Some of us don’t realize what we have, and their great value, until we see others who don’t have them.
This reminds me of a story I heard from a speaker in one of our school’s commencement exercises back in the province many years ago. This speaker was a neighbor, father of a friend, and aside from speaking in schools’ important occasions, he also wrote oratorical pieces. I always remember his gentle manner: he never pounced on the podium to emphasize his point but his speeches and stories were engaging.
This is one of those stories I haven’t forgotten:
A boy was going to receive a medal for academic excellence in their school’s closing exercises. He excitedly asked his farmer father to buy him a pair of shoes for the occasion. He never had a pair of shoes. He wore slippers to school, just like the other pupils. But his father gently told him that there was no way they could afford to buy a pair of shoes.
Dismayed, the boy tried to stop the tears from falling and quietly left his father’s presence. He went out of their house sulking. He was so sad and disappointed he just walked and walked. Then, he met a boy of about the same age as he, walking with crutches for he only had one leg.
I always think about this story whenever I am confronted with a similar situation. That is, when my Father in heaven decides not to give me what I’m earnestly praying for now and I try to fight the feeling of dejection.
I have been especially pondering on these things since the holiday season when I observed how people (may include family and friends) celebrated Christmas and New Year. (I do my best to be careful in discussing this and try not to judge). I have observed how wine makes them merry: sing, dance, and laugh cheerfully.
This stayed with me for days and I couldn’t help but think about my life before I surrendered my life to the Lord and embraced His Gospel of salvation. My work then gave me a lot of satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment but I also experienced finding my happiness in other pursuits like shopping, going to the bar with friends, and drinking liquor because of personal problems and inner turmoil that I was going through. The merriness was always ignited by these things but it never stayed.
For a few hours of cheerfulness under the liquor’s influence, the heart forgets its own aches. But I know how shallow happiness could be when derived from things that are only temporary.
Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ, I never drank a single drop of liquor from the day I received Him in my life. Now, I came to realize that I never needed a “quick fix” to find joy and happiness. And I realized, too, how the Lord gives faith, hope, love, peace, and joy – enduring riches – that remain even through the fiercest storms of life. And these are the gifts I have and hold.
If one is looking for the realest things in life, these – faith, hope, love, peace, joy – are them.
Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness. (Prov. 8:18)
What greater gifts can there be than the gifts of faith, hope, love, peace, and joy? For with —
Faith – we learn not to worry and to trust God completely for blessed is the man that trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8)
Hope – for if one does not have hope, what is the purpose of living? And we hope for that which is laid up for us in heaven (Col. 1:5).
Love – begets peace and joy.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).
For there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Below, I share with you a video of the anointed singing of Adults Choir of the Baliwag, Bulacan Outreach (a province north of Metro Manila) of our Church, Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry. Witness the powerful moving of the Holy Spirit among the beloved choir members and brethren.
I included the lyrics below and since it’s in Tagalog, I wrote my own translation in English. This translation doesn’t go with the melody but only for foreign readers to be able to understand and appreciate what is being sung. I pray you’ll be blessed by it.Hawak-hawak Pa Rin (Always Held by You) I Salamat po, Ama (Thank You, Father) Sa bawat araw na nagdaan (For each day that had passed) Kahit may kahirapan (Even if there was hardship) Di Mo ako pinababayaan (You never leave me) Kaya naman ang buhay ko (That’s why my life) Ay inaalay sa ‘Yo (I offer to You) Dumating man ang unos (‘Cause even when storms come) Ako pa rin ay hawak Mo (You will always hold me) Chorus: Dumating man ang dilim (When darkness comes) Pagsubok may’ nasa akin (And I go through trials) Pangako Mo’y laging ako’y (You promised that You’ll always) Iyong hawak-hawak pa rin (hold me tight) Ang puso ko’y humihikbi (My heart weeps) Sa dalamhati at sakit (In sorrow and pain) Ito’y aking titiisin (I will endure everything) Hanggang sa ‘Yong pagbabalik (Until You come again!) II Ang buhay kong ito (My life) Ay nasa Iyong nga kamay (Is in your hands) Hawakan Mo, Ama, baka ako mapahiwalay (Hold me, Father, that I may not fall) Palakarin Mo ako na may takot sa ‘Yo (Let me walk before You with fear) At iyong alalayan ang bawat hakbang ko! (And guide my every step!)