot about this path, perhaps because it’s challenging and the other
roundabout path is more scenic. But
He is prompting me to do something and this time, I would like to listen.
Panting and sweating, I reach the cabin from the rear. My legs are shaking from the climb, but
it’s still a good and healthy pain.
As I approach the cabin, I see a small, half-opened, lavender-colored
luggage leaning against the stack of firewood. It’s a small luggage where you could only fit a pair of nice
shoes, soap, toothbrush and instant food — the most basic of essentials. On the ground near it is an empty
bottle. I know this brand. It tastes of aged wood and cherries. I know because it’s mine and it’s my
favorite whisky. My knees give way
and I slump to the ground. I gulp
for air in-between racking sobs. I
look up barely seeing the sky through my tears but I know He is here — which
calms and comforts me. I rock
myself, violently at first then gently.
A jumble of images flash through my mind and I try to make sense of it
all. I turn on my back and look up
again. Help me, please, give me
strength, I whisper. I close my
eyes and see red and white spots.
How long have I been in the cabin?
With how I feel and smell, I would say a few days, perhaps three days,
huddled in the cot, shutting out the world, trying to forget the turmoil inside
I take deep, steady breathes.
I am running away from someone, no one violent, but just as painful. Flashes
of hurried packing and filling the red luggage with my life: clothes, books, jewelries, laptop,
family photographs, even a coffeemaker.
But it could not hold the blankets and shoes, so out comes the gray
luggage. Then the long drive without
saying goodbye, not letting anyone know.
What was the use? He made
his decision with his actions and so will I. A whirlwind of events, a stop at a convenient store to buy
the bottle, then the long, urgent drive to here.
How could I have lugged the three pieces of luggage up the
mountain? A laugh escapes from
me. I picture a frenzied,
desperate and intoxicated woman lugging all three pieces of luggage. But of
course, only the essentials and the easiest to carry would remain: the basics of toothbrush, food, water
and the bottle.
I am the one doing the running after all and nobody else. I am running away from a deceitful
lover, not running to. I am running
away from a house to this deserted place, this cabin, my home. I am running away from a hollow life to
what and to whom?
To what and to whom, I ask myself again. To what and to whom, I implore Him. He answers with a long, resounding silence. I won’t run away from You, not this
time, I tell Him. And still,
silence. I’m sorry, I sinned
against You, I murmur. Still, He
answers with His silence. I know
You love me, I whisper. I love You
too, I whimper as tears fall again.
Silence again. Very faintly
and slowly, a quiet peace fills me.
It grows stronger, filling my heart, mind and body. He hears me and He is with me, I know
this for sure.
To what am I running? I am running to peace, to hope. To whom am I running? I am running back to Him who loves me most.