Although the term delayed gratification has existed in my vocabulary for some time, I am near to never when it comes to practicing it. I am so drawn into the instant world that I wanted to see results immediately and achieve success the easy way. When things do not work out as I expected in the unreasonable time frame that I set, I get extremely frustrated. On top of that, I am sort of a perfectionist that is extremely self unforgiving.
Like many, I am definitely one of the doubting Thomas’. I have to not only see but feel things in their physical manifestations in order to be a believer. I do not have a real perspective of how God works in His mysterious ways and like any regular believer, I am always bargaining with Him. I wanted to see exactly how I am able to apply God in this modern world.
Today, we tend to seek profound stories that motivates and help us grow. I do not mean to evangelize but strongly believe that this is my dues (the least) that I ought to give praise and thanksgiving for. So this is my story…
I woke up two weeks after the Chinese New Year holidays that ended at the end of January 2012 in a daze. I just could not comprehend this disillusioned feeling and I felt extremely afraid, confused and depressed. I remember calling The Befrienders three times in that week and it was during the last call that the lady I was speaking to asked if I thought I was suicidal. In an extreme depressed state, I said that it is possible. She then gave me some numbers to call so that I can seek professional help. When I call to inquire, I learned that most of the these psychiatrists and psychologists are appointment based and I will only be able to meet one of them soonest in 3 weeks. At that point of time, I do not think that it is possible and in 3 weeks, they might as well meet me in the mortuary. At that point of time, I felt that depression is a real thing and I just could not come around my thoughts. I needed immediate intervention and seek the help of my family doctor.
The doctor was very patient and helped me to reason things out. Faith was something that he touched on but all I wanted at that time was some medications to get rid of the emotional pain. Well at least for a couple of days and that was exactly what he did for me.
The hardest part for me was to break the news to my boss. This is the boss that everyone deserves as he is an extremely amazing person. He was sharp enough to recognize that I was going through a major burn out and suggested I take some time off to get my mind off things. I later realized that working across time zones was not doing my body any good. My biological clock has been tweaked and what I was going through was caused by the imbalance. I had no choice but to leave the job which I love. I was beyond devastated because I was holding a job that not only pays the bills but also promises a comfortable life for my gorgeous wife and two beautiful children. And out of a sudden, I have nothing (zero). The question “How Can I Do That To Them?” and “What Did They Do To Deserve This?” kept on repeating at the back of my mind.
At this time the burned out was so bad that I did not want to have anything to do with the corporate world. I went into a massive withdrawal state from the professional community. I was bitter and I despised it.
Soul Searching – God makes a way
I need to sustain and when I was working, I had the opportunity to travel and have engaged the services of a few taxi drivers. I have spoken to them about their job and thought it was a rather interesting job. Boy was I in for a ride when I embarked on being a taxi driver myself. Just before I started, a very kind man offered to show me the trade by allowing me to follow him on his rounds. He taught me about all that a taxi driver should do and even the best places to get good customers. Above all that, he always reminded me that “God will make a way”. Without a doubt, he was the first angel I met in this turmoil that I was going through.
I obtained my license in a very short time and was soon contracted to chauffeur someone’s child to and from school. At least I have a fixed income to help me sustain and this contract came about through two very dear friends and I refer to them as my angels. They have both helped me out from many situations before and gave good advice whenever I needed them. Three angels thus far.
Don’t Shortchange Yourself
The fourth angel manifest as a very crude and arrogant person. He is indeed somebody in the IT industry here in Malaysia and drives posh cars. I was interested to help his wife in her business and I was invited to have a chat with the both of them. When he arrived at our meeting spot, he would look through my car as if he was a sniffer dog. His approach was a little rough and there were moments that sounded as though he was threatening me. He told me that it takes time to establish oneself in the industry and I should not sell myself short. I remember going home feeling really sad that night mainly because at the back of my mind, what he said was true.
How Does That Affect You?
Driving the taxi gave me a lot of time to think things through and the opportunity to meet many people. I have to mention that the community was very supportive because people I know started passing my contact around and I was able to make enough to sustain while I find clarity of my situation.
One of my customers was attending a Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) training and little did I know that he was actually applying what he learned on me when he asked me about the tough situations that made me quit my job.
Each time I share a situation that irritated me when I was at work, he asked the question, “How Does That Affect You?”. It came a point that I became frustrated that I just could not find a reasonable answer to that question and it proved that I should not be affected by those situations in the first place. This is a valuable lesson that I learned and now when difficult situations arise, I find myself asking the same question. Angel number five.
