Summer 2019: “O Come to the Altar”

28 August 2019

A little over one year ago, I experienced the most surreal God willing opportunity to reunite with my birth family. An experience I shared in prior blog posts. (And another reunion this past January 2019!)

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There has been much closure and joy in the past 12+ months, but there has also been an increasing expectation of myself to use this story to reveal another example of God’s Glory. Life continues, and this journey is just the beginning. Two months ago, I finished my first year in the Doctorate Physical Therapy Program. There were many more challenges I already expected to face, but not the challenges that occurred. I prayed and praised God, everyday thinking about my family in China, and knew I truly experienced God’s favor (why? I don’t know…), His provision, His goodness. Since last summer, I knew even more so the pressure not to fail Him, to bring Him glory, and to continually thank Him. I thought not to ask Him for “unnecessary” help during difficult times because I know God already has his plans, and I need only to trust.

Life happens… and with the pressures of being in a doctorate program, surrounding myself with nonbelievers, consumed with pleasing man…I am like Peter who jumped out of the boat fully trusting, fearless, God-driven, and filled with joy in Jesus’s presence and soon taking his eyes off of Jesus and to the current situation and earthly problems he began to sink.

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But when I began to sink, I didn’t respond like Peter… I so badly wanted to call on Jesus, saying, “Lord, save me.” But I couldn’t. Afterall I saw my sin. I knew my sin. I knew I was (and still am) consumed with pleasing man. I knew the reason I began to sink and continually gasping for air was the effect of my own choosing. There is no excuse. For many months and even more so the past four to five months, I knew I needed to reconnect with God, but I always created excuses.

Shame crept in and told me: how can you call on the Lord, He has done so much for you, and you want to ask Him for help…this is your fault. You are feeling this way because of your actions.

Shame slowly continued to consume me… reminding me I am not good enough, only I could be a fool to ask God to reveal Himself when he ALREADY has revealed himself MANY times.

Fear told me: what if you fail again…you are going to fail… you will disappoint God again…Don’t hurt Him again… Don’t make promises when you know you will screw up again.

I know Jesus was there with open arms…with an outstretched hand…and yet I couldn’t make myself reach out my hand into His. Instead, for the past few months, I decided to fight continually on my own determined not to sink. I was not only determined to stay above water but to stand on the water again…then if I could stand on the water, I would let God help me. I needed to regain the level of relationship with God from last year before I could let God help me. Because after all, all that has happened and all my feelings, that is under my control, right? It is my fault, right?

I know I need God, I want to reconnect with God, I need a community, accountability, and a fresh start, but how? Every time I open scripture, I struggle to feel connected. Every time I read song lyrics, I feel an artificial connection. Every time I attend church, my mind is consumed with everything but God. Every time I meet a Christian friend, I can’t seem to be open with my struggles and challenges truly.

I needed an experience that would guide me to find my way back to Christ, but how?

Living Water Conference 2019. That was my answer.

During some personal devotional time, I needed a visual for how I feel and Peter came to my mind. God used the story to make my abstract thoughts become a clearly visible picture of how I felt.

During LWC evening Chapel, the keynote speaker preached about Exodus 33. He starts by reading Exodus 33 when Moses asks God to reveal himself further. Exodus 33: 13- If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor…”
The keynote speaker continues (and I thought the same) How could Moses ask God to reveal Himself when Moses already experienced God to reveal himself through a burning bush, ten plagues, the exodus, the parting of the red sea, to name a few examples. My thoughts and feelings were: Moses, how could you ask that?? Your entire life reveals God’s glory. From Moses beginning when he was saved and hidden, Pharaoh’s daughter choosing to save him and raise him, the opportunity to reunite with his biological brother and serve alongside him…the list continues. I felt embarrassed and some shame for Moses as he seemed to ask God for more when God already revealed himself in the most amazing awe-inspiring ways.
O come to the alter
After this sermon, the music started…”O Come to the Altar” (Elevation Worship) the lyrics appeared on the screen and the ASL interpreter began to sign, and the sound of the drums and guitar echoed. The lyrics started, ” Are you hurting and broken within… Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin…Jesus is Calling” There I felt the power of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to pray, but what should I ask. Earlier that afternoon, God revealed the story of Peter walking on water to me. But now, how could I pray about that?

One of my sweet Jesus loving friends asked me if I was ok and if I needed to chat. Initially , I felt a rush of discomfort and awkwardness…”No thank you” with a smile. A few minutes later, she taps me on the shoulder again, “Can I pray for you?” “What can I pray for?”.
My reply, “Sure…to just reconnect with God”. I didn’t know what to ask because I still felt in the dark about what was the cause of being so distant from God for the past four/five months.
After such a sweet moment with Jesus and the community of believers, we divided into small groups. There we continued to discuss Exodus Chapter 33.

In the devotional, it stated, “God revealed Himself to Moses in several new and awe-inspiring ways that no one had experienced before, yet Moses wanted to have an even deeper experience and to know God more. He asked God to directly show him His glory.”

At that moment, God revealed to me the core of my problems and struggles I had been struggling with, and he revealed to me a clear answer to a question I did not know I was seeking.

Just one hour ago, when I was listening to the sermon of Exodus 33, I didn’t understand why Moses would ask God to reveal Himself if he already experienced God in mighty ways. Moses heard God speak; Moses already experienced God’s Glory. Initially, I felt irritated with Moses, thinking he was a bit unreasonable with God in His request. After reading the devotional, I finally understood that I was wrong in my thinking. Not only was I wrong, but I thought this way about Moses because this is what I have been struggling with myself. This response is exactly how I have been treating And viewing my feelings.

I praise God for this truth that He revealed to me. Freedom and peace washed over me. I imagined myself now being able to call out to God and to allow him to help me and pull me out of the water. I still feel hesitant but Praise God for revealing me to the truth in being able to ask God for help even after all he has already done and being able to have even more in-depth experience with God as I have a desire to know Him even deeper and without borders.

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****EDITED****

[December 14, 2019 

As I reflect on my 23rd year filled with God’s goodness, seasons of growth…painful growth, God’s mercy, and His grace, I came back to this post to document something that happened. The night after I wrote this post, God AGAIN revealed Himself to me. Again He showed me the Power in Calling out to Him. He showed me a Grace that was unique only to His Abilities. He did not abandon me despite my imperfections. 

The night after I wrote this blog entry, I found myself in the passenger seat, waking up to being hit with another car, the world spinning, rolling again in again. Glasses flying off, cochlear implant gone; My senses being taken away… In the darkness and the spinning of the internal car lights was all I can see. All I could do was yell, “God help us… save us…” Every thought and movement was in slow motion. I thought of heaven. I thought of my mom and sister who were in the car. I thought about what kind of injuries they are enduring, I thought of my life-ending. Helpless. Confined. Yet. Filled with Hope. Peace. Knowing my place in Heaven. I thank God for the LWC conference before experiencing this accident. 

God, again and again, was merciful and filled with an overflowing act of grace in saving my mom, sister, and I. His grace extended to all people involved. With no life-threatening or altering injuries. How and why did that accident happen? Only He knows.  Maybe I will never know. BUT I know for sure that His plan is for me to continue the DPT program, to honor Him, to keep asking Him to reveal Himself to me…and that it is ok… to seek Him and continually Trust Him.] 

 

 

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