“Nasa sa’yo na nga nawala pa.” (You have it already yet you lost it still.)
It hurts, doesn’t it? Sometimes, we think that what we have right now is already what’s best for us because it basically makes us happy (whatever your definition of happiness is).
That certain person, that relationship, that material possession, that wisdom and strength, that job and career, that grade and status, basically everything we have that is good, we thought that they are for us. And we hold on to them.
Almost 2 years ago, as I was applying for my masters degree, I was also trying to get myself a scholarship. I got accepted in the university, which was really great because I have been asking God for it, and I was very hopeful. I really thought it’s going to happen, that I’m going to get my scholarship. But I didn’t. My scholarship application was rejected.
I already got hold of it. I was already there, attending class, yet God was suddenly like no Hanna, this is not for you.
As Christians, there are so much that we expect from God. We think that He will give us everything that we wanted just because we are His children. We somehow feel entitled. We tend to limit God as to how our limited minds can try to fathom Him, forgetting that our God is a good father, higher than anything. He knows what things can harm us, and what things could help us grow spiritually.
And here comes our misconception of God taking something away: God takes away because He will replace it with a better version of it.
Sadly, our motivation to trust God, and our source of our assurance has become He will surely give a better version of it in the future. Well, that’s not completely wrong, but it is also not completely right. Are you confused? Let me explain.
It’s basically okay to hope for those things. But to put your faith and assurance on the things that will not last, things that are just temporary and would eventually fail? That’s where things can get complicated.
It’s okay to believe God for better things, because that may be one of the reasons why God took them; but that’s not the ultimate reason. That is not the ultimate goal.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:2 ESV
He is removing those things because they have nothing to do with us. They do not bear fruit. Aside from that, they hinder us to be fruitful in our walk with Him.
He cuts off some people, that career, that relationships, that path, and even our worldly interests and our hearts’ desires that are destructive, that we thought are going to make the best of us. God knows that aside from them being useless, they interfere, slow down, or even destroy our growth.
And there’s only one way for us to grow and be fruitful.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5 ESV
One way. To abide in Jesus, our true vine!
That’s the ultimate reason why God takes away. So that we can focus on abiding in Him. So that we can spend more of our energy, not growing the unfruitful branches, but tending those that are connected to the true vine that gives us peace, pure joy, hope, and love that will not fail and will last forever.
After that failure of my first attempt in pursuing my masters degree, I went home. And the God who is full of surprises brought me to places where I can serve Him and honour Him most during that time. I got to serve during youth camps and fellowships, and to minister and be ministered upon.
That was a season of redemption and healing. It was the season when I was just so amazed on how God can unexpectedly turn things around. How He can turn our mourning into celebrating, devastation into conviction, and rejection into satisfaction in Him, by Him, through Him, and for Him.
God doesn’t necessarily removes people to bring new people, and takes away the material possessions to replace it with a grander one, and removes opportunities just to makes us settle with what’s available for us, but He takes away so that He can offer more of Himself.
He removes things from us so He can increase in us.
Practically speaking, we declutter so that we’ll have more space, and more space for us to move, not for new things to come in at times but to just see a better view of what we already have. And in our journey of faith, we have Christ.
In our lives, God declutters in us so He could fill Himself in; a space that the Holy Spirit could move in us; a space where Jesus could get hold of us.
…you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Jesus is our true possession. He is the perfect replacement for what has been taken. Nothing can compare to Him, our best reward that will last forever.
And you have the choice to fill that space with Jesus.
Or do you declutter so you could fill the room with the same mess again?