Remember the wonders. Remember the marvels. Remember the miracles. Different versions of this verse use a different word but they all have one thing in common. They all inspire and encourage awe, admiration and amazement for the great and wonderful works of the Lord. I first encountered this verse in the Bible many years ago when I was still single and waiting for my bridegroom. It was an encouragement from God for me then to remember His faithfulness in my life as He performed for me miracle after miracle at every step of my journey.
Lately, God has been asking me to remember once more the many amazing things He has done for me and through me so I can testify to others about the greatness of His love, compassion and faithfulness.
I have attempted in the past months to write about the recent blessings and miracles He has allowed me to witness but I found myself overtaken by blessings and miracles. It seems that as I ponder on how to share about how God has been blessing me and the works He has inspired me to do, there is a new blessing and miracle that happens. I realized now that truly words are not enough to express how great our God is and how amazing and numerous His wonderful works.
Today, as I was inspired by the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, I want to proclaim how faith in our Lord Jesus Christ has made possible countless blessings and miracles in my life and in my ministry. I recognize that I cannot recount everything. I am writing this article though to proclaim in my limited and personal way the amazing things that our Lord has done for me.
“You have done many miraculous things, O LORD my God. You have made many wonderful plans for us. No one compares to you! I will tell others about your miracles, which are more than I can count,” says Psalm 40:5.
Let me start with the miracle I asked of God last February when God inspired me to organize an evangelistic event for the youth. I wrote in one of my blog entries last February entitled Taking the Lord at His Word and Dreaming Big for the Gospel (Part 1) that I would need a miracle from God to stage that event given the limited resources we have. The good news is that God granted me the miracle I asked of Him and He even surpassed my expectations!
As in the past, God was not contented to just give me what I asked for. Last February, while we were planning for the event, concerns about budget arose. To start with, we didn’t have a budget for the event because it was not planned last year. It was a new idea suggested by one of our youth members, which I developed. Moreover, we didn’t get approval from our parish priest to use the funds of our Liturgical Committee to support the event. Therefore, I decided (as a member of the Board of Directors of our Condo Corp.) together with our Community Development Officer, to make it a community event instead of an event sponsored by our Liturgical Committee. The Word that I received in my prayer time was too strong not to act on it within my power or authority. As Peter and the Apostles said in the first reading yesterday, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Out of faith, inspiration and direction from God’s words in Scripture which you can read in my previous post here, I and our Community Development Officer asked for a budget to be approved by the Property Administrator. We were very happy when we learned that the requested P10,000 budget was approved. But shortly after we learned the good news, we were informed that the initially approved P10,000 budget by the Property Administrator was cut to P6,500 by the Cost Controller. That did not faze us though. We were optimistic that the Lord will provide through the generosity of donors/sponsors. I rushed to write the solicitation letter and asked the help of the staff from our administration office to help distribute the letters to the business owners in our community to get pledges for donations/sponsorships. True enough, we got a timely pledge of P5,000 from the mineral water supplier in our community among others around the same time that we learned of the budget cut. That was already enough to cover the projected expenses despite the budget cut. Thus, we still decided to push through. I felt that the pledge was a go signal from God to go on with the event and that He will provide whatever is lacking. I also thought that the budget cut is the enemy’s way of discouraging us and casting doubts on the Will of God as well as the feasibility and potential of the event.
Another challenge that we encountered was that the classes in the school beside our community where most of the students we plan to evangelize study were cancelled on the day before the original schedule of the event. The youth members in our Liturgical Committee suggested that the event be moved to the following weekend to ensure that there would be more students who can participate. I agreed with their suggestion and we continued to plan for the event.
The next challenge we encountered was that the committees for the event were not functioning as expected. It was a blessing in disguise that the event was moved to a later date because the committee heads and members were not able to plan and do the things that need to be done for the event. Seeing the need for direction and guidance of the volunteers, my husband and I took the initiative to come up with a detailed to-do list to help the volunteers prepare for the event and to prevent cramming. We emailed the list right away but another problem came up. We were not receiving updates or reports on the status or progress in the accomplishment of the items in the to-do list we sent even though we had been making follow ups through text, email and Facebook. Since the event is already a few days away and we have reached a point of no return, my husband and I together with our Community Development Officer did what needed to be done as indicated in our to-do list. There were also some who volunteered to help even though initially they did not volunteer to be part of committees for the event.
Another challenge we had was that at first there were only two groups of performers who pre-registered to compete. God made a way however and with some help from our Community Development Officer, we eventually had three groups, which was the minimum number we set to push through with the Acoustic Love Song Singing Competition.
Another problem was the judges, sharer and speaker for the event. The original idea was to organize an event where one of our priests in the parish will speak to the youth in our community. But as days and weeks passed, we did not receive feedback or confirmation in spite of follow ups from our parish. So my husband and I took responsibility by inviting potential judges and sharers from our network. By God’s divine intervention, we found the perfect judges and sharers and instead of just giving a sharing, I became the main speaker. All of these happening only a few days into the event so you could just imagine the stress on my part being the overall organizer.
