The stars shine brightest in the darkest night. Reflecting on the challenges and difficulties that the pandemic brings to the education system, darkness seems to loom ahead. As a teacher, it is pretty heavy for a burden to carry. We are caught in between the demands of the system and the expectations of the society. If teachers will not have a good grip on the sane and the good, we may suffer burn out and discouragement. It is important that in this time of darkness, we choose what makes us shine the brightest. Choose the spot that shines the brightest. That spot usually belongs to what is good and just. It is the spot that shows love and care. So after thinking, I resolve to choose goodness. I crafted this short prayer in the form of a poem to express my heart today.
Today, I pray for strength. And refreshment of mind. To be calm and not to vent. To shine and not to whine. To gain and to befriend. To be wise and to be kind. To help and not to offend!
What is your most favorite book? For book wormer and those who enjoy reading, a book is a source of joy and solace. But there is a book that offers so much more than just joy and solace. It sheds light, it points to the right way, it offers peace, it renews the mind, it leads to blessing and protection. That is the Bible, God’s Word, the Holy Book. I call it a sort of “wonder Book” because it is too wonderful. It teaches the way to life, honor, and blessing. It never runs out of insight and wisdom. You can read and reread it yet still learn new things again and again. “God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.” -Psalm 19:7.
What is the Bible to you? The Bible has become my Book of refuge and strength. I do not know how I could live my life without the Word of God. I learned to love the Word of God because of my father. He was the one who consistently taught me and checked on me if I have read my Bible or I did not. It was not easy at first but over time I learned to do it regularly. And finally, I have reached the point, where I could not go through the day without reading the Bible.
Through the years, I found the Bible to be the source of:
Wisdom. Sometimes, we think we know what we want and we know how to live our life. It may seem so but without the counsel and guidance of God through His Word, we might do things that we would regret later. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” -Psalm 119:105. Like King David, I found God’s Word to be a light to me. In times when I don’t know what to do, I look for answers from His Word. God’s Word never fails. It has answers to everything. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9. “Oh how I love your law. It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.” -Psalm 119:101.
Truth. God’s Word, the Bible, is the truth (John 17:17). It speaks truth and because truth hurts, sometimes, we may get hurt by what it teaches. It exposes motives and intentions of the heart. Have you experienced a time when you are meditating on His Word and suddenly a sin is being put to your remembrance? Or a realization juts hits you that what you just said or did is not pleasing to the Lord? God’s Word is like a surgical knife that peels off the skin and cuts deep into the heart exposing us for what we really are. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12.
Power. God’s Word is power for living because it gives hope. When I am sad, down, or discouraged, God’s Word lifts up my spirit. It speaks the truth that in God there is always hope for me. It fuels me to live in the right purpose. It also gives me the power to overcome defeat and temptation. It is very difficult for a child of God to stand strong and hopeful without abiding in His Word. The Word of God is a weapon against the enemy, the devil. You do not go against the devil wearing your earthly credentials. You defeat him through obedience to the Word of God. For the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). The psalmist also speaks of God’s Word as a source of power to live life with hope, confidence, and security. “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” -Psalm 119:114
Peace. For some few years, I suffered from irrational fear and anxiety which, I guessed, led me to experience episodes of panic attacks. Those times when my mind had its own thinking and voice, which overwhelmed me and panic took over causing me to feel out of breath. It became so severe that God used it to strip me off of anything that is not pleasing to Him that I hold in my heart. Only when I trusted and sincerely took the Word of God as the source of my peace, did I receive healing. I do not experience that panic anymore. I am more at peace now. Whenever I feel fear and confusion stalking in my mind, I would grab the Bible, meditate on it, and pray. Through that experience, I say the same thing as the psalmist said, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” -Psalm 119:71-72.
Faith. Oh how we need faith! “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1. Why is it difficult to go to God and live a pleasing life to Him without faith? Because faith demands that even if we could not see or understand, we are confident on the One whom we believe. It does not rest on feelings and on tangible or visible things, but on the knowledge and belief in God. To grow in the faith, we need to dwell in the Word of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” -Romans 10:17. God’s Word teaches us and enables us to understand who God is. His loving, gracious, holy, righteous, faithful nature and more. By knowing Him more and more, you can understand what pleases Him and what displeases Him. You realize what things He can do for you and how He acts in your circumstance. God’s Word reveals to you that He is a God who can be trusted because He is wise and His love for you is everlasting. As you seek Him more through His Word, your faith will grow. That is how I learned to trust God more. Up to today, I am still learning a lot more and the room for growth is still huge for me. But comparing my faith from before, I believe, God’s Word, had brought forth fruits of faith in me. So I am able to say now, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” -Psalm 119:103.
You can be peaceful in the midst of the storm. You do not wait for calmness to feel peaceful. You can be peaceful even in harsh and difficult times. Just as you can feel disquietment and unrest even at the most ideal situation, so you can feel peace even in the stormy situations. But this kind of peace is not the peace of this world. It is the peace that is perfect. And perfect peace can only come from a perfect being. It can only come from God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He alone is the source of peace that can make you confident and calm in the midst of the storm.
You can sleep in the storm as Jesus did! One of the great stories that I love in the Bible is the time when Jesus calmed the storm. “And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” -Mark 4:36-39. Isn’t it too wonderful to realize that Jesus was able to sleep through the storm? Who can do that? A heavy rain would already keep most of us on our feet checking the water level from time to time. It was a great windstorm and water was already breaking into the boat. Imagine, a great windstorm blowing and the water is breaking into your house. Can you sleep peacefully? Absolutely, no! But Jesus did that. He slept peacefully and at one rebuke, the storm quieted. Jesus proved to the disciples who He is. He is God. He is in control of everything. He is sovereign. He can calm the storm. He is the source of peace. When you trust Him, He lets you experience His perfect peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3. When your life is in the hands of the Prince of Peace, you can also sleep in the storm. You can be asleep even when the storm rages because, whether Jesus calms the storm or not, He gives you peace. It is not the presence or absence of the storm that matters. It is the presence of God that matters. He is not only able to calm the storm for you, but He is also able to give you peace in the middle of the storm.