Struggles in the Wilderness

Struggles in the Wilderness
September 15, 2018

I have taken a long time before writing my first post. I started my book the Spring of 2015 and this blog was created in the Spring the next year. It is now September of 2018. I started out three years ago with so much energy and enthusiasm. I finished a first draft of my book and was hoping to publish in the latter part of 2016.

My book is part autobiography, and part Theological reflection on the idea of life difficulties, God’s sovereignty, and how to overcome life’s problems. I reflected on the lives of such characters as Moses, Joseph, Job, and Jesus. I have not continued writing for over two years because I feel unqualified. I do not mean unqualified in the sense that I do not have life experiences in the areas of difficulties, but I feel unqualified in the sense that I do not yet have the answers to living a full, deep, and abundant life.

I was born with a rare eye condition known as Optic Nerve Atrophy, I have faced difficulties in every area of life, socially, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. Six years ago I woke up one morning and could not walk. I could not walk for 13 months and slowly I gained some leg strength so I can stand and walk short distance. I did not find my first job until age 31, and that was a part time minimum wage job, but two years later I had my first full time job. In December of 2006 while my dad drove me home from college, we were hit from behind by a drunk driver, and our car was totaled.

I need to start somewhere, and this is that somewhere. I have a few basic truths that I know for sure. I know there is a God, and I trust that God is both sovereign and good. I have seen God provide in ways I never thought possible such as my first part time and then later full-time job. There is a promise in Scripture that I cling on to and it is:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

God has a promise to give us hope and a future. His plans are not to harm us, but to prosper us. We will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart. I am still in that journey of seeking God, and knowing what it means to live a full, deep, and abundant life.

I have still so many doubts and questions and am a long way from finishing my book. These posts are my reflection and journey of entering into a life that is fulfilling and abundant. I am not there yet.

I end here with my prayer for the journey:

Our Father in Heaven, great and wonderful is Your name and character. You have done amazing things in my life and I thank you for the many ways you have provided. Yet, still, I have so many doubts, discouragements, and questions. Jesus promises that He came so that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) You have promised that You will give us hope and a future, that we will find You when we search for You with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13). My prayer is that I would find You, that I will find how to live a life that is full, deep, and abundant. As I remember You in all that I do, I trust that you will direct my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6). I look forward to the good things that You have and the many stories that will come that show how awesome and wonderful You are.

Hope in God

Hope in God
October 28, 2019

I had moments where I was wondering if I was going to write something over the weekend, but I have been feeling so discouraged about things that the weekend already passed and it is now Monday. It is almost the end of October, two months left in this year. I looked back over my goals and dreams that I was thinking and praying about and there are seven, and out of the seven, only one of them is almost fulfilled. At times I celebrate that small growth, but on the other hand, I feel very discouraged about life and where I am at right now.

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Prayer:

Father in Heaven, I feel super discouraged right now about where I am at in life, and less than one of my goals for this year has been fulfilled, I have doubts about my faith, which makes me discouraged in general, and I really don’t know what to do. Please help me to experience You more in the remainder of this year, to have more times to celebrate and see that God You are awesome. I want to experience Your presence, Your power over all the areas of my life, my physical condition, my spiritual condition, my emotional condition, please help me to experience victory over things that are holding me back.

Finding Something Positive to Think About

Finding Something Positive to Think About
October 19, 2019
I have a love and hate relationship with living in this desert. It was more hate than love back in the summer when it was 100 degrees everyday for about two months straight, really uncomfortable. This week has been very nice with temperatures in the 70s, sunny and warm. I struggle with wanting to stay here or to move to somewhere else, but at least for today I can focus on having some positive thoughts:

8 Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. (Philippians 4:8)

Prayer:
Father in Heaven, thank You for the moments, when we can focus our thoughts on things that are good and beautiful, thank You God for the beautiful weather this week, and at least for this week I can stop complaining about this place, please help me to stay positive while being here.

Trying to Understand

Trying to Understand
October 12, 2019
I have struggled a lot in the nearly three years that I have been in the desert. I do not know why I got sent here, and I do not like it here on most days. I was listening to some music on the radio earlier this week and found out that California is having some major power outages effecting nearly a million people. I have tried several times to go back to California and have been unsuccessful, for a brief moment I was thankful for being in the desert. I think of this verse:

8
“For my thoughtsare not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

9
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s ways are bigger than our ways, and many times we do not understand it, but somehow we need to trust that God knows best.

Prayer:
Father in Heaven, thank You that Your ways are better, even when we do not understand it. Please help us to understand what You want for our lives, and to be confident in You for all things.

At The Right Place, At The Right time

At The Right Place, At The Right time
October 5, 2019

There was a moment earlier this week on October 1st, that really stood out to me. We had some free time and were thinking to go to our favorite local cafe in the late afternoon. We went there and it was closed. We decided then to go to the McDonalds nearby, we got our order and sat down at our usual seat, after a while it got very cold with the air conditioning, and so we moved to the area where there was more sunlight. Someone there saw us with a Bible open and began talking to us about the Bible. This was the first time someone talked to us about the Bible in McDonalds. This desert seems so difficult and the people here seem really unfriendly, but here was one friendly Christian who took a few moments to talk about God. I think about a verse:

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

So many things had to happen that led up to this conversation. First off, the cafe that we like had to be closed and it was, and then there are several McDonalds nearby, and we chose one, and then the air condition was so cold that we had to change rooms. It is like God prepared all these different elements, to have this one simple interaction.

prayer:

Father in Heaven, sometimes I get so amazed as You and what You do. This week I was so amazed that You led us at the right place and at the right time to meet someone who encouraged us. Please open my eyes to more opportunities that You are at work and that You are speaking.

