Pressed // Playing Catch-Up (35-36/365)

Monday. More or less dressed up before heading out to the celebration of a friend’s wedding, but I thought I’d go ahead and do some remedial work. That is, writing.

I haven’t given up. I was just set back. I still think all this is important.

While I was sick, these notions of keeping up with 1000 words and 10000 steps a day were completely out of my mind. Part of me was thinking, as I was recovering, that I should have least tried to hit the quota, or I should have at least posted each day, in order to capture the words regardless of quantity or quality, just as a perspective from being in intense pain. But that was the thing. It was too much pain, I was rendered speechless… or in this case, wordless.

And that’s a beautiful point that came up as I was wrapping up my sermon yesterday. Yes, I made it, and yes, I was able to spend time with my team afterwards… but I didn’t drive them home just yet. Maybe it’s time to phase that out.

But anyway. I loved how things came together as I was wrapping up our overall vision for the year 2022, because it was in our discussion of Psalm 22 that some beautiful insights came up – that was, that we are not timid to ignore out problems, but we are courageous to face them, standing on the promises of God fulfilled by Christ. As I was wrapping up yesterday’s message, I skipped through Acts 17:28 and Colossians 1:17, and went straight to Psalm 136. I had to do a little searching while I was live, but I eventually found that Psalm, the same one that ends each statement with: “…for His love endures forever.”

I mean, I did it. I did my recap. I did my story about getting sick. But how I ended it, even I didn’t expect – Because as I was reading Psalm 136 out loud, I was reminded of something I watched on Christian TV long ago, when Doeg sold out the priests for letting David off the hook as Saul was hunting him down. As Doeg was slaying each priest one by one, they were singing Psalm 136 in a way that I didn’t expect – Lead priest sings the Psalm, but it’s the rest of the priests who sing ‘His love endures forever’ as a chorus or response.

In the same way, I told the congregation, that I absolutely insisted in telling them every detail of how I got sick and how it felt and so on.. why? Because I couldn’t think of anything else at the time. The pain was that great that I was, indeed, rendered speechless and just out of words. But when you think about it, even if the Lead priest goes out of tune or rhythm, even if Doeg strikes him down before the other priests, everyone to the last man will sing, ‘His love endures forever’.

The point here being, even in the depths of the most unmanageable and unthinkable of pains, find rest. You don’t have to sing. It’s the Holy Spirit who reminds us, it’s the Holy Spirit who sings… ‘His love endures forever.’

As I think about how I’m going to make up for the backlog of words I’m still due to churn out of my system, the idea seems daunting, but one thing that does keep me going is the guarantee that I’d definitely feel better about myself if I got out of this red that I brought myself into. It’s just right that I mention that. I know it’s a setback. I know it’s pressure. All the better to do all I could possibly do to get out of it, and whatever comes out, no matter how it rates in quality, or even if it matters to do any sort of rating, well.. whatever comes out, what matters is it came out.

Getting better physically, and re-orienting yourself back to reality after a bout of sickness, no matter how long or short or how intense you make it seem, you realize something – your brain comes back to life, and you sort of ask yourself, if the things that you devoted so much thought into before you went on brain vacation still merit the same amount of focus.

I haven’t necessarily come to a full recovery just yet – see, just right there I had trouble coming up with the word ‘recovery’ – and I’m already thinking, man, I probably brought too much thought into a whole bunch of things, and with it came a lot of stress. I’ll say it – I’ll imply the presence of stress even though I don’t feel it, it’s just because my body knows my body more than myself, and I have no idea of all the variables and factors that are wearing down on my system at any given moment.

Perhaps I should turn that around – I’ll not only imply, but acknowledge the presence, the Truth of Christ and His finished work, in spite of all the variables and factors wearing down on my being at any given moment.

I stumbled upon a nice perspective of Romans 8:28, something I heard while my Mom’s iPad was on full volume as she browsed from one Facebook video to another: If we were once bothered by every little thing linked to a potentially worse thing, or if we already were just bothered by the little thing to begin with, we would do ourselves an enormous favor if we remember exactly what was mentioned: That God is faithful to make all things work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

We ought to remember:

(1) That God is faithful. There’s no one or nothing in all of creation that could ever be just as faithful and true for each and every one of us, than the Creator of the Universe.

