Wednesday, January 30, 2002


I want to part the clouds so I can see
Why GOD is doing this to me;
He gives a glimpse of the Promised Land,
But the road looks so crooked from where I stand!

I heard You, LORD, you told me to walk;
Yet at every turn there's a stumbling block.
I look at the sky where my steps are plotted;
And wonder why down here looks so wretched.

With hands upraised, I surrender to You;
I want to obey what You told me to do.
I close my eyes and plod among thorns,
While fiery coals sear through flesh to my bones.

I kneel down, so weak and beaten;
I turn to GOD and the words that are written:
"The LORD will make good His purpose for me."
Does that mean all this pain is necessary?

I want to turn back to my old routine;
To give up on this whole pain-obedience thing.
So JESUS again spoke into my heart,
"Just a little more patience and My promises will start."

His voice so loving and eyes penetrating,
I show Him where my wounds are bleeding.
One gentle touch and I am slowly healed,
Though still unsure what all these will yield.

Then I hear a melody, faint but clear;
The music comes from my falling tears!
This is pure joy that is taking place,
For I am in the middle of JESUS' embrace.

No longer alone, helpless and afraid,
He reminds me that my sins have been paid.
Surely Someone who knows and loves me this much,
Shall not withhold what I sincerely ask.

Aware of His presence, assured of His promise,
I begin to trust in His powerful message.
I allow myself a small hopeful smile,
And count on things I haven't imagined in a while.

My faith walk is not the least bit easy,
But I sense that it was made especially to suit me.
So I do not question and doubt GOD's promise anymore,
And I shall prepare my heart for whatever He has in store.

Monday, January 07, 2002

Believe (The Lord of the Rings Movie Review)

Do you feel like a king who refuses to take his throne because of fear of the evil and weakness that he suspects run in his blood?

Do you feel like a hobbit, small and unknown, on whom a great task is assigned and who wishes his prayers for adventures away from his happy hometown were never answered?

Do you feel like a wizard, old and wise, who feels alone, burdened and betrayed, yet who has to fulfill his part in protecting the races from the evil that threatens to destroy the world?

Have you ever doubted if you were any match for the challenges set before you, unsure whether you have it in you to conquer boldly your enemies who are closing in on you?

If there ever was a movie to rebuild your self-confidence, if there ever was a movie to make you believe in your own potential for greatness, that movie has got to be "The Fellowship of the Ring". It is sure to stir the adventurer in you: the fighter, the winner, the dreamer and the believer. As JRR Tolkien's characters come to life in this movie, you cannot help but be swept away by the bravery and loyalty they displayed amidst the darkness and chaos surrounding them. You cannot help but imagine yourself as part of that exclusive fellowship, proud to represent your race and to fight side by side with the anointed heroes of all the other races that inhabit Middle Earth.

Sometimes in life our fears overwhelm as and hinder us from taking any further steps. We resist greatness because we are afraid of failure and of its corollary pain. We deny our destiny, as determined by the blood that runs through our veins, because of fear. We refuse to accept what is offered to us and even go to the extent of wishing we have never come across them because of the responsibilities attached. Thus, we miss out on life. We forego our dreams. We live in mediocrity. We lead a comfortable life, probably, but one that is bereft of the glory that could have been ours had we been more willing to play our roles with passion. This was where I was
coming from when I saw the movie last weekend.

The wizard Gandalf, left with no choice, entrusted into Frodo Baggin's safekeeping the one ring that could destroy mankind. Frodo trusted Gandalf and met the challenge head on, pushing his fears aside, fighting the tempting offers that the ring whispers everyday. But Gandalf did not leave Frodo alone. In fact, he took a mean wizard-level beating because he stood up against evil to protect what is good. As if being hurled against mighty bolted doors was not enough, Gandalf had to die in the hands of an ancient enemy, to protect Frodo and the rest of the fellowship of the ring. Gandalf asked Frodo to follow him, yet he watched Frodo's back, and yes, died for
him. Now this story seems to be very familiar, especially to us Christians. Mr. Gandalf does not seem to have made original decisions then, because one Man already asked us to follow Him, to be different, and to stand up for righteousness. This Man did not leave us alone in our quest, either. He even went before us, faced the dangers for us, took the beatings for us, and died to save us all.

With Gandalf gone, Frodo feels alone but continues to pursue the mission that Gandalf asked him to do. Now I will let you in on a common secret, and that is, that Gandalf has not really left Frodo entirely. He may be physically absent, but he will be with Frodo as he fulfills his mission,
every step of the way. Because he will finish what he has begun in the little unsuspecting hobbit's life.

I entered the moviehouse last Sunday struggling with some life-direction decisions. I knew God was inviting me to give more and to leave my comfort zone for him but I had grown accustomed to my little world that any thought of pain, failure and suffering led me to shut out God's voice. Our relentless God spoke to me through the movie, then, and showed me what I refused to see. That He wouldn't ask me to do something that I could not do, despite my size, limitations and weaknesses. That He would never leave me alone. That He has set me apart for a specific plan He has in mind. And that there is glory in boldly pursuing His will in my life, beyond what my
eyes can see, beyond my imagination.

When I was a teenage reader of the Tolkien trilogy, the books mainly made me imagine how Legolas and Aragorn looked like, but did not really have a spiritual dimension for me. Today, I did gawk at swift-footed, sharp-shooting Legolas. I did swoon over brave and noble Aragorn. More importantly, however, I started to listen to God's call for warriors to fight the good fight of faith again. I began to believe again in God's love, in God's promise. I began to believe I could do more through my mission again. I left the moviehouse feeling like I could do anything, by God's grace. And that's a feeling I would recommend for all of you, brothers and sisters. Go ahead and watch that movie. I might even go with you to watch it again, for another dose of magical inspiration.