In (His) Perfect Time

In my travels around the world, I am amazed by how people viewed and treated time in different countries and diverse cultures. From where I grew up, people’s view on time are quite different, some treat time as important, some don’t. In South Korea, where I lived for about 6 years, and Japan, time is the most precious commodity and luxury a person can have and spend. According to Forbes, both of these countries spend more than 60 hours a week for work (that a lot), not even counting the lesser time they alot for vacation and leaves. No wonder that these countries are listed consistently as countries with high suicidal rate. But the good thing about their people is that they see time as so valuable in (almost) all profession. Even buses, trains and planes are rarely late (almost unheard) in these countries. Weirdly speaking, I somehow miss these countries in that sense of speediness, efficiency and hardwork in whatever they do. In Korea, I had an important lesson experienced in the first 3 years I lived there. I remembered every weekend I had to wake up early to catch a bus to the Cheonan (city) train station at exactly 6:05 A.M. Just in time to arrive at the train station, then purchase a one-hour train ride to Seodaejeon (city), and take different part-time jobs on a weekend for extra income and attend a Martial Arts training on that weekend. It’s either a sigh of relief or frustration when you make it or miss that ride because time lost is never found again and a cascade of awful consequences follows. I learned how valuable and precious time and timing is in my short stint in that country. I learned the value of waiting and the value of getting things done at the right time.

Perfect timing, almost an imagination, is what most of us desire in this life. Perfect timing for that job you are looking for anxiously. Perfect timing for that reconciliation of a broken relationship with a family member or a spouse. Perfect timing for that child you’ve been praying for. Perfect timing for that person you’ve keep glancing over your shoulder or Facebook list of friends. Everybody wants that perfect timing. And as I’ve said earlier, we’ve always want it in our own pace and timing, because if it isn’t then somehow it builds up frustration after frustration, disappointment after disappointment, that many of us may not be able to handle or deal with.

Many people believe in the mantra of Y.O.L.O (You only live once), where people think, say, do the things they would because of that notion to enjoy life today, without thinking of the consequences nor what every decision might lead to; however, whatever, wherever and whenever you are. Just do it! Personally, it’s a very dangerous mantra without a sense of purpose or direction. Either this generation subscribes to destructive relationships or they miss out people they should’ve been with, if only they ascribe to that perfect timing. As I approach one-third of my life here on earth, there are things that I am realizing that are and aren’t that important, probably not to all, but to many young people and professionals like me. We are concerned about certain things and the top three are (in no particular order): (1) marriage, (2) work-life balance, and (3) relevance. And today, I want to talk about the first one, marriage.

In December of 2017, I proposed and got engaged to my girlfriend of 7 years, give-or-take, in Paris, France at the most iconic place on earth, the Eiffel Tower. It was for me a dream come true in all areas. But in those moments, I recollected how in God’s perfect time everything fell into it’s place. All I can say that it was a journey, a long one. It started when I was 12, and almost 18 years later, I am going to start a new journey with someone I never thought I will ever meet again, let alone be in a relationship with. And I wish to record every moment until that big and momentous occasion in our life.

In almost 2 decades of that journey, the things I have learned are memorable and priceless, and if God did not intervene in my life, it would have been going on a different direction. To singles like me, let me give you some of the perspectives and lessons I learned that I will share from this moment on;

(1) Never chase a person. Chase God and everything in life will follow. This is because you follow the One who created everything, and not just everything, but everything that is good. So you can trust Him with your life and all that entails with it.

(2) Be the best version of yourself, not for your partner, but for God and for you. If you change because the person you like desires this kind of person, then you are doom to fail that one you want to please. Please God with your life (Galatians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 10:31); your thoughts, your words, and your actions. I’d like to point out here too that we should honor our parents. Honoring our parents is not a routine but a lifestyle. You might not have good relationship with them or maybe you do, but there’s this unexplainable wisdom and favor from God when we honor our parents in our life (Colossians 3:20). Obey Him and His instruction, because God’s instructions are not just for His pleasure but for your own good. Trust me.

(3) Have purpose in everything you do. Ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing today? Ask yourself why you want to be in a relationship? Is it for “experience” or the glory of God in marriage? Indeed, experience is the best teacher! But you know what’s better? Learning from the experiences of others. I learn from the people in the Bible, from the wisdom of trusted elders around me, my parents, and the Church. You can have a template of what you want in your family, and the best it can possibly be.

