“But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the passing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9
These were the very verses I remembered when I chose to serve the Lord instead of pursuing my dreams and ambitions.
Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I had a lot of imaginations of what I wanted to become, but being a doctor was really my top priority. Not because I’m a bright and very diligent person, but simply because I wanted to spare people from all the fears and pains I’ve gone through when I was still young.
Among my siblings, I was the sickly one. I tend to go in and out of the hospital more often. I remembered that I only go to school when it’s already periodical exam then had to return back to the hospital for more IV bags. There was even a time when I was confined for about four months, and since my parents couldn’t be there with me 24/7 because of our business, sometimes I woke up alone in the hospital. Yet with the presence of some young nurses, I was able to roam around the building to help me ease my anxieties. There I saw different faces of pain, different versions of agony and different angles of sorrow.
As I saw each one of them, there I knew of what I wanted to become. I knew how it feels to be in constant pain, when you had no choice but to befriend injections and IV’s, to be in a critical condition, and to suffer ache of diseases.
I wanted to become a doctor simply because I wanted to help those who are suffering.
THE DAY OF MY SALVATION
Years passed and high school years came, there were a lot of things that happened to me and to my family. Things I never expected that would come yet out of my knowledge, the Lord was already drawing me to the day of my salvation.
I was 16 then and was very much grateful to God that He used my classmate for the Gospel to be shared to me. His grace was irresistible and couldn’t help but always cry for His lovingkindness, even up until now.
My mind was opened and my heart became flesh from the dead of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord and for all the things He had done on the cross. All things made sense when He revealed Himself to me. A sinner undeserving of grace, yet He saved me, chose me even before I was born, protected me until the day of my sweet surrender. Though I faced a lot of persecutions from my family and friends, threats of not going to college, yet the Lord never left me and provided me of what I needed. His Word became my refuge and my comfort.
Every Word from the Bible has become my daily food and my shelter. I never expected that amidst all difficulties, a person could be truly joyful inside. He healed me both spiritually and physically. After I surrendered my life to Christ, I rarely do get sick. And if I did, it would only last for 3 days, not months nor years unlike before that I was a regular patient to particular hospital.
No more IV bags, no more painful antibiotics in my veins, no more skin tests and the hospital’s scent became strange.
COLLEGE DAYS AND THE TRIALS I FACED
Despite all the persecutions and threats of not going to college, by the Lord’s grace He made it possible.
I went to a university 12 hours away from home, carrying still the desire of becoming a doctor, but this time with a right motive – to become a vessel for God’s usage. I continued my faith and publicly declared that I am for God and for God alone.
For 4 years of staying in the so-called ‘melting pot of Mindanao’, circumstances and experiences taught me many things and brought many spiritual changes in my life. With the help of the Word of God, where you let it be your Compass and your Teacher as well. But still the desire of becoming a doctor was there because for me, it’s my calling.
I never imagined myself of becoming anything or anyone other than being a doctor. Whenever I had a chance to be alone in a library, cafeteria or even in our room, I wrote all my prayers, petitions and supplications to God in a notebook or just a scratch of paper. I have been in a constant communication with Him and transparent with all my heart. But something happened after I graduated.
The day after our graduation rites, my friends & churchmates in that university had to rush me in the hospital because of high fever and seriously, I could not feel my legs and my entire body at that time.
Many times I hyperventilated in the hospital and was diagnosed with multiple bacterial infection, hypokalemia, URTI (Upper Respiratory Tract Infection) and UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). That was the first time in a very long time had I’ve been admitted to a hospital again.
Eventhough I was determined to enroll immediately in Medicine, but due to my condition, I had to rest my body for at least a semester or a year. Despite of those, I never blamed GOD because I knew He was just teaching me of the things I still could not understand.
So I went back to our hometown and involved myself in our local church where I’ve always been thankful to GOD for teaching a sound doctrine. There, I have been in constant hunger and thirst of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord more. My faith deepened, my knowledge based on Truth increased about Him and my love abounded for Him. Never a single fellowship did I allow to pass because I know I couldn’t have much of it when I would return for medicine. So I savored every messages the Lord would deliver to His people.
