Monday, December 01, 2014


Struggle, headache, tears. Laughter, excitement, lessons. Praise God I have come to the end of the semester. Going through a lot, learning so much more, expecting the most out of it. Want to share about Psalms today in one of the units I have this semester, Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom Literature. We had the assignment to write a prayer diary regarding what we learned in class and our own reflection. I was so excited when writing this poem to express my feeling.


Dear God, 
Is it wrong to expect a happy blessed life, when everything goes smoothly? 
Everyone gets what they want, and live life beautifully? 
Why should there be tough times, hurt and broken, people die miserably? 

They say problems come to make you strong, 
but when everything is going wrong, and the process takes so long, 
I question what’s the point of being strong? Why do I need to be strong? 

O, God, I have been so wrong, about Your blessing and everything, 
Thank You for letting me know, this is time to lean on You alone, I think. 
There are times when I can’t do this, for what insecurity, doubt, and pride bring. 

It is hard to trust Your heart, and to know Your plan, 
but it is easier when I know who You are and what You have done, 
that You are love and You love me, seen from how You work in the lives of human. 

I just pray as I come to this time of disorientation, 
that I always remember You in reorientation, and start again with faith in new orientation. 
As long as I do not lose my hope and trust in You, I will get my affirmation. 

Once I come through this journey, 
and realize that Your grace is sufficient for me, 
therefore I glory in my infirmity.


Dear God, 
I thought, a good life is about being happy, 
that a blessed life is about happiness, 
and that happiness comes from a grateful heart. 

When I did not feel happy, was my heart being ungrateful? 
Then I would blame myself, for being so ungrateful, 
and realizing I was such a bad child, self-pitiful, 
made me feel even unhappier and awful. 

What I fail to realize is, this is just phases of life, 
that will keep happening again and again, only to make us wise. 
Storm and waves come, sometimes we need to throw away the load, 
but I won’t worry because we have Jesus on boat. 

I want to praise You God like the psalmist, 
Just being true to You as Your child, 
not to be condemned by my own guilt. 

Praising You for my abundant joy, You whom I adore, 
And weeping to You when it just feels so sore, 
And I could hold it no more.


Dear God, 
Sometimes it is even harder to be Christians, because we represent Christ to the world. 
Everything we do, can become a blessing, but also a stone, stumbling. 
We should be loving, caring, and smiling, 
as if there is no suffering, grumbling, and mourning. 

Even when life is full of trial, we choose to live in denial, it becomes artificial. 
Is it even our fault? We were taught in this confirmation, 
that there are consequences for every action, 
and we reap what we sow in our intention. 

When something bad happens, there must be something wrong, they say, 
when you have a problem, maybe you don’t spend enough time to pray, 
when you look bad, sad, depressed, ah, your faith is so easy to sway. 

Should we believe it?
Even the psalmist feel it anyway, 
that it is okay to be not okay. 

There is a time of healing and blessing, 
even in the deepest suffering.

The book of Psalms is unique in the Bible because rather than God speaks to us, it speaks for us "in our highest joy and deepest sorrow". When we read it, we feel at home, because it is "intellectually and emotionally stimulating", functions as "monumental witness to the timeless and universal nature of men", that we need God and this faith becomes our "pillar of cloud and fire" on our life journey.

I learned that this book reflects our phases of life. We have "Psalms of Orientation" when life is good and everything is fine, no crisis, no problem, and we are happy. This includes hymns, songs of Torah, wisdom psalms, and so on. Then comes "Psalms of Disorientation" when something bad happens, problem strikes, and sometimes we forget God. It can be seen through the lament and protest of the Psalmist, Nowadays, maybe it is when we are diagnosed with terrible disease, left by people we love, get financial difficulty, betrayed by someone we trust, etc. Then we have that time of "Reorientation" when we look back at what God has done in the past, and hold onto God's promise in the future. We have trust and hope to carry on. Then we have "Psalms of New Orientation" where life is good again, but it's never the same. This is a never ending process, just like a circle, which will keep going on and on as long as we live.

I want to share some important points here. Sadness is part of our life because we live in a broken world. There will be times of disorientation in our life, and suffering can be used for growth and maturity as well. However, it is important to learn that we should have wise perspective regarding this matter. In the time of disorientation, mostly we Christians want to get out of it as soon as we can. Moreover in this instant quick-fix society, we don't want to go through the process and just want everything to be solved immediately. As if being sad is sinful, we will pretend to be happy all the time and live in denial, burying everything deep down instead of resolving it.

I'm not saying that it's okay to dwell in sadness, dragging it everywhere and showing our pitiful faces all the time. It can become sin when we choose to do it, yet we cannot get out of it as easy as snapping our finger. I'm just emphasizing that the best way to deal with it is to bring the sadness to God, and going through the process of healing without having to rush. For example, when we are left by our beloved one, it is okay to linger on sadness for a period of time. It is okay to talk to some people we trust (choose wisely), over and over again until we genuinely feel better, instead of trying to look okay only because we Christians are expected to be "strong with God". I'm not suggesting everyone to be a drama queen, but we don't need to suppress our negative feeling and emotion. We should exchange it with peace and joy from God, but do not suppress it.

It is not only dangerous for ourselves, but also for other people. Just imagine when a woman just lost her husband and children because someone came and randomly shot people. When we apply this concept of being strong to people who are mourning, we kindly comfort them by saying, "God has a plan", "Everything happens for a reason", "God knows the best for you", "God needs more angels in Heaven", "Please don't cry, your husband will be sad if you cry". Why don't we just let her to be sad, to cry and mourn, because it is sad indeed? All those sayings are true, but "Timely advice (a word fitly spoken) is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket" (Proverbs 25:11). Even comforting and positive words need wisdom when spoken, "Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart" (Proverbs 25:20).

Ecclesiastes said, "there is time for everything". There is a time to weep and time to laugh, time to mourn and time to dance. Through the right process of disorientation, when we surrender to God in reorientation by trusting His heart, remembering what He has done in the past and holding on to His promise in the future, we will grow. It doesn't mean that once we grow we will not be sad when we have a problem, but we can solve it the same way as before, through the process of reorientation. Not denial. Not suppression.

I really hope this can change something, I feel so blessed learning about this, because I had wrong understanding about Christianity and happiness before, trying so hard to be "happy" and "get over any sadness" quickly, therefore I want to share this. Maybe we only change one thing, instead of saying "Be strong, God must have a plan", we say "I'm so sorry and I'm sad with you", when comforting people in deep condolence. To cry with them, rather than telling happy stuffs to make them smile, but believe me, it matters. It can change their whole lives, their whole perspective about God, and their own healing process (I also found a very good article here). It also applies to other sad situations as well, not only in time of bereavement. We surely need wisdom about this, because it is not a pattern that can fit every situation, but it is good to know deeper about time of disorientation and what we can do about it. The Book of Psalms doesn't only teach us to deal with ourselves, but is also useful for our ministry.

Further reading: What does Bible say about Sadness?

"What if your blessing comes through raindrops, 
what if you healing comes through tears, 
what if another sleepless night is just the way to know You are near, 
what if trials of this life, is just mercy in disguise?"
Blessings by Laura Story

A very good song! Click the link to listen.


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