the job of humanity

“How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble! Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither. Like the shadow of a passing cloud, we quickly disappear.” ~ Job 14:1-2

Beset with all sorts of suffering imaginable (aggravated by insensitive words of friends), Job sees clearly what many of us refuse or have difficulty understanding: our frail, full-of-trouble, and fleeting humanity. Now what to do with this blink-of-an-eye existence, this tumultuous bleep in eternity? Moses, another ancient man of God who also was not a stranger to suffering, prayed, “Teach us to number our days aright, so we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Father, guide and be glorified with this one life.


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first 2010 post

I am forcing myself to blog today.

I sense a full heart that is dying to write its contents down, but is held back by a sluggish mind and rusty writing skills. It is frustrating to not be able to match heart stuff with the right words. The trip from heart to typing fingers is bumpy today.

But still I force myself to let it out. Even if in incoherent trickles.

* * *

I’m thinking about the first few days of 2010 and how the 2009 year-end holidays already feel like an eternity ago. I spent my holidays in Davao with my family. And what a roller-coaster ride it was — with its ups and downs and all the extreme emotions in between that just made me realize all the more how much I love my family. Speaking of home,  this morning I was going through my journal entries from last year (they’re scattered all over my computer, tucked away in all sorts of folders and applications) and came across the following entry written sometime in July when I was in Davao for a few days.

While I was getting dressed one morning in the big room that is now Kuya Bong’s room, I asked myself, “When did this house stop being home?” Not that I no longer have fond memories of this place; or that I have stopped longing to come to it every now and then; but, for some reason, this familiar place of my childhood has ceased being home. Should I feel ashamed? If this isn’t home anymore, then where is home now?

Where, indeed, is my home now? Maybe for now it is not a physical place. Or maybe, in its truest sense, home is never really just a physical place. “Home is where the heart is,” says the cliche. So I guess the deepr question is, Where is my heart now?

* * *

During the holidays, God dealt with me in a tender and yet powerful way. As I think about it now, there is a lump in my throat and my eyes mist. I am overwhelmed by the Heavenly Father’s relentless love in stark contrast with my unfaithfulness. There are no words to explain it — the feeling is a mixture of both the familiar (“God loves me.”) and the mysterious (“How could God love me?!”).

“This year I die,” I wrote on FaceBook. Death to self is  life in Christ. Quoting a line from the song Seasons of Love, I posted on FaceBook on New Year’s Eve: “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes. How do you measure a year?” A missionary friend answered in one word: Obedience. Wow. I looked back at 2009 and found to my shame that I have lived more for self than for Christ. “My only hope is full surrender, so with each borrowed breath, I inhale the Spirit’s will for me to die a deeper death.” I thank God for whoever penned the words to that Steve Green song. God has used this song to convict me many times.

But even death to self is not the ultimate pursuit. Yesterday I met with two men whom I love dearly and trust deeply, and I shared with them in halting sentences what God is doing in my heart; that His invitation to me is not to strive harder, or be more disciplined, or do more for Him and His kingdom. The invitation, extended ever so lovingly and tenderly, is to know Him. Now I sense an inexplicable desire to know this Person whom I call Lord and Savior. And I pray that this desire will burn and consume me so that every day I wake up like a child on Christmas morning wondering what gifts of knowing my gracious Father await me.

The year is long, and—the Lord willing—this life longer still. I am aware that this fiery desire can and will be tested. I write this on my blog so that when those days come, I can return to these words and remind myself of that tender invitation and the blazing fire it has set in my heart.

Oh to know the pow’r of Your risen life;
And to know You in your suffering;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord,
So with You to live and never die.

Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear)