God Can Be Annoying
First Published on Medium.
On my way home today from my client’s office, I noticed the cabdriver was a bit loud singing along as John Lennon and The Beatles’ songs were playing. He was singing the lyrics wrong, and it was kind of funny.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry, dad, I made you cry. Oh my I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m just a jealous guy.”
He said John Lennon composed the song dedicating it to his father. Why would John Lennon be jealous of his dad? I don’t know if it’s true, but he went on with the next song Come Together uttering gibberish lyrics. He then talked about The Beatles and their ideologies, and I was already half-listening.
Then I realized he was using The Beatles’ story to transition to evangelize me. There were two large books and lots of scratch papers on the car’s dashboard. He turned off the stereo, and made me read a Bible verse in Filipino, and when I saw the word “iglesia”, I thought, “Oh man, is this another weird fanatic who takes Bible verses on a literally literal approach? Not now please.”
But then as he went on, I realized he was impressively doing apologetics on me. He’s a Christian. I suddenly listened to him carefully, and reckoned he knows his Bible verses by heart and knows the works of St. Augustine.
The trip was short, and his discussion was cut, but I appreciated his effort as a Christian in this busy metropolitan city. It struck me and asked myself, “what can I learn from him?” He could do it in a better environment, at a better and longer time, with a better Bible, and not as ambushed as it was. Nonetheless, I was impressed how this man can share God’s word in his rather busy life with two worn-out Bibles and soiled photocopied handouts of verses and readings all over his taxi cab (see sample photo below).
What am I doing then? What makes me a Christian if I know nothing about Jesus? When I can’t discuss the Gospel like that? And when I’m not even professing to the world I am a Christian? God can be annoying when he reaches out, but yes, I got the message, Sir!
I am a Christian, and I’m proud of it. So here, I’d like to tell you about how God can be so annoying, leading me to my Christian birth.
I hated being in a church organization. I hated the hypocrisy and hollowness of its members..of youth leaders womanizing, of men of gods abusing little children, of lay men going to sex clubs, of regular church-goers with broken families and damaged sons and daughters, of crusaders who kill without remorse, of many of them who love their “gods” but do not love others.
We all know it. We know many of them.
I’ve experienced them greatly in my life, and impacted me on so many eventful situations. So for several years I’ve holed up in my own small spiritual church and had to recognize, worship and honor God in my own way, to feed my need for spiritual exultation, be one with Him in my own terms and understanding, to experience Him in my own perception..to commune with that Great Spirit of the Universe, as I named Him. But then, it was never enough. To grasp him in my mind was never enough because His mind is far more gaping than mine. To conceive Him was never enough because I know He is beyond me. I was pursuing Him my way, my truth, my life. But then again, it was never enough.
He was still distant. I knew I was getting lost but I was always justifying myself. I felt unworthy; I felt so distant. I still felt so small, like a tiny speck of dust in this wide universe. I knew I was wrong, but my human pride was uncontrollable. I was THAT stubborn, and I knew that.
But God can be annoying. Because if you were chosen, He will reach out to you in unbelievable ways. He will bless you and nourish you. He will give you everything you want one day, and poke you the next. And when you’re still not reacting, he’ll trip you or hit you in the head face flat on the floor — all just to get your attention.
He was strongly reaching out to me the past months of my life. Highs and lows. Extreme highs and extreme lows. I kept on ignoring everything that God was throwing at me. I was getting tired from all of it, but then it was still my pride that got power over me.
..Until we learned the news that a monstrous substance is eating up a bone of my mom’s spine.
I was devastated. I felt the power that we do not have, the weakness of our human bodies, the difference between mortality and God, the might of the human spirit, and the love of God, above all. I never blamed Him, but I blamed things. I blamed people. But mostly, I blamed myself.
At the same time my mom was in the hospital, God was aggressively reaching out to me in ways I could have never imagined. It was never a coincidence that more than three people were not giving up on me to get me to start my walk with Jesus Christ. I was read the Gospel a couple times in the past, but never this way, never from all directions all at the same time.
My mom was admitted to the hospital in July. Upon the invitation of someone close to my heart, in August I started attending the services of Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) on Sundays. At the same time, an ex-officemate and friend was inviting me to their weekly Bible studies, and a client read the Gospel to me the first time we met and never gave up until I attend their Sunday services. I was being called from all directions. But still, I think I wasn’t totally convinced.
Until I attended a series of talks named “Pursuit” in October. I attended all four of it, participated in breakout sessions where we discussed the topics in detail and on a more personal level. Apologetics was a good start by ex-actor, model and host Judah Paolo. He talked about the pursuit of God, His existence, our existence, its reality, and presented different arguments surrounding this topic, from great philosophers and apologists from many generations. It was actually an academic discussion, and I loved it.
But what turned me around and got my hands up surrendering to Jesus was the concluding talk by Francis Kong, The Pursuit of Lasting Fulfillment. I wouldn’t go into the details because that’s what he’s paid for, but he was able to completely and holistically provide logical, historical, philosophical and Biblical arguments that Jesus Christ is indeed the only Way, the Truth and the Life that man pursues, beyond history and wars, ever since the dawn of human civilization.
We are all in search of God. And fact is, I’ve found that Jesus is the only way to Him — His works, words, life, death and resurrection. We may see many of us stumbling and struggling in this search. We may be labeled hypocrites or pretenders, and it may discourage others from beginning their own search, but remember that the pursuit is personal. The walk with Jesus is only between the two of you, and nothing else, and we must not falter if others are stumbling. It is instead our mission to get others walking with Him too, and live a life of ultimate joy, purpose and fulfillment.
After that talk series, I’ve been regularly meeting up with my breakout groupmates and studying God’s word. I also got myself in a Discipleship Group under CCF in Makati to know Jesus Christ more and have a more intimate relationship with him. Now, I’m looking forward to the day I can share Jesus with others and maybe in the process or along the way, I’ll meet that cabdriver again and be able to thank him for the inspiration, that like God, despite his annoying character and unrelenting ways, he chose me, he gave me the Word.