Apart from me, all is nothing.
I am the Lord, unrivalled,
I form the light and create the dark.
I make good fortune and create calamity,
it is I, the Lord, who do all this.
Send victory like a dew, you heavens,
and let the clouds rain it down.
Let the earth open
for salvation to spring up.
Let deliverance, too, bud forth
which I, the Lord, shall create.
Yes, thus says the Lord,
creator of the heavens,
who is God,
who formed the earth and made it,
who set it firm,
created it no chaos,
but a place to be lived in:
‘I am the Lord, unrivalled:
there is no other god besides me.
A God of integrity and a saviour:
there is none apart from me.
Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth,
for I am God unrivalled.
‘By my own self I swear it;
what comes from my mouth is truth,
a word irrevocable:
before me every knee shall bend,
by me every tongue shall swear,
saying, “From the Lord alone
come victory and strength.”
To him shall come, ashamed,
all who raged against him.
Victorious and glorious through the Lord shall be
all the descendants of Israel.’
John, summoning two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?’ When the men reached Jesus they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or have we to wait for someone else?”’ It was just then that he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind. Then he gave the messengers their answer, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
…happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.
I recently served at the Conversion Experience Retreat #49 and once again, the Lord worked many miracles, healing the retreatants of all their wounds, bringing many of them joy and peace. I was privileged to have been called to minister to a few retreatants during a paraliturgy and as each of them told me their stories, I couldn’t help but wonder how He had planned for me to ‘encounter’ them. From an unappreciative son who stole money from his mother, to an adulterous husband, I had to be a proxy for male members of their families who had hurt them deeply.
By the end of the session, all I could do was to give thanks to the Lord for showing me how merciful His love was. The encounters had provided me with flashbacks of my past life, clothed in darkness and sin. For me, the verse above demonstrates how those who love me stood by me and never lost faith in me all those years ago. And today, more than four years since my own conversion experience, I am journeying towards the light each and every day. I truly believe that it is because I never lost faith in God’s supreme mercy and love that in the week after CER#49, as I was going through my father’s sudden illness, baptism, death and funeral, I was never overwhelmed by grief and sadness.
I shared with my own discipleship group recently that throughout the five days of mourning, all I felt was God’s immense love for me and my family. So much so that I was called upon a few times to envelop them in my arms as we grieved in the hospital, at church and at the crematorium. And that by the time we sent dad home to the Lord, I was filled with peace.
Brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of God, we should always carry the conviction in our hearts that God our Father will never abandon us, especially not in our time of need. It is natural that when things are going well, we tend to forget to discern God’s hand in all the good that comes our way. We think that our promotion is due to our hard work, just as the salary increment is well-deserved. And when calamity strikes, we start to question whether or not God ‘has our back’ and whether he truly is there for us.
However, it is during those dark days that He fills us with so much more than we think we deserve. Because, if you think about it, no one else has more faith in us than our heavenly Father. For He knows that we are His children and He will never let us down.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that you continue to care for us and to look out for us as we go about our daily life here on earth. We ask you to watch over us and to protect us from all harm and danger.
Thanksgiving: We give you thanks, O God, for being such a merciful and loving God, in spite of our sins and all our inadequacies. We know that you only see us as your sons and daughters and that you love each and everyone of us fully.