INT. APARTMENT - MIDNIGHT

There is a dead silence in the apartment at the moment, and the certain dimness of the room, with only a faint yellow light flickering from my table lamp, gives the atmosphere of an opening scene out of a dystopian film. Only three of us are sleeping here tonight as our other roommates, my sisters included, have gone home for the holidays. 


It feels a little lonely being the only one awake at this hour. Usually, the office-converted room is filled with students buried deep in their notes or killing the keyboards, but now, there is only me and a cup of White Hot Chocolate that we ordered earlier after the church staff meeting. Yep, we had our year-end meeting hours ago. It was a productive activity and budget planning for the upcoming year, and it made me somehow excited for what the Lord would allow to unfold next year for the church.


Personally, though, this year is one of the toughest seasons for me - one that has constantly made me feel lost but, at the same time, one that has kept me clinging to the truth that the Lord is sovereign over the complications and imperfections that took place in my life since the start of the year. 


God has painfully shaped my character so many times this year, specifically of being a member and a ministry worker. As I look back, there are many things I wish I had never said or done, especially the things that pained and stained my relationships with some of my brothers. But I am grateful still for how these regretful actions revealed so much of my pride, self-righteousness, and immaturity – which, only by grace, led me to lavish in the Lord’s mercy all the more. Though they were agonizing, these hurtful encounters taught me to exercise forgiveness and treasure the grace of being forgiven.


These humbling experiences also brought me to a deeper appreciation of accountability. While it is greatly shameful to show the uglier parts of me – the side that reveals a complete opposite of what I say during Bible studies or share on my timeline – being sustained with grace to confess my filthiness to trusted people has led to freedom. I was freed from constantly portraying an image, from being burdened by others' expectations and opinions, and ultimately, from the fear of being unloved. There remains a struggle with these, but I am comforted by the fact that I have people who love me enough to bear with my weaknesses and to keep pointing me to Christ each time my heart begins to wander on its own again.


This year has been heartbreaking in many forms - adulting hit really hard and I have met my weakest, most vulnerable self, but despite it all, my trials have been fewer than my sins (Choices, Valley of Vision). I know it is only because the Lord has been gracious even when I did not deserve it. My soul rejoices in how the Lord has been immensely merciful to me, not just this year but throughout my existence which He has displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. 


The gospel continued to give me the right view towards my present sufferings - that these are to be counted with joy since these testings of my faith produce steadfastness (James 1: 2 -3).


The gospel held me through the nights I lamented over my corruptness, giving me security that where my deepest regrets and shame reside, His mercy surges forward like an unstoppable flood sweeping and clearing every corner.


The gospel wrapped me around in a love that is not tethered to what I am capable of giving and doing but sees exactly my insufficiency and incapacity and continues to embrace me so lovingly.


The gospel compelled me to constantly kill my self-entitlement and strive to serve others with the same warmth and deep affection I have received from the Lord, even to those I find difficult to deal with.


I await the day that my wondering and wanderings will reach their end, and I will finally be standing in awe of the Suffering Servant who was crushed for my guilt, my Redeemer, my Hope in life and death, my portion forever, and my God who loves me with an everlasting love. 


_____

It is 2:25 am now, and the quietness of the apartment does not feel like an end-of-the-world still cut anymore but rather a solemn night perfectly ordained to give my mind and heart its much-needed rest. If you have read this far, I pray that you have a meaningful and refreshing holiday break, too. Good night! :)


 N