- late last night/early this morning, during my quiet time mediation, Psalm 139:5 especially caught my attention.
- going further down Psalm 139, to its last couple of verses, 23-24, i was reminded of an entry i had posted shortly after i started this journal way back in jc2. it's just the lyrics to a very soulful hymn--by coincidence or Godwill, we sang it at service this very morning--but if you read my then-"current" mood, and the title of the post, and if you skim through the general "feel" of my posts at that time, i don't know if you'd agree with me that, in a way, spiritually, at least, i've changed.
- last night, too, i came across Ecclesiastes 4:4, which, amidst my exams, started me wondering... why in the world do i study? why do i want so much to get good grades? is it not out of envy of my sister? or others? don't i want a fantastic cap score just so that i can stand up there with the rest of the smarty-pants, so that i can show the world that i'm not as stupid and incapable as you think i am, that i have more intellect than you think i do, you, bloody math-and-science-elitist fools, who trod on me and looked down on me when i was at my worst? no longer will i allow you to step on me in order to exalt yourselves...
You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
there was a time when my sister used to think, "God, why do You hem me in like this?" i guess she must have felt such an intensely pressurising sense of constraint in her life that she was angry with God for hemming her in, confining her to His boundaries, binding her to His rules. and that's where my brilliant lit essay points come in--there is freedom in confinement--just as nicky gumbel says, you can't have fun in a football game without the rules.
in time, as my sister shared, she found out that God wasn't really hemming her in in the way that she had perceived Him to be. God is everywhere--in the trees, in the grass, in the rustling breeze that makes them move--His hand is in all of creation. but God is a gentleman, He will not force His way into your life; if you decide to walk out of His palm of control, you have your choice.
last night, i realised that rather than looking at God's hemming us in as a form of constriction and limitation, why not look upon it as a form of security and comfort? He wants to protect us, He wants to keep us safe from harm; wherever we go, He goes before us, and He is also ever watching our backs from behind us. isn't that reassuring? it sure is for me, at the notion of walking into the exam hall freaked out from the lack of preparation, but knowing that whatever happens, God has hemmed me in--in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
i think God has really been very faithful, even in my unfaithfulness, my waywardness, and my disbelief. even though it was just lyrics that i posted, even if i had meant them, more or less, in my heart, they were just somebody else's words, somebody else's song; it wasn't even a wrenching, desperate cry out to the Lord, it was more like a muted, half-wanting desire to really know Him and to experience a life much more meaningful than the one i knew. there was plenty of guilt, shame, melancholy, despair (nov and dec 2002 archives), and most of all, i kinda feel that there was something (somebody?) major in my life that i couldn't bear to surrender (fat hope on elaboration!).
but remember that God asks us to give up the bad, lousy, cheap (i.e. unsuitable) stuff so that He can then present His real, good, and perfect stuff to us; all He wants is for our good and protection! well, i think it took me a prety long time to even start to be willing to give up on that, errr, not-so-good area in my life, and even now, my wayward heart sometimes looks back and wonders if anything good could have come out of it, if i had not... but really, i thank God for having brought back into my life what i needed most (i.e. Him); He has fill[ed] me with fire, where once i burned with shame, and truly, He has sent a revival. i'm so grateful.
...but... does the Lord not say, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay" (Deuteronomy 32:35)? and anyway, what's the whole point of all this? at the end of life, can i bring all these achievements away with me and frame them up on heaven's walls? does God say, "okay, you've got a cap score of 4.5 and a business minor, now you've earned your way to heaven"? does He? i seriously doubt so... which was (pulling back the point) what started me wondering, why the hell am i studying in the first place?
so at sermon this morning, one of those many biblical references regarding work, says this,
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men -- Colossians 3:23
and i think this must be precisely what i need right now to give me that extra push to (stop typing already and) get started once again on studying. :)