Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And the Winner Is...

June 30, 2006 was judgment day, at least for me and the other writers from other nations who joined LITTWORLD’s writing contest. June 30 was the day the organizers notified the winners of the said contest.
I joined the writing contest with hopes of winning, especially since the first place winner would be awarded a full scholarship to the conference in Brazil. That’s equivalent to $US 425 which covers registration fee, hotel accommodation, 14 meals, and tour. It would not only be an honor for any writer to win this international contest, but it would also be a big financial bonus. I figured if I win this contest, I would just have to raise funds for my airfare and pocket money.
Earlier that year, I also joined a lifestyle journalism contest sponsored by a national newspaper. The prize at stake was P25,000 plus gift certificates. Earlier I was hoping to win so I could use the money as start-up fund. I didn’t win and that somehow caused me to doubt God’s provision for a while (See “Have You Been Afraid?”).
Did I win LITTWORLD’s writing contest this time? Did God provide for the $US 425 by causing the judges to award me with the prize money?

No, I didn’t win the contest. I didn’t get any notice on June 30 that I won, not even honorable mention. I would not be awarded the $US 425 prize money, but YES, I believed God would provide that amount to cover my registration expense.
When I joined the lifestyle journalism contest, I was confident God would give me favor and let me win. When I didn’t, I learned to be more open and submissive to God’s ways and means. So even before June 30, I was already convinced that whatever the outcome, in the end, God will still provide for me.
I needed to be convinced of this so one morning, I turned to Psalm 74:12-17:

You, O God, are my king from ages past,
bringing salvation to the earth
You split the sea by your strength
and smashed the head of the sea monsters
You crushed the heads of Leviathan
and let the desert animals eat him.
You caused the springs and streams to gush forth
and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
Both day and night belong to you;
you made the starlight and the sun.
You set the boundaries of the earth,
and you made both summer and winter.

God is King of all the earth. He is the Almighty God who does the impossible and the unexpected. Everything is at His disposal and He sets the limits. He is the God whose blessings can be limitless to those who trust Him.

The following day, I went to the bank to check if the deposit promised by someone has been made already. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a generous gift has indeed been quickly debited. After about two hours, I went to the grocery to buy something when I bumped into a missionary couple whom I’ve known for some years. Before we parted, the wife apologetically handed me a few dollar bills, saying they’re seed money for the trip to Brazil. I was humbled by their selfless giving and willingness to help in spite of their own need. They truly blessed my heart.
I was already exhilarated by this turn of events when another surprise came. On my way home, I received a text message from a friend asking if I prefer a peso or dollar deposit. God is pouring out His resources just as He promised!

Sometimes, we second-guess God in the way He would bless us. But often, God would not let us win. He has plenty of surprises up His sleeve. It would be best for us to trust His judgment because if we do, we come out as winners in the end.

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