(4) God created you and He knows everything about us. We can never hide from Him our feelings and emotions. Emotions are not bad, rather, it’s a good thing to have them! When emotions dictate our actions, we will produce irrational decisions. When our intellect controls everything, there’s no room for romance and intimacy. We just have to find the right balance between the heart and the mind. They both should be kept in check through the lens of our soul with the guidance of God.

(5) Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. I’m not just saying this when it comes to wedding preparations. Although they are important, but be prepared mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Marriage is not just an emotional decision, but it is an all-encompassing commitment. It requires our whole being, even the deepest recesses of our pocket and wallet. What I am trying to say here is that each one of us should be prepared in every aspect. Set your field and barns for the storm (Proverbs 24:27)! Make sure the doors of your heart and windows of your mind are well-protected with the purest motives and perspective of God. Some time ago, someone told me that “You can never be really ready for marriage.” It felt like that person was telling me don’t prepare too much! But what is too much? When you prepare for a storm, do we think that this is “too much” or “enough”? We don’t! As much as possible, we stock whatever we can stock and prepare as much as we can, however we can. So to that person, I say, “Yes! But prepare anyway!”

These are just a few things that I want to share as you go through life today. I hope that with these things I have shared something valuable to you whether you are a single person, or a couple preparing to get married, or someone who just experienced a heartbreak. Let me know your thoughts below and share what you have in mind!

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July 15, 2018 at 08:09 Leave a comment

A Week After Ressurection: Peace & Doubt

There are 2 days in a year that a Church worship service gets jam-packed with people. You would probably guess it right, Easter and Christmas. Easter is not about the Easter bunny or eggs, or anything else except for remembering the greatest victory of all in the history of the universe, the wonderful celebration of Jesus’s victory over sin and death. As it is said in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian churches,

And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:14

As I was reading my journal, I came across the page where it shows the whole calendar of April 2017, and the first thing I noticed was, it’s one week after Easter. Which led me to this honest question: What happens a week after Easter?

So I went back to the Bible and turned the pages of this holy book into the 20th chapter of the book of the Apostle John. Starting from verses 19 down through 28 (quick link here). Here, we have Jesus, the Apostles, and Thomas as our main characters, and a scene where Jesus shows himself to his disciples for the forst and second time after His resurrection, which I will break down into 2 important points. First point is that…

  • God offers peace through His Son, Jesus.

My life before I met Jesus has been a rebellious life of wanting to do things for myself and not caring for what life will be tomorrow. I had no purpose, no meaning, no direction. Although I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour at a young age, the journey was not at all smooth-sailing, it was a constant struggle over pride and lust, that I always end up as the loser. I would feel remorse and guilt knowing that I have been an unpleasant and rebellious follower of Jesus.

But these verses reminded me, that God offers peace to me. He takes everything in; cuts and bruises of my sin, so that He can embrace me and tell me “I love you,” “Come back to me, son.” Peace (Shalom) is a very profound word. It is not only a word to reconcile, but it also a word for “Forgiveness.” It is also a word for making amends or offering “truce.” It is still overwhelming to think this. Becaue how can a great God, the Creator of everything, omniscient, omnipresent and all-powerful being, who can win any battle in an instant make “peace” with me, little being, a mere mortal? You know, every time I fly using an airplane to travel, I have always pondered the littleness of human beings. As the plane go higher, the more stagnant the view becomes. At 30,000 feet, you cannot see any living soul anymore. And how much more the view of God towards the earth and all that is in it. Truly, how great God is, but more so, His grace and patience towards us. He doesn’t need us actually, but we need Him. We need His peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding.

  • We, human, always want to see before we believe

Just like Thomas, many of us are like this. Even me, we always want to see miracles before we believe. But the question is, Do we only believe during good times and great deeds? Of course, we want to believe in something that is extraordinary, that is why many people are amused with magic tricks but how shallow this kind of faith is if we only “believe” if miracles happen, or if Jesus shows himself to us. But God is Spirit, He cannot be represented by any image, statue or painting. If we believe simple because of this, just like a magic show, it is only for our amusement and entertainment, our lives will not be changed at all. We must believe simply because He is God, and because of His 2 important nature: Holy and Loving. Knowing that God is holy, means that everything He does is for good (not our standard of goodness). And loving, knowing that he cares for us, and will never abandon us.

Believe is a strong word in Greek (where the Bible was written), the word pisteuō means more than saying “I believe,” it is more like saying, “I commit my life to it” or “I will follow no matter what“. When Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he put his fingers through Jesus’s pierced hands and side. There he was shattered and broken into pieces, and he merely uttered.

