I’ve written this a long time ago (late February this year). I just want to post this here. It reminded me of how I got obsessed with finding the most easily understood Bible version. This comes so close to my testimony, though I still haven’t written it but this should be a prologue. 🙂
When I was young, I could say that I was a dreamer. I have BIG dreams for myself. But things happened and reality bites. I am also a person whose favorite question is WHY. They say everything has a reason and that is why in every events in my life, I always need reasons. I am in constant search of answers. That is why pursuit of knowledge keeps me going (maybe before when I was younger…)
I am a girl searching for something, but it seems like whatever I do, there is always something missing. That is until God becomes real in my life.
Now God has always been good to me despite my constant doubt and anger. I have known Him ever since I was a kid. I was 4 years old when I could remember praying to Him at night, to give me cake and ice cream and a doll that walks. In grade school and high school, I have learned about the Sacraments and saints and all the other Roman Catholic teachings. I have served the church when I was young. I have been faithful, always going to church every sunday, praying the rosary everyday, but when I went away to college, somehow I got lost. I studied in a university of free thinkers. Being away from my family was hard. But I kept on. I had hold on to my belief of heaven and if I want to go there I have to do good things. Good people go to heaven they say. When I was in my 3rd year of college, there in a masonry, I met this Pastor. I met him there one time when my groupmates and I were doing research about Jose Rizal, our national hero and how he was a mason. The Pastor asked what was my religion,. I answered, “Catholic.”
“What kind of Catholic?” he further asked me.
Is there other kind of Catholic, I’ve thought to myself. But I answered, “Catholic Christian, Roman Catholic…”. I think he supplied me with the answer.
“I hope you don’t mind but can I ask you something?” he asked me.
“It’s okay, ” I answered.
“How can you go to heaven?”
I quickly answered him, ” By doing good!”
“Wrong!”, he told me.
How dare you! And who are you to tell me I’m wrong?! I’ve thought to myself. It turned out I do mind. My church has constantly told us to do good so we could go to heaven and then this man was telling me that I was wrong. I just could not accept it.
Then he went on to explain why, “We could be saved by accepting Jesus as our Saviour.”
But I didn’t really get it. And so I went on with my life. Fell in love, graduated from college. Became a pharmacist. Worked hard. Continued reaching for my dream. I prayed hard. Went to church. Went through trials in life. It caused me to seek God. Near my work before was a newly opened Christian bookstore. I loved books. I went there one time and saw this pamphlet which was so affordable. It was about being saved. I forgot my reason why I bought it but I bought it anyway. There I have read how we could be saved. I think that was the time I accepted Jesus in my life to be my Saviour. But that was it. There was a command written there that God should be the first in my life. That time I was so in love with my then boyfriend. But I admitted to God that maybe I could not say it. Because for me then, my boyfriend was the first in my life.
My father died at a time when my faith in God was strong. Thank God for that. I searched for Him even more. But how can I find Him when my heart is elsewhere. He is present in my life. I still pray. I sometimes went to church. I did all that I could. I held on with life. I wasn’t that religious anymore, but I knew that God was in my life.
I have long loved the Holy Week because that was the time that I could really feel God’s love.I’ve been bad to Him in so many ways, I’m a sinner. How many times has He been good to me and yet when a trial comes I always blame and question His love for me. My need for answers to the questions of life has made me seek some secrets in life–the law of attraction, but before that I have read the Purpose Driven Life, but then I was young and in love. I never really get the thought of the book. The Secret has been a big help, but when challenges happen to me, I could not understand why. I seldom go to church. I am a Roman Catholic but I feel like God doesn’t get it that He must have not care because He allows bad things to happen to my dreams. Whatever I’m going through, He does not get it. People kept telling me that there is a reason for everything. Again?! They kept telling me that. “Then why is God kind to ___ and to ___? Why are their dreams a reality and my dreams denied? Have I been that bad? My intention is not selfish…I want to help others, because these lucky people refuse to help out…then why can’t my dreams come true?” I always have conversation with God, but I have lots of questions. I am not that religious like faithfully go to church every Sunday or everyday. I prefer going to church when there weren’t that many people in church. I prefer to be with Him alone. I have long asked Him to be my Saviour that was why I have a background on Him. I was raised by my family well. They introduced me to God. But somewhere along the way, I got lost every now and then. Like a Good Shepherd, the lost sheep is always found. He never gave up on me. Here was how I was found:
I feel like it’s the end of me, like my world is falling apart. Then I saw my worn-out Bible. I always carry it in my bag so I will always have something to read whenever I’m bored or waiting for whatever. But I have never opened it for a very long time. But at that time, out of misery and with nowhere to turn to, I opened my Bible. Then I’ve read Romans 12. My life changed after that. The verses were speaking to me. I have discovered that the answers are there in the Bible. God finally got through to me.
I reflected on those verses for a long time. But it didn’t end there, I wanted more. I wanted to listen to His Word. I seek Him. I want Him. I crave for His Word.
Now that I know that every answer is in the Bible, I wanted a version that I can understand better. One time, I was so into finding the right version, and I was really opening every Bible versions opening Romans 12. Moreover, I wanted a beautiful Bible. But then the girly, beautiful Bibles don’t come cheap. I bought the Contemporary English Version (CEV) just like my old worn-out Bible. But I just couldn’t stop until I find the Bible for me, then one time I decided to check the Bibles at National Bookstore. And there I saw the Today’s English Version. I was spo happy like I have an epiphany. I even bothered my friends through an SMS late at night just to ask them about the versions of their Bibles.
Now, one time, I think I may have passed by UN Avenue and I saw the Philippine Christian Bookstore (PCBS). I had this urge to go check it out. So one lunch break, I went there. Then I went to Philippine Bible Store (PBS) which is different from PCBS. Luckily it was on sale. I stayed there and really looked around. I saw this Bible with colors and drawings and it was so girly. But then it was not TEV, it was Good News Translation version (GNT). I opened Romans 12, and lo and behold! The verses there were the same as the TEV. I later discovered that TEV is the same as GNT. Haha!!! There’s more…that Bible is supposed to be around Php700 but since it was on sale, I only bought it for P400+…what a score!!!
I now have the Bible with me. 🙂
But sometimes the fear and misery would still strike me. But God is there to listen, comfort and answer me. Whenever, I got caught up with the world, this song verse (which is from the Bible also) reminds me of why I am in for the Kingdom.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
My goal now is the Kingdom of God. I want to be with God. I want to be saved.
Now that I am in, I have to grow in my faith. God has to prepare me for the Kingdom. I am a sinner, sins are like dirt on our body. God is the light. When we come near Jesus, we come near the light therefore, we also see our dirt. God will show us our dirt. But He will not just show us. He also wants us to clean them. But He will not let us do it alone. He will give us the Holy Spirit to help us clean ourselves. He will give us the grace to change for the better.
Little by little He is molding me into His likeness which is painful most of the time. Sometimes, we may have to go against our will. But we have to obey. Obey in faith although we may not understand why. I realized these:
That if God can command the air and the water to create a storm just to stop me from myself, and if He could send me pansit canton just to make me happy, He could also change the whole law of a country just to stop me from going there. He could allow painful things to happen but He could also allow good things to happen whether we ask for it or not. That He could show me a church in our place just so I could attend the weekly service. That He could create a Bible study group so convenient for me. He is so kind to me. He is so nice to me. He must have love me so much. I know now that He is a God who knows what He is doing. He is smart and wise. I know now that He is in control, that He is in charge. I wholeheartedly trust Him.
Holy Spirit dwell in my life. Never ever let me go. Thank You so much for being so good to me. All I want it to be with You.