Drei writes: "I'm Andrea "Drei" Almario from the Philippines. I have been writing stories and poems since grade school and I was active in our school newsletter. I received Christ as my Lord and Savior 2 years ago, I was 18 then, and I remember how suddenly, I wanted to use these God-given talents for the glory of His Name. I know I still have a lot to learn and I pray that you will be part of it. God bless!"
When He Took Them Away
She was soaring high, as high as her grades which she fought hard to beget in the prestigious university she managed to squeeze into. Her father was half-proud, her mother started to notice that she actually has academic prowess, and her relatives regarded her as commendable and admirable. Indeed who would not? She was on the Dean's List and her friends run to her for tutoring. She kept hearing “beauty and brains” tailing her name.
Her mother, a business woman who was working really hard overseas showered her
with gadgets, dresses, shoes, and rainbows and butterflies. The father that she
desired so much to please showered her with you-can-do-more's along with
lock-your-door-at-night's and remember-to-eat-on-time's. They did not get
along, her parents. They competed on provisions, which went well for her. Her
bank account was fat and she had more money than she needed. There was not a
time when she could not appease her cravings, be it food or entertainment.
Everybody loved her, she was quite sure of that. It was not fun for her friends if she was not around. Her two brothers adored her. For them she was a princess who deserved to be spoiled. The lion's share was hers, the remote control too, and wherever she wanted to go was exactly where they had to. Her grandmother vowed to meet everything she needed. She catered to her health when she got sick and always put her first.
It was all going smooth and great.
Until she met Christ and life turned around. They said that when one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, it would be the beginning of “Everything Alright”. But when she was introduced to Him, all she knew was what He took away.
School was not friendly with her anymore. Her grades dropped so low with failures and sure enough, the Dean did not include her on his list anymore. She knew that she still was competent in Math but her friends did not think so. They stopped asking for late night tutoring and soon they stopped the bonding as well. She did not see them as often as before. She then learned how her former admirers thought she lost her lustrous hair and pretty features. She ceased to be the darling of the crowd just like that.
Then her mom lost the business and went home penniless. It was going to be alright supposedly, except that her dad was put into jail for illegal drugs which she had no idea he was pushing. That was also the time when her parents both declared that there was no hope for them to get back together again. Needless to say, midnight came and the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. It depressed her that she did not have a fairy godmother to blame.
The rest of the family learned about her faith. They did not get it. They would not accept it. They were solid with religion and traditions and they were ready to shun her away. Which they did emotionally. The brothers made fun of not just her, but the God she believed in. When her friends laughed at her back, she could not care less. But when it was those two people whom she loved the most on the planet, it killed her. Everyday they showed her rejection, it was like dying over and over again. Her eyes were blurry and bloody with un-shed tears and her ears rung with too much pressure. She went down so low that she actually wondered if she were in hell.
Until she realized so suddenly that she was not. She was so suffocated with neck-deep depression that she failed to notice the flood of grace that flowed from the most unlikely place – a bloody cross prepped up on a mountain so purposefully called Calvary.
Growing up, she thought that family was too high a price to pay for anything. Until the morning when God reminded her of His steadfast love that surpasses all. “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” (Psalm 27:10, ESV) That was where He led her, right before her grandma threatened to disown her if she does not go back. It was not anything like giving up her friends, or spending money for the ministry, or exchanging study time for evangelism. It was choosing between her family's loving arms, or God's steadfast one. She knew what the right thing to do was. Nevertheless, it was not easy at all.
She loved her family. But she also loved God. And God said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, ESV) It took a good number of weeks, but just one Jesus, to make her fully understand what God was asking of her. He did not exactly say “Hate them!” But what God demanded from her was to love Him so much that when sat side by side with any other love, particularly that greatest she felt so far, it would be unfathomably incomparable, that the other would look as if it was hate. Yes, there was no further price to be paid to receive the salvation, but along the road to submission to Christ, she knew she had to prove her desire for Him. She knew she had to prove it to herself. What she learned from this journey was that the only price too high to pay was faith.
Pain always went first before relief, in the same way that rejection faced her first before acceptance. She had to give up so she could fight while Christ had to lay down His life so she could live. That prestigious university could have prosepered another hundred generations but could never have taught her what she now understood. When she had nothing, that was when she experienced true abundance. The Lord took everything she could be proud of and left nothing behind. She never thought that when she was blind, was when she would see His glory.
(© 2015 Drei Almario – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)