Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Picnic, Anyone?

I neatly laid the diced boiled potatoes on the plastic container. Then next to them I piled the sliced ripe red tomatoes as well as the fragile hardboiled eggs. Quickly, I prepared the herb and oil dressing for my salad. It was an exciting day. I was going on a picnic.

The idea to go on a picnic all by myself came several days after working hard in front of the computer. In the past, I had set aside special days for rest. Quiet times with my Creator in a secluded place. My wearied mind finally agreed with my tired body and hungry spirit. I needed a rest.

Seconds after I made the decision, my cell phone beeped. It's a text message from a friend: "Time spent with the Lord is always time well spent. 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' Mark 6:31. Have a good and godly day."

Coincidence? More like a heaven-sent confirmation!

So I packed my salad, apple juice, banana, Bible, and two other books. I retreated to a nearby campsite and enjoyed the green and peaceful scenery. I climbed the tree house. I curled on

the hammock. I listened to the joyful songs of Hill Song from a borrowed MP3. I thanked God for His blessings as well as asked for a few more favors. I read some verses from the Bible and finished two chapters of a book I bought from a second-hand store. And yes, I leisurely forked my salad, savoring the taste of the potatoes, tomatoes, and eggs with herbs. For a few hours, the countdown to deadlines stopped ticking. All I could hear were the swaying of the leaves and the creaking of bamboos as they bent to the wind.

I often read that rest is good. After resting, we come out recharged not only with a renewed strength, but with a refreshed mind as well. Picnic, anyone?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Wait?

Pause for a minute and think of the times when people have to wait.

You'll realize that most people wait for a lifetime partner, for the birth of their first baby, for a chance to own a house and lot. Some are too eager for a promotion while others are getting impatient to finish an obligation.

Many people like you wait for a petition or request to be granted, for prayers to be answered, for the bus or the pizza you ordered to arrive, for weekend to come. I can mention some more but if I go on you might accuse me of wasting your time.

The truth is, time is a precious commodity. And for a busy and sensible person, the maxim to live by is use time wisely and make use of every opportunity.

However, there are well-appointed moments when we have to leave our time machine and free ourselves from the strait jacket of schedules. These are challenging moments, for the tendency to yield to frustration and anguish is so great when we wait. But consider this: Times and seasons of waiting are unique opportunities for us to grow and experience God's provision.

This is what one lady missionary learned when she became very ill while on a mission. Sick and in need of good food to nourish herself, she waited for her check to arrive but it did not come. So she was forced to content herself with oatmeal and canned milk for 30 days. This sad turn of events caused this Christian worker to doubt God's goodness.

However, in spite of her measly diet, the missionary recovered. At the end of the 30-day oatmeal diet, she finally received her check, enabling her to buy other foods. When she finally had a chance to speak to a congregation, the lady missionary related her tough experience to them. After the meeting, a kind doctor inquired about her ailment. Upon hearing the nature of the digestive malfunction, the doctor said, "Well, if your check had arrived, you would not be here talking to me today. The diet we always prescribe for that trouble is a 30-day oatmeal diet."

Like the missionary, we often feel that God should do something concrete in our times of trouble. The good news is, God is always at work, though it may seem that nothing is happening. God may require us to wait so that we may learn the virtue of patience, trust, and moving according to His timing.