Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
By Maria Kana Santos
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Stream of emotions flooded within. Silence could not contain them much longer. But words wouldn’t pour forth and freely. And discouragement began to engulf another servant-writer.
“I can’t write. I can’t do it!” I exclaimed with exasperation.
Colour-coded and numbered journals, fifteen to count, piled up. I leafed through page after page. I combed every jumbled notes queuing for notice.
An exceptionally gifted in music, I still complained about my life for being extremely different from most of my friends. I was not proud of it. But I had supposed that twenty-three years of experience as a home-based young woman, which should have sufficed, at least on a one-paged, well-written composition!
Laptop patiently displayed picture after picture on its screen-saver. My two-sentence draft, since two odd hours ago at sitting, hadn’t moved along.
One early morning, my spirit yearned and searched for the Great Author of life. My Bible on hand. And in my desperate prayer, I listened carefully to the still, small voice:
“What do You have me to do and write, Lord?”
“Start small. Have you forgotten those days of small things?” said the answer.
I paused, pondered, and carefully studied His words by Zechariah.
“I have too many insignificant small things, and they do not count for Your glory, considering my frailties.”
“Under whose and what measuring- line do you judge this? Reassuringly, the Master Builder continued, “I will build by your life in My perfect time and place for you.”
“Let’s begin from your very recent yellow-green journal, number fifteen.”
I nimbly reached for it from the bottom. I was quite impressed with it, except for one little detail.
“Do you remember what you have asked Me to help you with?”
I reread my prayer from my journal and replied confidently:
“I have asked You to help me grow and increase faith in You.
To flourish my zeal and devotion to You.
Empower me with grace to be faithful and true.
Strengthen me to forgive and show mercy
To the ones that hurt me; and give my soul peace.”
I retraced His words, “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but heaviness and sorrow...”
“With all due respect, Lord,” I interrupted with a little impatience, “what do you mean... chasten me?”
As a loving Father, He spoke , “Nevertheless afterward, My discipline of you and instructions will yield peace-giving fruit of righteousness in you.” Softly and tenderly He asked me, “Do you understand?”
I didn’t answer. But deep in my heart I understood clearly.
I heard more truth that confronted me, “Will you bear my cross and follow Me?”
I kept silent.
“You seem to let Your hand work evil to assail my soul more.”
“Fear not. I will help you. I will save you.”
“You seem to crush my bones to death; a beaten-out-spirit as a hammer breaks a rock to pieces.”
“’I AM nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.’”
“Will there be no end to my struggles and death to self?”
“I AM near you. My eyes are upon the righteous, and My ears are open unto their cry.”
“You seem to afflict me more with despair. My life is too slow and sheltered... nothing seems to be
“Haven’t I affirmed you last week that I would lead you to the Rock much higher than all your troubles? I AM Faithful. My judgements are always right. Haven’t I been a shelter to you, and a strong tower from the enemy of your soul? ”
“You thwart many of my motives, plans, and schemes.
And restrain my desires and bring me low. “Why is it, Lord?”
“My child, I have let my Hand work through your trials for you. That patience may perfect you. I have indeed answered your prayers for grace and faith to forgive, love and show mercy to those that persecute you for your faith and obedience.”
“Are these the crosses you have wanted me to endure? Are these the “afterwards” You have promised me peaceable fruit of righteousness?”
“I see it now, Lord. You have been freeing me of my pride and self.”
“I have not fully surrendered my will,
my earthly joys and affections to You.
Please have mercy, Lord. Instruct me more.
As You have always done before”
“My loving-kindness and mercies are new every morning.”
I searched His face and He smiled at me, ““Now, what have you written so far?”
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