God Sends His Battalion Of Angels
I am glad that I was blessed with good customers. I did not have any bad encounters and thank God that I was never in harm’s way except for a minor accident during one rainy afternoon. Whenever the day’s earning was bad, something else would crop up making it a brighter day. God truly provided for me throughout this time. The worst blunder was almost causing a friend miss a flight as I did not hear the alarm. I still feel bad about that but it only showed that I am not perfect. I also learned that I needed a louder alarm clock and am happy to have bought one that is sure to wake the neighbors up as well.
I Hope You Are Happy Today – The Archangel Visits
My policy as a taxi driver is one that is to stop for the first person who flags me down. I give priority to pregnant woman, the elderly and those with children. Wherever their destinations, no question asked.
On one of the worst days (earning was really bad), as I approached a taxi stand, an elderly man waved his hand. He was rather huge and just a few steps away from him stood a young man in fine clothes, who also stretched out his hand to stop me. Due to my policy, I stopped right in front of the elderly man and he came on board. I was a little annoyed because I was unable to shift gears due to his size blocking me from maneuvering the gear stick.
What happened next totally blew my mind away and gave goosebumps to whoever that I share this story with. Because it was a bad day, I did not utter a word but he started the conversation anyway.
He said, “Young man, although it seemed difficult at this point of time, do know that it is temporary. God is with you, Jesus is with you, Mother Mary is with you, St. Joseph is with you, St. Anthony and all the saints are with you. You may have lost your job for any reason, take heart and everything will be fine.”
I answered, “How did you know that I was having a bad day?”
He then said, “I am a very experienced man”
We had a chat throughout the journey to his home and just before got down from the car, he said, “I hope you are happy today”.
And I answered, “I am because I met you”.
What if I had not stopped for him but for the younger man instead? How can there be so many coincidences in life? Whatever it is, God bless his soul and his heart. Angel number 6, I like to call him the Archangel.
Strengthening The Family
Looking back and retelling what I have experienced in the past few months made me realized that there is only one thing that is clear, which is how God keeps on drawing me back to His side through building up the faith I have in Him.
My close friends suggested that I should do something to strengthen my marriage so to rekindle and strengthen the faith in the family. Hopefully by doing so, I will be able to see through all the difficulties I face in life.
And for our 6th year wedding anniversary, we were enrolled for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. It was a weekend away from everything including both our girls. We have not had time together as a couple for 5 years since our first daughter came into this world. To be honest, I was really frustrated half way through the weekend because my expectation was not met. On the shallow surface I was expecting the presenting couples to share real life experiences that I could relate to in this “complicated” world. I needed “practical” real life examples rather than wonderful fairytales so to speak and to make matters worst, we were asked to do nothing but to talk to our spouses about topics given to us. On the surface, I could not see the benefits and in fact, I was not matured enough to see how beneficial the weekend is for us. At least that was what I felt initially.
As the program for the weekend picked up speed, I started to benefit from it when I found out my true personality type and it was a starting point to understand myself better (technically).
I was glad that I did not leave but instead, followed through the sessions. I had a chance to share my concerns and expectations privately with the presenting priest and the presenting couples. They were very patient with me and understand what I was seeking at that point of time. The priest shared with me many of his life experiences which was far worst than what I was facing. One of which that stuck to my mind was that he now is struggling with a sickness after uttering the words, “make me like you” at the tomb of a Saint that is said to have struggled with many illnesses and anyone who utter such prayer will also be stricken with some form of illness. He jokingly mentioned that he only read the description of the saint after uttering those words. Unbelievable and I commend him for his unwavering faith!
The most powerful and touching part for me was that at the end of the session, we were shown how much we are as a part of the community. Being a good couple is just a tip of the ice berg to a good community. It made me realize that I am not alone in my struggle and I have a place or role to play on earth.
Meditation, The Word Of God & The Power Of The Eucharist
The day after the weekend, I was once again feeling very down and to my surprise, I received a call from the lead presenting couple and the lovely wife invited me over for a chat at their home. I agreed and soon found myself in their beautiful home. We had a long chat about my situation and it was such a beautiful meeting because she introduced me to meditation the Catholic way. She told me about Fr. Laurence Freeman who is at present the meditation guru of the Catholic church. I later found a video of him on YouTube teaching people in Google how to meditate. It is so simple but much discipline is needed.
