The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Last Sunday, we prayed for Pastor Nuel and his wife. I don't know Pastor Nuel personally, but I've witnessed to how he was chided by other pastors about being single, and how God blessed him with a beautiful and God-fearing wife who is now on her way. Pastor Ferdie started the service with a short prayer on the condition of the couple's baby in the hopes that they would be alright.

I have always admired Pastor Nuel. He is humorous, corny at times (peace Ptr!) but always honest, straightforward and real. He was an evident man of God, and so is his wife. Before we bowed down in prayer, I scanned the room and saw a lot of sympathetic faces as well --- it was living testament that they most likely felt the same about him. He was a religious man! Straight in his walk with God! Unending in his faith! It was their firstborn child! How could something so challenging happen to him?

And thus starts the cause and effect theory.

Cause and effect is not something new or alien to us. It was taught in one of our Science subjects in school (forgive me if I can't remember which one, I was always more of the English, Economics and lunch break type). It even goes way back into our childhood and growing up; if we behave instead of throwing tantrums, we are rewarded by our parents. If we study well in school, we are rewarded by our teachers. If we meet our grades, we graduate from school. If we meet our deadlines, we are rewarded by our boss.

Deeds = Rewards. Efforts = Happiness. Hard Work = Blessings. Does God always work this way?

He doesn't.

I sometimes find myself trapped in this cause-effect scenario. "Lord, I promise I will be good this week, please grant me the money I need for our car." "Lord, if you give me the job that I'm asking for, I promise to not swear or drink or laugh at the guy next door, ever again".



We expect God to "reward" us for our deeds, for our hard work. And when we have not been so good, we shy away, refusing to face God because "I'm not clean enough" or "I'm not ready yet".

Pastor Nuel's situation reminded me that God's love is not conditional. I don't expect Him to say, "Well done, Barbie, you've been good all week, you know, reading about Me and stuff. Here's the money to pay off your ride". Moreso, I don't expect him to shake his head and go "Tsktsktsk. Barbie...we had a deal. You were not supposed to ridicule the guy next door, but I caught you stifling a giggle when he passed by in his tank top and short shorts. Because of that, I will take away your privileges". Job was a crystal clear, no questions asked, man of God, but He had to face adversities that seemed endless. In my mentor JA's words, God is not a consequential God, He is an experiential God. He is an entity of love, of compassion and wants nothing more than for you to be closer to Him. Whether you did good, bad or downright ugly.

You may be in a similar situation right now. You have been the diligent Christian soldier but yet circumstances still manage to work against your favor. Do not berate yourself for your shortcomings. At the same time, you could also be giddy happy because you got exactly what you have been praying and working hard for. Think twice before patting yourself on the back. Know that whatever we do and whoever we are, God's grace is the force that works within us. And sometimes, no matter how hard we work or good we are, His grace, and our faith, is all we need.