God Loves All

 

God Loves All
September 28, 2019

Yesterday evening I encountered a really rude cashier at the supermarket. She was a particular race, which for that moment made me think negatively about that race. Then, this morning when we went out for breakfast, a young lady of that same race was very friendly in preparing our food and drinks. I enjoyed my interaction with her but had a very negative experience with the woman at the supermarket. It is easy to be nice to people who are nice, but so hard to be nice to people who are rude. The Bible says

1You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. (Ephesians 5:1)

God loves all ppeople the same. This is very difficult. There are many kinds of people and there are always going to be people that we do not get along with and do not like to talk to. That is my question today, how do we be kind to people who are not kind to us?

Prayer:
Father in Heaven, thank You that You love us, and You love all people, and we do not love like that. Please help me understand how to love like You.

Why Here

Why Here
September 21, 2019

I have had the impression for a long time that people in this desert just do not care. This morning’s situation gave further evidence to that. Off in the nearby distance, a car was driving at a very high speed, and it struck another car with a very loud impact. It was so bad that I could smell something burning. I was a little bit surprised at the situation, and cars on the freeway just continued to drive by like nothing happened, and I thought to myself, this is a residential area and surely someone saw or heard the accident and someone will call someone for help. Ten minutes went by and no one came to help. Finally, with much hesitation I decided to call the police to report the situation. I have no idea what happened to the person in the accident, but a range of emotions came over me. One thought that I have been having is that no one in place seems to care at all about other people. I grow more and more distant from this city and just do not know what to do about that.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I have been meditating on this verse recently, and it is not a random thing that I am here in this place, even for this moment, even though on most days I do not like it here. I still have no idea what is the purpose that I am here, but I continue to pray for understanding.

Prayer:

Father in Heaven, I really do not know why I am here in this place where it seems like no one cares. I feel like I am personally growing more selfish and distant from everyone and this is not a good feeling. Please help me to find my purpose here and see that You are God, and that You are good.

A Time of Discouragement

A Time of Discouragement
September 15, 2019

Yesterday was the first time in a year that I did not finish a post. Yesterday just felt hard. My legs are real weak which makes it hard to walk. I feel very discouraged in my faith. In fact, every night for the last three weeks, I spend some time playing some worship songs and praise God, and last night I did not do any of that. I feel in this moment that God is distant, and that He does not care. I read:

11I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. 12Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

I really need to sense God’s goodness again, to seek God like never before, but I feel so discouraged in my faith and do not know what to do. I hope things get better soon.

Prayer:
Father in Heaven, I am really struggling right now to sense Your goodness, and I am not sure what to do. I ask for Your help to connect with You, to experience Your presence, power and love. Please help me with this I pray.

Finding Something Good

Finding Something Good
September 7, 2019
I have been in the desert now for almost three years, and I have complained at times about it. It feels like many people here are anti-social and not kind. Earlier today at the market, there were two shopping carts left. There was a middle age woman who got to the sopping carts first and said out loud “which one is more good”. She took the one that wobbles and left the good one for us. In that moment, I felt so in awe of the goodness of God, and the kindness of this stranger. There is a verse I am thinking of:

8 Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. (Philippians 4:8)

There are times when I think too much about the negative, but even in a place where so many people are not kind, there can still be something good.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us Your goodness, and giving us moments when we can pause and be thankful. Please help us to focus on the good, those things that are beautiful and praise worthy.

Strength in Times of Weakness

Strength in Times of Weakness
August 31, 2019

There are times when we have a difficult project to do and we wonder if we can really do it. This week I had two. I had one project on Thursday and one earlier today that I was not sure if I could do, but God provided the strength and the ability to do so. There is a verse I think of:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

This whole experience living in the desert has been a larger picture of something that has been really hard, and God has helped in so many ways, I really hope to leave this place soon, but in real moments such as today, God has shown up to say that He will and He does help us.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us every moment, and every step in our lives. Sometimes, it can seem like You are far away, and it is in these moments when we need to know that You are close. Please help us know that You are near, and Your strength helps when we feel weak.

Trying to Find Hope

Trying to Find Hope
August 24,2019

This week I received many prayer requests for physical healing. The ones that bother me the most are the prayer requests for very young children who are going through a tough time. I have had a physical condition for the last seven years where I struggle walking even very short distance. I really struggle recently about the goodness of God. Within the last two weeks, I fell once, and nearly fell while trying to go up an incline because my legs are very week. I am starting to read the Bible from Genesis to the end for the first time in a very long time. I came to chapter 16 of Genesis:

7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. (genesis 16:7-14)

The fact that God sees us, He knows us, and He speaks into our lives is a very encouraging thing. I want so much to experience God’s presence, His provision in every area, including healing, but at this moment, I am struggling to believe that God is still good, I need a greater faith in who He is.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You see everything, and know our situation, and somehow in the midst of that, You ehlp us. Recently I am struggling to experience Your goodness, Your presence, and power in my life. So many people need You, and they need healing in their lives, and I am struggling to find hope. Please help me to experience Your power, Your presence more and more.