IT’S TIME TO DECIDE
One year had passed and I was in a brink of a difficult decision. I kept on praying to the Lord of where to go and what to do, until such time the Lord had used some people in our church. Our worship team overseer, whom the Lord have been mightily used in the ministry, approached me. She said that I must pray it through about pursuing medicine and ask the Lord deeply through His Word if this is His will for me. That prompted my heart and I was convicted by the Holy Spirit of God. I honor every people whom the Lord had mightily used yet I was afraid of what I might get from the Lord’s instruction.
I was confronted with the question ‘What if it’s not the will of God for me? What will happen to me?’ But as I approached His throne of grace with all humility asking for guidance, questions became “What does it really mean to be a Christian? What happens to me when I became a Christian?” And this is where He guided me in His Word in Luke 9:23. There are three things to consider if you want to follow the Lord. Three things, and not just to choose one out of the three:
1. Deny himself (v. 23a)
Everyday, we have been in a constant battle spiritually with Satan, the world and the flesh with three very old yet very effective strategy of his: a) lust of the flesh, 2) lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life (1 Jn 2:6). And Satan is very subtle in his ways. He won’t give you situations that he knows he can’t capture you. It will always be valid, logical, rational and good in our very own eyes. Even our very own self is our enemy. Nothing good dwells in me, as what apostle Paul had declared in Rom. 7:18.
Anything that would threaten the throne of Christ in us could blind us from His perfect will. Accepting Christ means accepting Him not just our Savior, but our Lord. And when He is our Lord, He must be unrivaled. And for Him to be unrivaled, we must deny ourselves. For it is ourselves who always take His throne in our hearts.
2. Take up your cross
This means the willingness to embrace what Christ had lived in this world. Our Lord did not come here with a luxurious life nor a life with a bed of roses. He was beaten to the point of death, persecuted, despised, mocked and crucified on the cross for people just like me. He became a sin who knew no sin, for me. He bore the wrath reserved for me so that I might live for Him. And who am I, for Him to do such a great sacrifice? He bought me with such a high price, I am not on my own.
3. Follow “Me”
Being a Christian is not easy, and had never been. Before you can joyfully and relentlessly follow Christ, it costs you everything. You have to turn away from everything that undermine the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life. It means self-denial to the things that you most love, bearing the cross to the point of death for the Gospel, till then you can follow.
OBEDIENCE IS A TRUE MARK OF A CHRISTIAN
It took me one whole week or more for weeping over this.
All my life, I, of becoming a doctor was all I’ve ever pictured for my career. That being a doctor was the best avenue for GOD to use me for the advancement of His glory.
But I saw how GOD through the power of the Holy Spirit had gradually changed my heart for just a span of week.
Now, I saw the fulfillment of my heart’s desire. The desire to help others to spare them from fear and pain was fulfilled in a form of sharing the Gospel and living a life that speaks about GOD.
By the time that I gave up every desire that I had to Him, never did I ever had difficulties in finding opportunities. He’s the One whose opening privileges by which I knew I don’t deserve. Persecution is still there, it’s part of a Christian life. Yet, joy, peace, hope, faith – these are the marks that you are in the perfect will of God amidst difficulties that this life has to offer.
Fulfillment is in Christ alone, not on any other kind of profession.
There is no higher calling and no greater honor than to serve Christ alone. And I can declare along with Paul that “whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the passing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9
May I share to you this song, which we sang in the music ministry, a year after letting go of my ambition:
ANYTHING THAT COSTS ME NOTHING
I cannot come before my righteous Holy Lord
And offer to Him worldly things I do not need
And hope He’s pleased
For He wants me to give, a heart that’s truly His
An offering of the highest price
A servant whom, the Lord can use
I will not offer anything that costs me nothing
I’ll place before Him nothing less than my very best
And if I’m called to sacrifice
It will be worthy of my Christ
I will not offer anything that costs me nothing
To serve Him is my goal, how could I withhold
Whatever’s mine He’s given me, it’s not my own
It’s His alone
Whatever He requires, it is my desire
Whatever He may need from me,
I’ll pay the cost, gain or loss
Haireo was once a depraved woman, predestined and loved by an Omniscient GOD, saved by the blood of the Lamb, sealed and sustained by grace through the power of the Holy Spirit and now living for the glory of the One who truly matters – JESUS CHRIST.