What makes Good News good? The answer depends on how the bad news affected you. This part of my story tells how bad news turns to incredible joy.
After I realized that God may not let me into Heaven, I was instilled with a desire to find out why and how to make it right with God. Getting a Bible came to mind. Originally, I had a KJV* Bible given to me by a friend, but because of the archaic English, I had a hard time getting into it. So, I went and found a simpler Bible. The next question was, “where do I start?” You see, I have not really read the Bible before. But God took care of that as well, though at that time, I was not aware of it. I remember going to a favorite childhood tale of Joseph which I found at the tail end of Genesis. The Bible story of Joseph was richer than the story of my childhood and there were gaps in my understanding of what I read. So, I started at the beginning of Genesis. Then my mind and my heart opened up like a floodgate.
It was an experience I will never ever forget in my whole life. Not only did the stories come to life but I began to have clear understanding into the complex biblical principles. Also, I had no problem believing. It was like I was given a gift to recognize Truth. I read and read the Bible every chance I got. I could not put it down. Coupled with weekly Bible Studies, I felt myself grow in knowledge of Him whom I always thought was beyond anyone’s understanding. In hindsight, that was always God’s plan for me. That I got to know Him first, through the historical and chronological reading of His story. Though I immensely enjoyed the reading of God’s story, the true joy that is in me today have not taken root yet. That came when I made the most important choice in my life.
In getting to know God closely, there was always a clear message for me. This is where the bad news came. You see, I realized I had a SIN problem that separated me from God. I’m not just talking about my own sins (which was plenty), but a sin problem that went as far back to the Garden of Eden. It is the sin that doomed all mankind… that doomed me to eternal damnation. Upon realization, I sought forgiveness and chose to believe God’s answer to all our sin problems, Christ Jesus. This is where the GOOD NEWS come in.
The telling of this part of my story need a little bit more expansion. So, let’s leave it here for now.
Until the next post,
* King James Version
I have said before that the joy I experience is not my own. It does sound enigmatic, so it does need explaining through my life story.
My father told me, once upon a time, that as a baby, after my polio episodes, he would often cover my head with his hand. He did that to all the babies (siblings & cousins) in our family at least one time each. Infants would squirm and try to wriggle out of my father’s firm but gentle grip. My father was not being cruel and abusive. I believe he was assessing what kind of personalities we’d grow into. He confided with me that when he gripped my head, I didnot squirm nor struggled. And when he released his hand, I gave him a gurgling laugh. He was amased. He said, I was the only baby that he repeated the process because I was such a happy baby. It is funny what memories floats up to help illustrate a point.
Anyway, in my last posting I mentioned a dark cloud had been infringing at the borders of my happiness. You probably thought that the dark cloud was the opposite of my happiness. You are right. However, sadness and depression is not the culprit. It is just the by-product. The true culprit was not emotional but spiritual: SIN. Now, at that time, I didn’t know it was sin that was dampening my life.
From college to my early married days, I was getting farther and farther from the knowledge of God and was focusing more in my self interest. Then in 1990, God took a hand. It was just when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the height of Operation Desert Shield, a build-up of the US-led coalation of military forces. It was Easter Week and the NEWS was talking about Iraq starting a nuclear war which will destroy the world. For the first time in my life, I was thinking more on my mortality. It was when I was watching an old favorite religious TV movie that I was confronted with a disturbing question. If I was to stand before God on that very day, would He let me into heaven? The answer was way to obvious in my heart. God would not let me in, for I suddenly knew I was not deserving. As soon as I came to this… let us say, frame of mind… the Lord changed me.
My story, of course, does not end there. It actually started there because something in me became new (not of my doing). But I will continue this story on my next post.
Until the next post,
By every right, I should be a bitter and a miserable person. At my first birthday, I was struck down by polio which almost killed me. Instead, it had rendered me visibly crippled. I remembered as a child being ridiculed and teased by street children because of my limp. At school I was refered to as a walking living skeleton because I was all skin and bones. Bullies in school always targeted me as an easy prey. I struggled doing the things that many take for granted. I have missed out on a lot of things because of disability. Then, on the twilight of my years, I have again been struck down with a disabilitating condition that had left me a quadriplegic for the rest of my life. Yes, I should be wretchedly unhappy and should be pitied. But yet, I am far from being wretched. In fact, my thoughts are always joyful even as I lay in my bed paralyzed.
How could this be? My whole life, I was always happy. Of course, I take no credit for this. It may have been because my brothers and sisters always treated me like I (and my sister who also caught polio) were normal. Today, I believe that my family has always been an important factor in something bigger. My grandmother (in my mother’s side) had repeatedly told me that my happiness was from God and that He had a plan for me. Now, I was still young and the thought that God had a plan for me was beyond my understanding. I have to admit that in my youth, my thoughts of God was often fleeting. By the time I reached adulthood, my attitude toward God was almost that of a modern skeptic. In college, I would argue with Christians, not about God’s existence, but of their convictions on other things. (I’ll talk about this in another post.) As the thought of God waned in the recesses of my mind, my unusual bubbly attitude in life undeservingly was still strong in me. It carried me through my 20s and 30s. However, a dark cloud had been infringing at the borders of my happiness. Yet still, my happy go lucky attitude was still there through my early married life. Then my life took an interesting turn and God came back into the picture. If you think I was such a happy person in the past, that is nothing compared to the kind of joy… a heavenly JOY that the Lord had magnified in my life today. It is this JOY that sustains me regardless my situation.
I’ll leave it there for now.
Until the next post,