Forty-two days had passed since I arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport with a hopeful attitude and a fearful heart. All I wanted was a little bit of adventure but what welcomed me was a whole lot of learning. I used to say to myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me but at that moment, all I wanted to do was to turn around and go back home. I continually asked myself questions like, “Why am I in a place that is foreign to me?” and “What was I thinking?” I thought that maybe I made the wrong decision of going here.

What I left in Gensan was a very comfortable life, a family who’s willing to support in all areas, a spiritual family to guide me and my friends and their endless laughter, but that was the problem- it was so comfortable. It was so comfortable that I lack the eagerness to seek more of who God truly is. It was so comfortable that I just settled with the short Bible reading and praying time that I spend with Him. It was comfortable attending almost all youth, young professional and Sunday services without really listening to what was being told to us by the preacher in that pulpit. It was so comfortable with all these big and exciting things and opportunities that are happening in my life that I forgot about the simplest and most significant part of it- my relationship with God.

There are three things that I was reminded of in this detour:

·         Your worth is not dependent on the things that you do.

I used to do life coaching with students when I was in Gensan and though it was tough, I cannot find anything more fulfilling to do than to lead the next generation to Christ. But now I am here, in a place so foreign to me and to top that off, I don’t have anyone that I’m doing 121 or lifegroup with! That sent me straight into the tunnel of frustration and fear. I started to have this thought that if I don’t have somebody whom I could share Jesus to within the first week of my stay here in Cebu, maybe God won’t bless me a job and so I would be forced to go back to Gensan and I don’t want that to happen to me too soon. 

All this time I thought that I was secured. I thought that I won’t be moved and that I had solely trusted everything to God. But just like how I wrote these sentences, it all started with an, “I thought.” That’s when I had a full grasped of God’s grace. While I was in the midst of that frustration and fear, He reminded me that my worth is not dependent on the things that I do for Him.

·           Grace is available even in your unfaithfulness.

Though my ears have been so used to hearing that we are saved by grace and not by our own good works so that no one can boast, that was the only moment that I truly understood grace in a deeper level. Doing community services, serving the church or doing evangelism will not determine your worth as a person. Just because you serve a lot and evangelise a lot doesn’t mean that you’re more favoured that those who don’t. Just because you don’t serve a lot and evangelise a lot doesn’t mean that you’re less favoured that those who do. Who you are and what you do- the depth and length of it, is dependent on your relationship with God.

·          Know God and be secured in who He is.

The more you know God, the more you understand the reason behind the purpose of your life and the good works that you do. The less that you know God, the more confused you would be as to why you are even existing and why you even do or have to do these things. Even strong Christian leaders could be tempted to step out of grace and do all the work apart from God. We can only free ourselves from this temptation if we allow God to be our friend and Father- the center of our lives. It’s as simple as talking to Him in our prayers and hearing Him through reading our Bibles.

The degree of experiencing God’s grace and blessings are not dependent on the things that we do for Him. Even in our unfaithfulness, God is faithful and mighty to save.

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