“My Lord and my God!” -John 20:28

Saying those words, “My Lord” is an act of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. It is His authority in our lives through the guidance of His words (the Holy Bible) and the Holy Spirit that we should live our lives towards Christ-likeness. While uttering “My God,” submits ourselves into worship, reverence and life-long commitment to serve and put our devotion to, in everything we do from that moment, will always be an act of worship.

Easter celebration is quickly slipping away, but we continue to celebrate Jesus’s life, death and resurrection, not with banners, trumpets or loud music, but with our lives devoted and fully committed to trust and obey Him. To love God and love others.

Edward Alain Pajarillo

 

April 24, 2017 at 00:13 Leave a comment

The Value of Time: When Others Don’t See It

Time and relationships are two most valuable things in this world. Two things we can never bring back again. Hoping that perspective changes.

Continue Reading November 6, 2016 at 05:32 Leave a comment

A Fresh New Start

If there is one thing that I can change in the past, what should it be and why? I believe this is a question that many of us would ask ourselves over and over again.

“What if I have done this?”

“What if this was not done to me?”

“What if I have chosen this path?”

Just like many people, there are so many “what ifs” that I could think of. What if my childhood was better? What if the environment I grew up was pristine that I’d never exposed to impurities, filthy thoughts or forced my ignorant mind as a youth to engage in pornography, lust, etc. I realized that after meeting with my old friends, I thought I have escaped the things I did wrong and erased everything I was perceived by them, but somehow there’s a ledger that cannot be erased from the memories, no matter how much I try to explain myself or “good” I do in this world. And that is a fact. So again, with my “what ifs”. I’ve struggled in my mind for many days, affecting my heart and actions. If only there’s “reset” button to all that I’ve done and all that happened to me so that there’d be no shame, no guilt, and no hopelessness that rests in my heart and mind.

If there’s a way to break the chain that I’ve secretly and constantly indulged and cruised in. And if people just know how unworthy, because God knows, and I am, I might get a different treatment or perception. But also the constant lies that I am receiving and fed with (by the Enemy), conditioned me, like a baby elephant conditioned for weakness, that I cannot break the chain of presumptuous sins in my life. But at one point in my struggle, the words of Christ reminded me that I am actually free from all these things, because of what He did for me.

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:36

After hearing, listening and meditating these words, I know that I do not need to be ashamed, nor feel guilty. There is true freedom in Christ. True freedom is pursuing what God wants me to be and doing what God’s purpose in my life is, and not that doing things without restraint, no regard for consequence or so that I can please others, which is actually counterfeit freedom. I feel just like the man who said, “… One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! (John 9:25)” Indeed, I was so blind not knowing that I am free, that my transgressions are forgiven and no more (Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 10:17; Isaiah 23:25) and that I am a new creation (Ezekiel 36:25-27). As a new creation, I can devote and offer my life to God as a living sacrifice, to be holy and pursue righteousness through Christ.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26

And to put those words into the song “In Christ Alone” that beautifully resound what is in my heart:

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

– In Christ Alone

So no more with my “what ifs“, no more shame, guilt or fear, not because of what I am or what I did, but for what Christ did for me and for who He is. Because through those times, slowly but surely I am broken to pieces, shattered and shaved so that my heart of stone be turned into flesh. His revelation is light in my eyes and darkness. My “what ifs” now turn to “what I can be“. I praise God for I can be His mouthpiece to the youth of today, the young generation who struggles with their identity, who struggles with pleasing everybody but God, who goes through peer pressure I once struggled with, just to fit in, because in everything the sovereignty, goodness, and faithfulness of God transcend everything I ought to know.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -Romans 8:28

November 1, 2016 at 13:03 Leave a comment

Think yourself less, not less of yourself

I had this principle in life to “learn from others and never make unneccessary mistakes”. One thing that I saw growing up is the inability of many “adults” to continue changing and growing. I saw it with my own eyes, dialogues from people closest to me saying, “I am too old to change. I am never going to change. So deal with it.” And it was a constant gong in my head hearing those things again and again, but I was determined that I said to myself, “I won’t be like that. I will always learn and keep on growing.” It was probably the most odd thing to say from a child and to have a strong determination and will-power to stand on that ground.

