Reflection: Psalms 23 and 91; James 1:5; 3: 17 – 18.
God’s ways can be intriguingly thought provoking. There is no scarcity of encounters with Him among us, and if we were to meditate awhile, we will inevitably be conscious of the less obvious among them, and God will always surprise us with His perspective on issues. Someone asked, what are some of my experiences with God? I will just focus on a few snippets from our days in the Philippines and my counseling journey.
- In an earlier reflection (11 Aug 2013), I referred to a distinct ‘voice’ instructing me to go to the other side of our atap home, as we stood with our neighbours watching flames being doused over a house opposite ours during the dry season. A torching instrument left by an opposing rebel group was found behind our home. It was like listening to someone standing right next to me giving audible instructions. Donna and I were the only English speakers in that group. Who can that be?
- I probed, “What was ‘the power’ in this village?” I half knew the answer, but was nevertheless staggered by the reply. One evening, God drew back ‘a spiritual curtain,’ and I saw a demon with its face hidden. It too was not unfamiliar to villagers, but no one knew its identity. That was the commencement of our earnest intercession for the villagers.
- Late one night, I was called to attend to a 6 year-old boy who had refused food for two days. After some preliminaries, I sat on the floor next to him, praying silently for wisdom. He suddenly coughed and began vomiting. I brought the oil lamp closer to see what he had disgorged, and nearly fell back as I saw a lively squirming eight-inch round worm on the floor. That determined the antidote.
- We are thankful for God’s protection over a few potentially fatal road accidents. Here is one: It was mid-day, and the rest of the passengers were dozing in our packed jeepney. I was sitting near the back entrance with Donna next to me. Suddenly, I noticed that the vehicle behind us was hurtling at a breakneck speed towards our stationary jeepney. There was not enough time to get out. I closed my eyes after a quick committal into His care, and waited for the deadly impact. A deep peace prevailed. Seconds later, jolted by the screams of consternation, I watched the other vehicle swerved past us by inches, and ran over some soldiers on a route march and a few bystanders. Saved, but traumatic!
- She had been my client for 5 years, receiving supportive therapy for a schizophrenia diagnosis. Once in a long while she would totally loose it. From my observations, her episodes were asymptomatic of schizophrenia. It was bizarre and exasperating. “Lord, if her diagnosis is incorrect, open my eyes.” 15 minutes into one of our sessions soon after an episode, she went into a trance state, and a girl with a squeaky voice began to speak. After conversing with her for ten minutes, I thanked her for ‘coming out,’ and asked to speak to Jane, my client. When Jane came out of her trance, she had no memory of what just happened. No, she was not possessed. Her husband who had accompanied her, freaked out! She had been misdiagnosed, and soon stopped her psychosis medication. She began to stabilize as we explored the underlying causes of her identity dissociation as a result of a trauma-ridden past.
- How to help a Christian man who grew up watching his father beat his mother and older sisters with impunity? After a rancorous first session, I breathed an urgent prayer. At the second session, the young man confessed that he has changed for the better. Within a week, unbelievable! How? One evening, he watched his oldest 10 year-old boy beat up the youngest 5 year-old over a minor incident, and suddenly realized that he was their model; that was the turnaround for him. And he has not hit his wife again for the last 15 years. My quickest solved family violence case. Only God can do that in a hardened wife-beater! Great are your mercies, O Lord our Healer.