Falling Skies, Living In Grace

2 Corinthians 12:8b-9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I wallowed in negativity and dwelt on my painful situation, it felt like the skies are falling down on me.

by: Sparky R. Abuel

I was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in one of the biggest shipping multinational company in the world. Working as a Marine Radio Officer, my pay was good, as a matter of fact, it was very, very good. I was able to save a substantial amount of money in our bank account, acquired a house and lot, bought a vehicle and most importantly all my children were studying in one of the finest private schools in Manila.

In those days, everything was all about the money, how to have more money, how to invest money and more significantly was where to spend my money (sigh). I was pondering upon the idea of becoming a freight forwarder, acquire more real estate properties and start an apartment rental business. What a glorious plan! I was at the peak of my career, had enough resources to furnish my family’s needs and more, and basically what could go wrong? Stealing a line from Leonardo DiCaprios’ Titanic “I am on top of the world”.

Everything was going well, or so I thought. As I was so busy with acquiring wealth, I was made to realize that in doing so I missed the growing part of my children, they look up to my wife as both their father and mother. My worst fear was then realized when one of my children started to rebel and disrespect me. I told myself, one more trip abroad then I will rectify all these inequities. Then the unthinkable happened, when I was preparing to leave for abroad, I was diagnosed with “Adenocarcinoma” , better known as colon cancer, and worst it was already in an advanced stage and was told the most I could stay living was more or less 5 years. That was in 2003.

Like any other cancer treatments, it came with a cost, a very high cost. Our expenses went above the roof, cash and properties were drained faster than a speeding bullet, private schools turned to public, business proposals became business illusions and just like what happened in Titanic (the movie), my dreams were all eaten by the ocean.

I wallowed in negativity and dwelt on my painful situation, it felt like the skies were falling down on me.”

While being comforted by family and friends, one of them uttered the story of King David -- how he overcame feelings of discouragement. Even in the face of tragedy, he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, KJV). He had learned how to put his hope in God in the midst of adversity.

In my darkest hours, I met the Lord our God and have learned to live with six (6) of His living principles:

1.Be honest with God “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). Talking to Him about my struggles is often the first step to healing.
2.Don’t dwell on the negative. “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2Corinthians 10:5)
3.Trust the Lord to take care of your needs. God’s faithfulness is great, unchanging, and true.
4.Focus on encouraging spiritual truths. When life gets you down, remember to thank God for the benefits you enjoy because of your relationship with Christ.
5.Look for specific passages that speak to your situation.
6.Put your hope in God—not in a particular outcome, another person, or even your own abilities. Although our families and friends can be wonderful resources in adversity, we must be careful not to place all of our hope in them. People will disappoint us at times. However, our heavenly Father is always available to counsel us, provide strength, and work on our behalf (Ps. 73:23-28).

I am alive today, 11 years after my life changing experience - fully healed. And I believe that serving, worshiping, and obeying the Lord our God is my sole purpose in life. Blessings upon blessings were showered upon me and my whole family. In fact, through several men of God, I have been prophesied complete restoration of all that was stolen by the enemy – the fullness of it is now well underway and I can only be excited about what the Lord is ready to pour out from His storehouse!

Only the best is being bestowed upon me - all my children are now working, I have a loving and caring wife, and a peaceful life. Plus, one of my children became a Pastor in the same church where I enjoy having fellowship with my brothers and sister in Christ.

The next time you feel hopeless, ask God to show you how to be encouraged in Him. Place your faith and trust in the Lord, and discouragement will not gain a foothold in your life.