But last night was an eye-opener, I had an interview with one of the most famous medical researchers in the world. And in that 30-min talk, it was a short time that I knew I had my face slammed on the floor, spot on(unintentionally, of course)! I thought I know everything and I will be qualified to do things because of that “PhD” at the end of my name. But no, I wasn’t even close, such pride that I never noticed I am emanating. It started when I introduced myself confidently like nothing was wrong in me or I am the best person to be hired in this position. As the conversation went on, I smelled the stench of my ego right into my nose as well as the light-years distance to what I wish to become is so far from my expectations. Right there, I identified myself as the person who says “I am too old to change. I am never going to change. So deal with it.” Not noticing that I am becoming the person I promised not to be. Surely, as my bestfriend said that the sudden interview is not an accident. That night, I know something was off and wrong about me. It was an eye-opener and a tap on my shoulder that I will never forget. It was a clear revelation of what I need is not another “feather-on-the-hat” or “laurel leaves” but the character of humility – to be humble and to never stop growing. As C.S. Lewis beautifully said, “…think yourself less”. But sadly, I was at the brink of falling into the pit of self-doubt and pity, until I realized something.Humility-CS-Lewis1

Waking up into the aftermath of that devastating blow of my ego and self-centeredness was a new hope to change. In this week of solitude, I began to see things clearly not the me now, but the me who can become a better citizen of this world, and the direction that I should start walking on. The facade might look calm and plain but the world inside is shook, stirring a new flame just as I have felt when I started stepping into the realm of the unknown. Country, place nor position is the real issue but my heart. A heart that is ready to be crushed and to be molded. Admitting my mistake and vowing not to repeat it is one thing; taking the opposite course and pursuing the right direction is easier said than done. It will be more difficult and heart-breaking but the journey is more meaningful and enjoyable when purpose meets passion. The best thing about it is that life will never be the same.

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”? -Isaiah 29:30unknown3.jpg

July 22, 2016 at 14:59 2 comments

Going through the crossroads

The worst is not always the enemy of the best, many times, it is the good that thwarts the best.

This year marks my sixth year (hopefully my final year) in graduate school. In my previous blogs, it is clear to me that the good things I give up for the best – experience, learning and future. There were things that I was scared to give up, such as comfort, relationship, family and familiarity; it wasn’t an easy decision to give those things up because I had made up in my mind that being certain is better than taking risks. Since going out of the zone of certainty, there is always 50/50 chance in every decision. In reality, most people might agree with me that we are afraid of to face the uncertainties of life, of not knowing what is out there. In addition, there are numerous situations that were out of our control and jurisdiction but we had no other choice but to go through them all. In one of my recent experience, I had the choice to be bitter and remorseful about the injustice that I thought I am experiencing and be frustrated and disheartened with expectations that I cannot and not fulfilling at the moment. But I must choose to respond well in those situations, because as I often ask myself, what good will it bring me if I react to those things I cannot even control by myself. Although I might feel a sense of great regret and then blaming my situation on the person in authority over me. When people asked me “When will you finish?“, my heart is being dragged into the pit of depression again and again, as I become confronted with that question repeatedly. What should I say to them? Although I used to do the blame-game but I know shouldn’t and I am sorry for that attitude. Because even if it is someone else’s, the question that lingers is what can I do, right? Will my reaction change my situation or will it change me? But just to sum it all, the year 2015 ended with a great promise and challenge to me. Just as one professor told me few weeks ago, “What do you have to lose? Just wait. It’s just a matter of time.” But I realized that waiting is not a passive thing, but more of an active term. Come to think of it, indeed, the future is always just a matter of time, which reminded me one of the verses that really meant something in my heart in Jeremiah 29:11-13,

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

In relation to the things I am talking above, I remembered an experience half a decade ago when I had my first scuba dive, a whole new world was revealed to me just underneath our surface, strong currents that we have to overcome, colorful sea creatures and beings gliding through the waves. At one point, I stood before the edge of something then I looked up and saw pitch black scenery. There was this deep void in that horizon, all but darkness. And I could feel goosebumps all-over my skin and the cold water creeped beneath my suit into my bones. It was a terrifying experience to stand on the edge of darkness. However, this year, just like 5 years ago, could be the year of amazing intersections, but the opportunity to pray and fast, to really seek intimacy with God and His will, reminded me that choose the road that will lead me to be deeper in faith, rooted in His words and guided by His wisdom. This week, I had a great chance to spend time with my family to come together for an hour of fellowship and prayer daily. God reminded me that there are so many things to pray for. And praying to Jesus as our only intercessor open my mind and heart to a number of things and people. How I have been selfish in praying for myself and family alone. I was reminded to pray for the people in my circle of influence; relatives and friends who have real problems and struggles. It gave me a sense of responsibility and accountability to care and love them not just in words but in deeds. It is still my prayer to develop compassion to others who need not a figment of images but the real God who desires to have a personal and deep relationship with all who will come. I am also reminded this year to ask not for the blessings, but for the Blesser. Seek not the creation, but the Creator. Rest not on the comfort, but the Comforter. Rely not on the provision, but the Provider. I love how Moses reminded me when he pleaded with God in Exodus 33:15-16,

