This year's holy week was really a memorable one for me. I strongly believe that I had a visitation from the Lord Himself! A few things happened since Palm Sunday and the joy I felt in my heart is quite uncontainable that I almost scream.
Not all things that happened were actually good. There's one which is shameful and put my life in peril at the same time but the Lord somehow turned it into something good.
It was Palm Sunday evening when I was praying and asked God why He has chosen me to serve His kingdom despite of my sinfulness and weaknesses. Truly I felt that it was God speaking to me when I read the devotion for that day and told me that He needed someone to carry His plans through lowly instruments like me. He looked down from heaven and said, "Where can I find the weakest, littlest man on earth? Then He saw me and said, 'I've found him. I will work through him and he won't be proud of it. He'll see that I am only using him because of his insignificance.'" These are words of Francis of Assisi but it's more like God talking to me for I can't explain the joy in my heart that moment.
Probably the Lord knows I am so tired in dealing with my SSA struggle every day, the longing that comes along with it. It could be the reason why God let me read the book "Dancing with God" by Irene Alexander. It was Holy Monday, in one chapter which she talked about the deeper desire that each human has, I was really enlightened and understood why I have these longing for intimacy and sexual relations which characterized my spiritual journey. This longing may lead me into byways and errors but is, in the end, a God-given and profoundly good desire which only God can truly satisfy. I just need to learn how to channel the desires to God's by staying into it which she describes a hunger, a thirst that can be quenched only by the One who brings the living water. The Bible said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst." Moreover, we need to articulate our desires, stay with our longing, pain and emptiness to find your presence in God. Philip Yancey said that the Bible reveals a God who is "hopelessly in love with us". I felt the same joy in my heart when I read this and astounded with the fact that my Creator is really pursuing me!
Speaking of desires, I must admit that I gave in the following day. I did not know what took me over. On my way home I met this guy and brought him to my place without even asking if he's a call boy, which was a huge mistake. After the lamest sexual encounter I had in my entire life, the guy demanded money for the lame service he rendered. When I refused because I don't pay for sex, he threatened to humiliate me in public. I was really terrified inside for it was my first time to encounter someone like him. Afraid of losing my life in a shameful way, I gave in to his demand and let go. Still I am scared that he might get back at me for I did not give all the money he wanted. He knows where I live!
After confessing to God and asking His forgiveness, I prayed for protection and peace of mind. Also I prayed that this will become a very good lesson and discipline for me to finally stop giving in to obviously sexual temptations. Feeling troubled still the next day, I asked the Lord for the assurance of His protection from the guy. I flipped the channel on TV and again that joy in my heart came over when I read in this local channel the verse Isaiah 41:10! I took it as God's answer to my prayer for it incredibly washed my fears away. God is indeed faithful to His servants no matter what! He will never give up on me! Somehow this daunting event made me realize that it is God's second warning to me and walk faithfully with Him.
On the evening of Maundy Thursday, again I felt it was God speaking to me and not me reading from the same book, He confirmed my prayer the other day about learning how to abandon myself in Him and live under His amazing grace! He helped me comprehend the presence of my struggle in this spiritual journey which the book describes as the shadow, the brokenness or the darkness in me. All I have to do is the admission of all these, to come to Him in nakedness knowing I am still loved by God will I be able to live out in vulnerability and freedom. Learning to accept this as part of my ongoing life and embracing it is the only way to become whole! God's operating medium in this life is grace. We are only to live nakedly in it!
Black Saturday morning right exactly after I woke up, God told me (Yes I strongly believe it's Him for he granted my prayer of meeting me through a dream that night and it happened! Also for the fourth time in a week I felt the same joy in my heart!) that all these are His ways of visiting me. A visitation from God can you believe that? I prayed for this during my retreat in Baguio and now it all cropped up praise the Lord!
Then Easter Sunday came. God's presence was as powerful as well as the message that it made me cry while singing "Amazing Grace". It was a colossal realization how much our Father loves us, me. Definitely I will never look at Christ's resurrection the same way again.
I thought the Lord was finished with His visitation. Monday night while uttering the usual prayer I have before going to bed, God's presence came! I felt it and can't help but to cry while praying because of the fullness of joy in my heart. Our God is truly great, amazing, wonderful and awesome God. He's the best! Praise the Lord Almighty!
"Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 11:16