(2) He makes all things work for the good. Whereas we’re trying to look at the smallest dirt on anyone and call it journalism, or we’re just trying to tear each other down as we all feel torn down ourselves, God is not in the business of topping any of us – He makes ALL things work for the good. ALL things vast and miniscule, God makes all things work for His perfect perspective of ‘good’, which is the literal BEST.

(3) This is for those who love Him. And how do we know we love Him? We can be sure we love Him only because we ourselves realize, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that He loved us first. There can be no loving from us to any direction without us realizing it was God who went out of His way first and loved us by way of Christ and His finished work.

(4) This is for those who are called according to His purpose. What does this mean? It’s God’s purpose, God’s will for none to perish, but have everlasting life. We who believed in God’s only begotten Son shall not perish, but have eternal life. All are called by the Holy Spirit, and by the same Holy Spirit we have come to believe.

The bottom line here is that an addition to all the wonderful thoughts that hold us together daily, hour by hour, minute by minute, and every second, is that the minor and major things and nothings that happen to us, and all that happens by us are not in the uncharted seas of uncertainty – no, they all figure in the hands of our God, who loves us as a Father.

No regrets, only steps forward.

I remember Bob Ross, and his philosophy – ‘There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.‘ So true.

By His love that endures forever, we understand that all things work together for our good.

Or, well, by continually taking in the truth of His love enduring forever whether we have a say on it or not, our actions shine with confidence, as we know that no less than the Creator beyond time and space is faithful to make all things work together for our good.

In this case, any and all cringe moments I’ve had in the past can be faced with a greater peace, and released, only to be embraced with love and re-released or addressed when necessary.

Any and all regrets can no longer be seen only through a lens of the present pain of repercussions, those we bring upon ourselves oftentimes. Instead, we are able to see them in a more realistic view, without giving extra attention or emphasis on details that should probably be just seen as details.

I mean, just to take in this love, the ONLY love as that which comes from God, made available and overflowing in and through us through Christ – just to take it in, just to let it soak, is such a pleasure already. Perhaps in times that I encounter the same, or different flavors of the high level of pain I had last week at around this time, this same love would just be taken in more, that I would bring to remembrance that which does stand forever – God’s love and grace, through Christ and His finished work.

Forgive me, because at this point I’m just rejoicing. The fever is just about gone, I’m sleeping very well, the headaches are gone, the rashes are totally gone, this stomach pain is subsiding, and here I am, perhaps bruised inside and out from this ordeal, but I could not say I didn’t learn anything from all this.

I hope that through all these words I draw them out, if only for myself.

There are certainly lots of areas of improvement. There are still lots of perspectives to see this everlasting love in, and how it ought to flow through us. To know that His love endures forever is an adventure for each and every Christian – or, in other words, every day is an adventure for each and every one of us, because God’s love truly endures forever.

Yeah, I think I’ll spend a little more time and words on dwelling on that – where I was this time last week. I was most probably right here, in the same sofa where I type this now, in clothes warming me up by way of covering as much of me as possible – hoodie and jogging pants. I couldn’t remember the exact time that was, but the chills I was feeling were really, really bad. The second time it happened, yeah, that was pretty bad – it took 2 blankets, and a total of 3 hot water bags to at least calm me down.

I was pretty bothered by that – I felt a really bad fever, but at the same time I was feeling chills. Sort of like my body was going through the process of purging bad stuff out of my body by way of heat, but at the same time – I don’t know, at the same time my body would respond to, say, anything cold I ingest or put on my forehead?

Out of all this I also realize that any issues we may have with our blood affect the entire body, and the stomach is certainly not exempt. So it may have felt like a heartburn at first, but it was really dengue (or whatever wreaked havoc on my platelet count) that did a number on me. Either way, yes, I do recall something I was thinking about during the more painful times – that I need to work on the health of my blood. I remember reading on getting more greens into my system, and that’ll definitely be something I enrich myself with in these coming days.

I guess Popeye was right with spinach. Well, at least on how it’s good for the blood, along with any other green, leafy vegetable. There’s also the stock of wheatgrass and barley in powder form that have yet to be taken advantage of.

But I’m drifting. I mean, yeah.. Just to think of the stark difference between how pathetic I was last week compared to now, I just have to say it again – God’s love endures forever.

If, for some twisted reason you make it this far, even if you understand this is really more for me, well, thanks. Please understand I am still in the red but I will be back to bringing out choice words very soon. Thank you.

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