Then, just when we were slowly thinking that things are falling into place, we had another problem. On the morning of the event, we found out that instead of giving P5,000, the business owner who made the pledge gave only P500. As soon as I learned of this news, I realized that the enemy is really out to stop us. I turned to the Lord in prayer and He led me to meditate on the passage of putting on the full armor of God from Ephesians 6:11-20.
Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy attacks; and aftre fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.
So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News... At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for God's people. And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel's secret. For the sake of the gospel I am an ambassador... Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
I texted this message to all our members right away so that they would know and realize too that we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. We are battling for the souls of the youth in our community and the enemy is doing all he can to hinder us in staging this event that can help win the youth to the Lord’s side. By God’s inspiration, people were led to donate and pitch in resources to make ends meet and still push through with the event. There were neighbors who donated food, prices and money.
Then, we were confronted with another challenge. Up to the morning of the event, there were only a handful of confirmed participants who pre-registered – two! I had been praying to God that He sends us at least thirty to fifty youth who will attend our event. I told God that it would already be a good number considering the short period we had to prepare and promote the event. Also, I thought that even if there would only be twenty youth who would attend, our efforts will still not go to waste because we would be given the opportunity to evangelize and inspire these young people and who knows how these seeds of faith would progress in their hearts and souls?
Do you want to know how God turned this problem into a miracle? On the night of our event entitled MusicLUVan, there were not only twenty, or fifty youth who came. There were HUNDREDS! Our clubhouse was OVERFLOWING WITH PEOPLE on all sides (parking area, playground and poolside) including the second floor! People of different ages came out of their homes to witness our event and many people were able to listen to God’s word and were encouraged to use their god-given talents to glorify the Lord. Wow! Amazing! Only God can make that happen.
Another miracle the Lord performed for me that night was that I was able to finish my Power Point slides for my talk in spite of the many distractions I had and the firefighting I was doing because of the many big and small problems coming up every now and then. It’s amazing how God enabled me to finish my slides while coordinating the requirements and the details of the event with many people. The enemy even harassed me just before the event by giving me a problem with my wardrobe as I was about to get dressed. Our maid burned my blouse! So instead of using the remaining hour to rehearse my talk/presentation, I was frantically searching my closet for an appropriate attire. I still thank God for the opportunity to share my story of how God has blessed me and allowed me to use my talents to bring the Gospel to as many people as I can.
Another miracle God performed was that instead of having three groups of performers only, more musically-inclined young people registered just before the event started to join the competition. Thus, EIGHT groups performed instead of three!
The other miracles that happened that night were the following:
· my baby who is exclusively breastfed did not cry while I was giving my presentation;
· God inspired those in charge of the decorating the place on how to best use the resources we had and made the place look surprisingly good;
· we had an impromptu and improvised spotlight;
· although it was not part of the plan and script, the judges were able to give immediate feedback to the performers and were given the chance to inspire and encourage them to use their talents in the service of the Church;
· there were enough volunteers to man the different stations during the event itself; we were able to prepare all the logistical requirements given the very tight schedule.
I could go on and on enumerating every single blessing and miracle, big and small alike. My point in enumerating these is not to give glory to me or to the other people involved in organizing the event. Not to me or anyone of us, but to God be the glory. My objective is to share with anyone reading this post how God has helped us and showed us favor by providing for ALL our needs. We only need to have faith in Him and take Him at His Word. Furthermore, I wrote this article as my way of remembering the miracles God performed for me and through me. It was not an easy path that I took but I would gladly take this path again given the chance for the sacrifices and the difficulties far outweigh the good that came out of it.
I may not know how God stirred the hearts of the people especially the youth who attended the event and the extent to which these people have been blessed. I just know in my heart that it was a night of miracles and I don’t want to forget how God solved my problems in organizing that event with countless miracles.
Let me quote a couple of lines from the commentary on the Gospel today in Companion: I do not think I would forget that experience too quickly, if at all. The generosity of God’s love, compassion and care for His people is on display in this miracle.
I feel that it’s very timely to write this article today as we commemorate the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand in the Gospel today. I could relate with the little boy who gave all he had to help satisfy a great need that he witnessed. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to feed the hunger in the souls of those around me that night through the miracle that God performed in me and through me. I thank the Lord for the grace to trust in Him, for the gift of faith that moved mountains and made the enemy panic. I thank the Lord for giving me this time now to put into writing and immortalize this night of miracles in my life. I am reminded by the theme of our Holy Week retreat with Bo Sanchez entitled Total. One of the lessons shared with us in that retreat is that one secret of BIG returns in our lives as Christians is to give God our ALL. Total surrender! Total offering of one's time, talent and treasure.
As I face new challenges in my life again, the memory of that night along with many other miracles God gave me in the past, serve as my spiritual landmarks. They give me COURAGE and HOPE that what I’m praying for right now according to God’s Will would be granted in God’s perfect time. They strengthen my FAITH as I take God at His Word anew.
Let me end with these verses from Scripture:
“O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” (Isaiah 25:1)
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. (Psalm 92:4)
ALL GLORY BELONGS TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST, MY SAVIOR AND MY GOD!
ALL GLORY BELONGS TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST, MY SAVIOR AND MY GOD!