The situation I have envisaged a year ago, as I left my work when the contract ended and went on studying full time, did not happen. I was expecting to have a work, praying and hoping it will be the same job or something close to it, this time around of the year and go back as a part time student towards finishing my Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling. That was my plan but obviously it seems to me now God has His plans too.
Last week, I did the HIV&AIDS Churches Channels of Hope or CoH workshop with a German brother and others at the Logos Hope ship (the sailing book fair) that was docked at the port of San Fernando, La Union. I have to admit that at first, I did not like to go simply because of the 6-7 hours bus travel from Manila not to mention my unwillingness (or selfishness) to spend for this trip. But God has reminded me of my calling that I asked for when I was still beginning my new life in Jesus so out of obedience and love for Him, I have decided to go there (and He provided financially for this trip). God truly knows us more than we do with ourselves. Doing this ministry for over five years now, I have become familiar already of what is going to happen but with this one, He has more! Aside from the fact that these participants from different churches and sectors in town were one of the most open and very responsive group of people based on my experience, I have enjoyed a great fellowship with my newly found friend and a brother in Christ from Germany! He heard for the first time my SSA or homosexual struggle when I shared my testimony and so the other missionaries in the ship. Praise the Lord they were all blessed! My fellowship with him as we talked and shared personal stuff, struggles, among other things, he saw me beyond my struggles and have treated me like just a normal guy! God knows I need more friends like him who will bring out the “inner man” in me. This was more than enough worth of the long travel and I was very glad and grateful I went there. God has His and higher ways.
After that wonderful experience, I have to face the reality that this week is enrollment and unsure which of and how many subjects I am going to register for the reason that I have no job yet and has lesser financial account that may or may not last for this semester. This whole situation, which is much better compared to thousands or millions of situation of other people globally, left me a feeling of uncertainty and doubt. I realized that I am in this scenario again that is similar before I got the CoH work through this international NGO. The big difference this time are, I am studying and I have utility bills, rent, and other needs to pay as a single man living alone in the city away from my family. Even though I have no job before, I do not have these responsibilities for I was living with my parents but it was the time too, that God humbled me through accepting help especially finances from Him through His people in the church.
But this was not my plan like I have said a year ago. My heart was expectant that I will get a job (same or close to my previous work) by June and continues studying on a part time basis. There were job opportunities that came but my heart was not at peace as I have contemplated applying for these jobs. I can no longer get a job for the sake of earning. Practically and technically, I could easily find and get a job easily with my qualifications just to be honest but I guess it does not have to be my way but God’s way. The ministry work I got for two years before, I remembered, was God’s appointment. He just led me to it and got invited to apply and this should be the case (or at least close to this way) also this time. Through a conversation with one of my best friends over the phone, I felt that God has started to speak to me as she was sharing her new direction in life. Normally I interrupt her whenever I have something to comment but this time, I have listened the whole time! When we finished talking, obviously it seems to me that God just simply wants me to focus on my studies and ministries in the meantime and wait! But until when? I have no idea. Honestly, I am not used to this…with no enough money to hold on and regularly coming in. Then I recalled one my prayers and that is God to teach me to increase my faith and trust in Him. In this sure uncertainty, I have prayed (still praying) and received the following words from Him (I believe).
“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”(Revelation 3:8, ESV)
“Let go of your own agenda and trust God, He’ll make sure you see those open doors. Surrender all to Him. Have His way in your life and trust His timing. Then, step back and see the open door He has prepared for you! Trust Him to do it His way for He will order and direct your steps. Believe that He has the best interest at your heart.” I have to be ready and available. I have to stand looking for the open door He has for me.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”(Isaiah 55:8, ESV)
“Surrender your plans to Him today. Put your faith and trust in Him. Let Him direct your steps because His ways are higher, and He knows how to lead you into the life of blessing He has for you. His thoughts are better, and His plan is what will remain.” I have to surrender my will and my ideas and receive the direction He has for me.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.’ ” (1 Kings 17:2–4, NIV)
I got these words in two days late last week through a devotional message I regularly received via email. But I know in my heart and in my spirit when God is speaking through a certain medium like books, of course the Bible, and people or email for I have experienced and proven this many times. The human in me gets in the way always and still I have some doubts so I asked for more confirmation from God. And He never fails. After the Sunday service, somebody approached and gave me money for God said so and she was just obeying! Believe me, I got nervous and have wanted to cry for I remembered the confirmation I am praying for! Last week I was a bit depressed and truly doubting but after this I felt some excitement for I know God will never ever leave me! But then again, I must admit I still have some doubts in my heart and so I am still praying for His confirmation starting last Sunday until the enrollment day comes… a confirmation to continue studying and work later, wait for the open door, let go of my plans and thoughts, let Him direct my steps, and live in unity and peace.