I’ve been meaning to write a reflection right after my husband and I attended the Kerygma Conference last November but I simply couldn’t find the time. Now, I know why. God wanted me to experience the insights I gained from the conference more powerfully. He gave me that opportunity last Tuesday when I was invited to speak on Love and Sexuality to more than 500 first year college students at a university in Manila.
I was deeply moved by the talk given by Bro. Bo Sanchez during the Leadership Track of the Kerygma Conference last November. He began his talk by removing his shoes. Then he said that he doesn’t claim to be better, more holy or more spiritual than anybody present in that room. He believes though that the reason he is where he is right now and he is doing what he is doing right now, which is to preach and lead a big community like Light of Jesus (LOJ), is because God simply WANTED him to serve Him in that way. Then, he said that maybe some of us present in that Leadership Track might be wondering why we’re attending that track. He said that there is only one reason... God wanted us to be there! We are all leaders in one way or another because God wanted to use us. It’s not because we are good or we are the best at what we do. It’s not because we earned our positions. It’s not because we deserved to be where we are. It’s all grace! God chose us simply because He wanted us to serve Him by being leaders and role models in our respective circles of influence.
I grew to appreciate these truths and insights more powerfully when I shared my story to college freshmen last Tuesday morning. I felt that I didn’t have enough time to prepare for my presentation. I was out the whole weekend with my family before my talk and I only had the day before the scheduled event to prepare my material. With this feeling of inadequacy, I came before God in prayer last Monday morning. I told God how I felt and I asked Him to grant me the grace of His humble wisdom so I could speak the right words to the youth who will be listening to me. God led me to reflect on the readings for the day of my talk.
Let me quote the lines that struck me from the readings.
“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.”“Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:1-2, 9-11)
“Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; announce his salvation day after day. Tell God’s glory among the nations; among all peoples, God’s marvellous deeds.” (Psalm 96:1-3.)
And finally from the Gospel according to Matthew 18:12-14.“What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the astray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
I was amazed! I felt God’s affirmation that He really wanted me to speak to the youth the following day. He was sending me to proclaim the Good News to them by sharing my story. He wanted me to testify about His goodness and faithfulness in my life. He wanted me to join Him in seeking His lost little ones and to help bring them back to His fold. What an honor and a privilege! He chose my story out of countless love stories. Why? Well, I think it’s because my story is just like any ordinary girl’s story. What made it extraordinary was God’s amazing involvement in carrying out His perfect plan for my life. I was confident that God would bless my efforts in preparing for the event. I was confident that whatever is lacking in my presentation, God would supply so that His purpose would be fulfilled. I may not be the best preacher, speaker or story teller but He chose me. He has anointed me. I know that He would enable me. I also agree with my husband when he said that one reason God puts me in situations where I feel that I am not prepared or adequate is because he wants me to rely on His grace to deliver and fulfil His purposes. So that when things turn out well, I would not credit that to myself but to God’s grace and power.
True enough, God blessed the symposium where I spoke and shared my story as a single lady making the most of my season of singleness and of course my love story, how God fulfilled His promise to me of giving me a godly helpmate.
As I pondered on the events of that day during my time of prayer that same night, I couldn’t help but be awed. I realized that even if there was only one student or little one who needed to find his/her way back to God, God would still organize a symposium just for that person. And so I thought, that even if there was only one student who was moved and inspired by my story, my story would still be worth telling because of the value that our Father gives to each one of us. I may not know the extent of my influence last Tuesday but I’m certain that God’s purpose has been fulfilled. I know that by sharing my life and love story, those students were given an alternative on how to live their single lives. They were given an opportunity to make a choice – to involve God or not in their lives, be it in their academics, future career or love life. I can only pray that they would also choose to let God be God in every aspect of their lives.
I also realized that every opportunity that God gives me to share my life and love story is God’s way of blessing me. Yes, He’s using me to bless others who listen to me. But, they are not the only ones blessed. He blesses me as well! How? First, He blesses me by reminding me of the wonders He has done in my life. How can I forget God’s great love, mercy and faithfulness to me if I keep on telling people about His works in my life? How can I not go on even amidst trials and difficulties when I am reminded constantly that I have a powerful God who moves mountains, who makes walls collapse and who makes the impossible possible? Second, He blesses me by helping me grow in appreciation of my husband. Every time I tell our love story, I am reminded of the reasons why I chose to marry this man. God strengthens our marriage and my commitment to my husband every time I share our love story. Third, I am reminded that I am blessed to have a child and to be a full time mother at this time of my life. I am reminded that all these were made possible by God because He loves me very much and He wants to give me only the best.
My heart is bursting with joy! I feel that through that experience God gave me back the fervour of my first love. I’m just so in love with Him again! And I commit to testify to His goodness, faithfulness and love for as long as I shall live not only with my words but most importantly with the life that I live. Just as Bro. Pio Español said in his talk during the Leadership Track of the Kerygma Conference, the world needs role models more than great preachers. People can forget what you say in your talks or presentations but they will not forget your legacy. How you live your life is more important than how you deliver your lines during your talks or presentations. That is what I strive for – that by the choices that I make and the life that I live people will know that God reigns in my life and that I’m an ardent lover and follower of Jesus.