“believe believe believe
in the power
that is present
in the life
that is possible”
– Joyce Rupp
During prayer this year 2009, I was like the student listening with awe to my professor – my Dad – God. I sat there, listening in silence. He was explaining things to me, things that I need to understand about last 2008, just the way I would like it. Wow. He brought me from one verse to another, from one commentary to another. He was stitching things for me.
The first readings recently from the book of Numbers and the first letter of John started the “lecture.”
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
They shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6: 24-27, NKJV
According to Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Lord was mentioned three times to acknowledge the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each one doing something for us – the children, but altogether, Dad is blessing us.
For me, their function is in order according to the Three Personas. God the Father will bless us and keep us. The second Lord, I believe, pertains to Jesus Christ. Everyday, we strive to be Christ-like, thus, allowing His face to shine upon us. Also, St. Paul teaches us in his letter to the Romans that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24, NKJV) Thirdly, God the Holy Spirit is said to be the one who is always upon us, thus, the one who guides, encourages and enables us to have peace. In the end, they are all one God who made us His own whom He blesses.
“See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 2:24, NIV
Dad reminded me of my foundations. He asked me to remember the reasons why I pursued the Sacrament of Confirmation January of last year, because in pursuit of greater knowledge, it is important to be grounded on these foundations. I should carry with me what I was taught. It is like going mountain climbing and taking with me the lessons that I have learned on how to climb mountains, as well as safety and survival skills. Once I am on my way up the mountain, discovering the unknown terrain, I cannot afford to abandon those skills and knowledge that I have learned from the beginning. I need them in order to successfully “conquer” the new terrain that I am exploring – gaining knowledge of.
The same thing with the truth: with day-to-day human experiences, I cannot abandon and put aside what I was taught – and believe in – to give chance to a new knowledge to be explored and understood. Doing so would be suicide, and in this case, a spiritual suicide.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3, NKJV
I admitted to myself that I was somehow afraid of what the future will be. In these verses, Dad taught me that there is nothing to fear, mainly because what we shall be has not been even revealed! Though it was quite literal, it made sense to me. Another assurance that Dad gave me, just as what He said from the beginning, in Numbers, our goal is to be Christ-like; our path is that of holiness; of perfection, just as He is perfect. We hope for this.
The third verse describes what we have to do to travel along the path of holiness and of perfection – purity. We should strive to be pure, because He is pure. Quoting from the commentary on my Bible (Christian Community Bible), we are His children who will return to Him, thus, “God purifies us in a thousand ways, because only in this way can we attain our goal.” I believe Dad purifies us in more than a thousand ways, for St. Paul assures us in his letter to the Ephesians that God can do so much for us in more ways than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
In another commentary from Matthew Henry, it was written: “it is the hope of hypocrites, not the sons of God, that makes allowance for gratifying impure desires and lusts.” We cannot say that we follow Christ but make excuses for our sins, saying that “everyone else does this, so why not me?” Going back to being mountaineers, we cannot make allowance to the rule “leave nothing but footprints” and throw our trash around the area and justify ourselves by saying, “that will decompose anyway,” or “my trash is like a dot in this mountain.”
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, NKJV
The verses above speak about my goal. When in face of trials and difficulties, I must not be crushed; when in of doubt and confusion, I must not despair because Dad the professor will explain in the right time; keeping in mind that I am but a vessel, an earthen one in fact – fragile and plain. Therefore, I must take care of myself – of my body – the vessel of God’s Presence and of a loving energy (Rupp, 1997).
This 2009, Dad assured me that I will encounter a lot of changes, and most of them are “major.” That is scary. But He assured me through the proclamation of the Psalmist: “He has remembered His love and His faithfulness…” (Psalm 98:3, NIV).
I will end this quoting Mother Teresa. She said, “I carry the heart of my God and the God of my heart everywhere.” I pray that I may be able to do the same.