Joy in Pain
Please Hear What I’m Not Saying
Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm and I’m in command
and that I need no one,
but don’t believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
if it’s followed by love.
It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.
So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,
what I’d like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can’t say.
I don’t like hiding.
I don’t like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you’ve got to help me.
You’ve got to hold out your hand
even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings–
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.
Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me the blinder I may strike back.
It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.
Charles C. Finn, September 1966
Click Here for the Source
This is a poem shared to us last week in Sunday worship at CCF Eastwood. As we continue to study the Beatitudes, I am slowly realizing that whatever I learned back in High School was just a sneak peek of everything I am learning today. If the questions today were asked back then, I will surely fail the subject because I haven’t realized Jesus’ love not until last year. I am thankful for the everyday learning and I cannot wait to share this with everyone!
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NLT
Definition: Mourn /môrn/ – to feel or express grief or sorrow
When I was young, the Beatitudes were tackled as the life lessons taught by Jesus to His apostles before He ascended to Heaven but I never received it of great importance, not until today. I wondered why Jesus would bless the ones who mourn? Would He want to bless them so that they could receive comfort and not mourn anymore? These are just a few questions I was asking myself when I read this passage again. How are we really blessed? I think we are all given this “blessedness” as long as we know what it is Jesus wanted us to mourn about. I was reminded that not until we know what pains God, then we couldn’t actually please Him. It struck me head-on. Do I really know what pains my God? I thought of sin; When I commit sin, it pains Him. However, I learned that it is not just by committing a sin that pains God but also not being able to follow Jesus’ way of life as example pains Him. Are we mourning for the right things? I thought that the way I mourn over my sins is too shallow than to mourn like Paul – let alone Jesus.
2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. Romans 9:2-3 NLT
I never thought mourning for other people would be of high importance to God and this opened my eyes to more truths of the Bible. Jesus wants us to mourn on the right things that which will help us grow in love of our mighty God. Jesus’ heart is not just for those who believe in Him but purely for those who haven’t. Jesus’ heart is intentionally pursuing each and everyone’s heart to feel His love and direct it to God’s Glory. I felt too selfish realizing all of these. I wanted to grow my faith as Christian, I wanted to learn more of His words, I wanted to testify for His Glory, and I wanted to share His love with others – but I never intended these the way Paul did. I knew that being with fellow believers will actually bring me good but now, I know that God intended me for something bigger because He wants nothing but the best for me. Jesus intended comfort for me but not to feel comfortable and just stay where I am now – Jesus wants me to seek comfort in Him as I go and share His love with others. I was a believer of a different faith and was pursued by Jesus through my friends and circumstances. I have followed Him despite the cost and I decided to not turn my back from Him again. My life transformation with Christ would not be possible if it weren’t for those who prayed for me and prayed with me. Can I really do the same for others? How can I lose Hope for nonbelievers when Jesus never gave up on me?
I am being persecuted every day ever since I followed Jesus and outspoke His name. My actions are watched and my words are counted – feels like the people surrounding me is waiting for me to commit a mistake and scoff at my faith, “Nagwoworship ka pa naman!” and “Yan ba ang tinuturo sainyo jan?” I am being tested each and every day and I know I cannot be perfectly sinless because no one is. Through this blog, I know people would judge me side-by-side on my way of life. I know that putting this up and publicly declaring His Glory would entail doubts, ridicules, and mocks but I know that it is really part of it. Again, a cost (both figuratively and literally because having this site is not for free) I am willing to make just to proclaim His name. It is true that if I do not experience the persecution in the name of Jesus, then I would never know the love Jesus had endured for me in the Calvary.
8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:8 NLT
I was starting to lose hope for my family to see the One True God of the Bible but I was reminded not to lose heart. Now, my prayer for my family’s salvation got more specific – I pray that they may experience Jesus the way I experienced Him and I pray that Jesus would use me to direct them to Him. I may not know where and how to start it but I trust God’s ways. I easily get discouraged but I was reminded to draw strength from the true source of it and make Jesus as my rock. If my brokenness could bring people closer to Him, then I am serving Him well. I believe that the spiritual warfare is true and it scares the life out of me especially when Ptr. Jonathan Bradford talks about it (Lol) but it makes me more motivated to fight for the truth and that is Jesus. I now know what Jesus wants me to mourn about and that is to mourn for others who haven’t known Him yet and to pray unceasingly for them.
— yesHEis Philippines (@yesHEisPH) July 18, 2017
John Piper also once said that “Until you know that life is a war you cannot know what prayer is for.” Praying for others is not a usual prayer point on my list but now it is. I know that a lot of people are praying for me despite their life circumstances and I cannot leave them alone in this war.
The joy in pain as I mourn for others is evident as I seek comfort from Him. The proud, self-centered, and self-sufficient cannot be comforted because they will not come to the “God of all comfort” as they live in total independence from God. Another reminder to humble my heart, admit my weakness and proclaim my source of strength. I found joy in pain that the more broken I am, the more I seek God and allow His Glory to shine through me. I found joy being used by God to direct people to Him even if it has to be through this platform. I know I can reach people all over the world most especially those who are not free to speak out of His name; Brothers and Sisters, I am praying for you. We are praying for you.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT