I know for certain that had not the Lord stripped me off of all that made me proud and self-sufficient (first, my health and strength, then, as a result of this, went my career also), I wouldn’t have easily surrendered my whole life to Him. But it wasn’t only illness that changed the course of my life, enabling me to receive the gift of grace and transforming my life altogether, but it was more due to the brokenness that sin had wrought in me.
At the fullness of all the folly and sinfulness, God is so gracious to send fear in one’s whole being; fear so real and raw and life-threatening that the sinner realizes there is NO OTHER who can deliver him or her from it but the One who has sovereign power over his or her life. So, fear, in this respect, is a tool which God wields over the sinner to bring him or her to repentance. When the Lord called me, I approached with so much fear enveloping my whole being (fear, not toward Him who mercifully saves, but fear that comes from sin and which threatens to destroy one’s very existence). There was no feeling of pride from past performances and accomplishments. There was only brokenness: a sick body and spirit.
I knew then that I was one of those mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:26-28:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.
I know from testimonies I’ve heard that God calls the simple (in wisdom) and poor and weak, but He has called me, too, at the height of my fear (weakness) that paralyzed my otherwise brilliant mind and with a very sick body that was devoid of strength. And if I’m humble and honest enough to admit, I have been called, too, among the base things of the world and the things which are despised (v. 28), for not only the drug addicts and drug pushers, murderers, rapists, and good-for-nothing drunkards and revilers fall into this category, but also the impeccably-suited, excellent-mannered adulterers and adulteresses that lead corporations, and the spotless Barong Tagalog-clothed, smart-talking corrupt government officials, and whoever hides behind a ‘clean’ facade to cover up one’s sinfulness and brokenness. Aren’t these what the Lord talks about in Matthew 23:27? “You are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
I was called in weakness and brokenness, what was there to glory of? Nothing, except in the cross. For in the cross, my sin and shame and all my brokenness were nailed and I was healed.
How then could my sibling who was proud of me (all my siblings were and I believe up to now) of all my worldly success, and who looked up to me tell me to just stop it already and return to my old self and old life. I assume they almost couldn’t stand it – the Christlikeness – for it is entirely different from the life they used to enjoy with me. Of course, I understood and forgave my sister’s ignorance.
But if we are all honest and humble enough to acknowledge and admit our sinfulness and brokenness, we will all come to repentance and receive salvation of our souls. For we are all fallen people. If we are humble and brave enough to come out of our hiding, from our whited sepulchers, from our covering of self-righteousness, we will know and experience a life that is free from any and all kinds of bondage.
And this life is in the Lord Jesus Christ.