She also reminded me how important it is to read the Bible. With the meditation, the daily readings and reflections became clearer and much more meaningful. I started to gain much clarity.
And then she went on telling me about the sharing of a nun who was attached to a community where she witnessed a charred body of a child that was brought and placed on the altar of sacrifice, the congregation prostrated themselves during the Liturgy of the Eucharist and she later realized the child was no longer on the altar but was alive. On that note, she advised me to look at the altar and offer up all my concerns and cares the next time I attend the mass.
Angel number 7.
You Ain’t Stupid
It was at this point that I gained clarity that faith is what that is lacking in my life. I started being interested and missed my job back in the corporate world. One fine day, a chat box popped up and it was my former colleague. He is very good at problem solving and he started finding for the root cause of my problem that caused me to quit my job. He was very good at it and mentioned how impressed he was with the way I worked back then. That I was a fast learner and he was surprised that I could grasp concepts in a short time. The words that struck me the most was when he said, “You ain’t stupid, get your act together and try again!”.
It was on that note that I started seeking for new opportunity again.
God Wants Us To Prosper
Throughout this time, I have read a few books and one in particular was “Becoming A Millionaire God’s Way” by Dr. C. Thomas Anderson. He wrote about how most of us has been indoctrinated with the mindset of money equates to evil and that has caused many people to remain poor. When people are poor, churches become poor too. He wrote reasonably how God wants His people to prosper. One of the statement that hit home was, “A passion to gain wealth so that you can give it away is a very godly thing”. I now no longer justify to myself that I should live within my means but more of seeing how much potential God wants to bless me with. I do not like to stunt myself so to speak. I am excited and look forward to see what abundance God has planned for me.
Putting God’s Enormity In Perspective
Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
How am I able to face the many challenges of the world?
To answer that question, I figured that I must be a BIGGER person. Big enough that everything else is smaller including my adversities and problems. Being just a little more than five feet tall how can I ever be that BIG?
Then by accident, I stumbled across this pastor called Francis Chan. In one of his YouTube videos, he spoke about what Nebuchadnezzar said about God’s enormity. In the video, Francis spoke about how insignificant things are for God and nothing can stop what God wants to do.
Daniel 4:35 – All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
The question that I then asked was, how am I associated to God that is so enormous?
Faith tells me that God is with me and to make it even more powerful and with conviction, didn’t God say we are His children?
The presenting priest that I spoke to during the Marriage Encounter weekend was ridiculed when he tells people that he is SON OF GOD!
I think we should all be very proud to call ourselves children of God. Just knowing for a fact that I am a son of God and you are His daughter puts everything into the right perspective. And being His son or daughter, we are BIG or at the least, we are meant for BIG things because He wants us to prosper!
And if Nebuchadnezzar and Francis’ words did not convince you of the enormity of God, I am sure Louie Giglio will be able to put more perspective in this video.
God Answers In His Time & Way
In my frustration I often lash out at God. I even asked if His time means my death at one point. It is real and there is no doubt about that. I am sure many can relate to this because we tend to want it our way. When things are looking up, we are all praising but it is only our nature to question when things go wrong.
I also came to realization that people tend to see God in many different ways or manifestations. Some refer to God as the subconscious, the law of attraction or perhaps the universe. A few days ago, one of my uncles shared this video about the origin of Chinese and it does struck a chord in me. I feel that religion is liken to a game of soccer. Each team wants to outplay another and forgetting that the most powerful person on the pitch is the referee. No matter what our believe system is, the focus is truly on God. There are many means to get nearer to Him and more that distract us. But ultimately, God is in fact the ultimate GOOD.
Whatever happened, God is bringing me back to Him. He wants me to remember Him when I am happy or when I am sad, when I am faced with challenges, He wants me to know that I can get through them with Him as my aide. I am not BIG enough trying it on my own without Him.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through Him who gives me strength
And what happened after two weeks of me kneeling down during parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist and offering my cares and concerns?
God sent me angels to pave the way and an angel just hired me back for a better position (no odd hours) in the company that I left and miss.
I no longer take this life as worthless. It is something precious and there are many out there who wish lives are not taken away. The recent passing of a friend’s two sons was indeed a wake up call that we are all so delicate. While we are here, what are we to do with our lives?
Andafter all that has happened how can I deny the existence of God?