Of recent, it's been a tough ten days.
Ever since we started upping our involvement in a ministry towards tribal groups in selected areas around Mindanao (count 'em - 35!), there have been strange coincidences of unexpected setbacks that some of the regular "no risk" ministers prefer to call "superstitious" occurences.
What would they know. They live such programmed lives, anything spontaneous would qualify as miraculous. And let's not get into the matter of the Holy Spirit. There are just too many people making Him in their image and likeness in their minds that it's no wonder He chooses to go elsewhere.
At any rate, these minute by minute disturbances range from the irritatingly mundane to the disturbing, and sometimes cruel.
And all this, happening at exactly the time when we made major inroads in the ministry towards the pilot area in Western Mindanao, where we're likely to achieve a degree of success.
But then again, the learned ministers of the Word from the Western Evangelical bible colleges would know better. These are superstitious thoughts and just merely "occurences".
Sure. Let's trade shoes for a month, and then let's talk.
These are the times when I find it convenient to be cynical and question why of all times, when I put my skills and network to a Godly use, is when we suffer an onslaught of these events. And what's worse, we can't make a head or tail of where they come from or how to counter them.
At least, when I was a new believer, I had fellow likeminded new believers to pray with against these things and for a time, (I'd like to think) we kept them abay.
But of course, we're more educated believers now and these things don't happen. Right.
As far as I can remember, it was in the gospel narratives when the manifestation of supernatural "non beings" like demons were mentioned a great many times more than they were ever mentioned in the annals of the Old Testament.
And we (rather, my divinely educated friends from the Ivy League Christian universities) prefer to refer to them as "superstitious" concepts. Let's take that up with the Coming King when he gets here, okay?
However, in all this, I found encouragement in the most unlikely places.
First a good online friend and fellow apologist (so I'd like to think of myself as such as well) Joshua Tongol ( http://joshuatongol.com/) comforted me and told me to read up on George Muller, who influenced him greatly in his life.
So I did. I found a great many resources such as this one - http://www.georgemuller.blogspot.com/ - which also led me to this wonderful blog piece by Kimberly Powell: http://viaperegrini.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/the-unbearable-unexpected-and-unimaginable-adventure-of-george-mueller-and-me/. Although the spelling was off and the site she had pointed in the wrong direction, Kim gave such a fresh, candid account of her dependency on the Lord God that I was just taken aback by the vividness of her experience.
It was then when I had realized that the value of studying apologetics first helps in reworking the mind's orientation to be able to think in terms of faith. Because more often, what we should believe is always in conflict with what we can think should be possible or impossible.
Faith was never logical or meant to be logical. Somehow I wished that that was deliberately mentioned by the Lord Jesus in the gospel narratives so we could hold on to it earlier than discovering it much later when studying the philosophy of the Kingdom.
But no matter, I discovered the reason why I had to study these difficult subjects first - so that my obstinate mind would know the Lord God thoroughly, and through these rough times, come into consonance with a heart that can be inclined to believe when the mind says it's just not possible to.
I have yet to come through this fire, but deep down I know that my family and I will see this through, with the Grace of the Lord God - to whom I have prayed to just hold my hand in all this, as I can't see any visible indication of a solution to all the problems that have been dumped on me - financial and otherwise.
Just the comfort of being close to Him will be my only solace. But there will be a glorious ending to this. It's what He promised, and we have to hold on to it. There's no other way.
I hope to post about the surprise when it gets here. Until then, I'd appreciate your prayers.