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

How will anyone distinguish me from other people on the face of the earth, there are so many Filipinos abroad who are more successful in the eyes of the world, many scientists who knows better than I do, more skillful than I am, many young people who are more famous than I am, but I have never sought for these things and if God’s presence is not with me, what is the purpose of these things then? This week I am reminded that all that I do means nothing, unless others are directed to Jesus, so that my Heavenly Father, the Creator of all things is glorified and praised above all. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

There will always be uncertainties and troubles whether we believe or we don’t believe in God. But no matter how creepy the void might be and frightening the darkness can be, I chose to believe in Jesus Christ the unwavering light who will guide me throughout my days. Because in Him, not a single pain or tear is wasted, every little thing has its purpose.

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January 18, 2016 at 16:26 Leave a comment

Love until it Hurts

Today’s entry is about my wonderful, gullible and ever-caring sister. Ooops! I have two sisters, I will talk about my elder sister. Hang on lil’ sis, your time will come. Haha.

I am in deep awe today to the generosity and care my sister have for me. So I will take a step back into the past to describe her and tell amazing stories about her in my perspective. You see, I grew up in a big and very close family. There are a lot of ups and downs. Petty quarrels and everything-under-the-sun moments that we can imagine especially having very strong and tough parents (very tough). Both my parents are the eldest in their family, as well as raised in very difficult environments. So the first one to experience that style – to be stiff, strong and tough is my eldest sister.

I can’t remember much from my childhood days, since our age gap were a bit far off (6 years). Her likes and hobbies does not really appeal to me. But when it comes to her friends, she picks them well. She picked well because some I had crushed on, so every time she will bring her friends I to serve them water or beverage just to get a glimpse of that particular “ate”. Haha! She was (and still is) a hardworking woman. She was an inspiration to me when it comes to prudence and diligence. I was a happy-go-lucky boy who only cared about himself and games, but when I look at her in those days, all I can see is the model of excellence. She studied so hard, got good grades, even ended up in the list of top students. She won competitions and represented her school in regional competitions (even up to national level). I wouldn’t know if I can excel on something without her being one of the my best role model.

One of the best things she showed me though was how she values relationships. Her friends even from elementary still hangs out with her, talks to her and even ask advice from her. That is how her life made an impact to the lives of other people. She fights for them and loves them unconditionally. There are challenging moments when it comes to relationship and you have to understand, during her days, we had “martial law” era in our family. No one understands it better than my eldest sister. “No Boyfriends”. That is one rule (that, Thank God, I have never experienced in college) that I got to see with my own eyes. All the repercussions and consequences of being in those days. That was hell for us. Those times that she would hide at the corner of our street to see her boyfriend (for more than a decade now, if I am not mistaken) and now husband. She would make deal with us so that we won’t tell our parents. She didn’t do anything wrong. She just values my brother-in-law that much. She fought for that relationship, both of them did, but I remember the physical, emotional, mental pain that she went through. It wasn’t that easy. But there is happily-ever-after to that story.

Fast forward to today. A couple of things I want to talk about before I end about her is her love towards family and people and her undying strive for excellence. Now, my sister manages our school that my parents built after long years of hard work. I hear stories of how she manages to come up with great solutions and strategy to overcome challenges with the parents, children and staff. She’s like an incredible juggler! I can never do what she can do now. She had great sacrifices too in her life that I am just thankful for. And lastly, her unconditional love towards family and relatives. She extends her love to all in any problem, in any situation even to the point that it hurts her. I thank God so much for her life. No words can say how much I love and adore her. But in this entry I want to express the deepest gratitude for her, her love, her patience, her strive for excellence and sacrifice. May God bless you (and Kuya Jeff) more and all praises and glory be pointed to Jesus always.

Keep up the great work, Ate!
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December 11, 2015 at 23:20 2 comments

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