Do you know that when I was small, I used to go hide in the bedroom when visitors come? Perhaps mama named me 静(quiet) 薇 (small) because I was. I did not like talking. When I first got married, my in-laws used to say: “Ah bueh in!” (literal: cannot reply! In other words, are you mute? Why are u not replying?)
Through childhood till adolescence, I was often the follower. My capable influential friends were my leaders. I was contented to be in their shadow. But one by one, they left.
At home, my protective parents sheltered me. We were not rich but I had everything I need. Mom and dad got me what I wanted within their means. Many times, they solved problems for me. Then I got married. I had to grow up.
As I looked back, I have come a long way.
Have you ever experienced being in class and your teacher asked a very difficult question? What did you do? I bet you would bow your head or look elsewhere. You would not look her in the eye much less raise your hand.
Jesus once told Peter: Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19)
Indeed, many things in my life I would not choose for myself.
I might have chosen Andrew, I did not choose my in-laws.
I was naive. I did not know the challenges of being married to an only beloved son.
Looking back all these things that I did not choose, these challenges seemingly ‘bad’ and unpleasant, these are the very things that made me grow; these are the agents of change that lead me to a deeper knowledge of God – that my God is great – nothing He cannot do; that my God is love – in spite of the ‘seemingly’ harsh trials that came upon me; that my God is sovereign – He does what He does; He is who He is – who am I to question Him?!
Having a perfectionist husband made me grow up. Life is not and should not be as easy. I need to change my easy-go-lucky ways. I was forced to be ‘not lazy’. I have to be better than I was. No excuses.
And who would choose cancer? Not me! But it was during the period when I was undergoing radiation treatment, when I often felt tired and weary physically, it was during this period when I immersed myself in prayer and God’s Word that I experienced God’s warm embrace around me. It was about the same period, Ondoy, (heavy rains and flooding in Metro Manila) a natural event I would not choose, when my mom came to live with us because her house was flooded. About the same period when she had a surgery to take out her fistula, about the same time when she was weak and frail, when I had to be strong and hide from her that I was sick. I told her early each morning that I’m going to the market when I was actually going to radiation. She must have wondered how come Bea 薇阿 goes to the market everyday.
Yes, many things in life I would not have chosen for myself; places where I would not go; experiences I would not imagine going through. But the paradox of life in the plan of the Creator – is that all things good and bad are for my good and ultimately for His glory.
So next time you are called to answer a very difficult question, take the challenge! Go for gold – it’s a crown of glory waiting for you in eternity and a God-glorifying experience for sure!