At one of the meetings I attended with Campus Based at the FFL Office, Ate Kaye Matignas approached me and informed me I didn’t have to play keyboard for the upcoming praise concert in Saint Mary’ College Quezon City. I was kind of relieved since this obviously meant that I had more time to be a normal teenager.
I said to myself: “I could do my home works, my projects, my reflection papers, orchestrations and song drafts. I could go out with my friends instead of practicing for the event! I could do the things I really want.” Then Ate Kaye started talking again and informed me that I was to lead the worship instead because there were no keys available for me to play on at the event. I was startled, frightened, and dismayed. This meant that I was going to have to squeeze everything in. It meant I had to think up an exhortation in time. But more importantly, it meant that I was going to have to lead worship in front of a big crowd for the first time.
Last February 28 was SMCQC’s Praise Concert, which was held at their school gym and was one of the highlights of their overnight retreat (which they called a youth camp). Kuya Mac De Leon told me that I had to be lively and humorous to be able to appeal to high school students. This further disheartened me because I wasn’t an expert on being lively and humorous on stage. Boy, did it make my heart beat faster. When the YFL team got to the venue I carefully went over the story I was to share; a story of choosing to be brave despite your youth. My name was called, I took a few confident strides towards the middle of the space in front of the crowd, and spoke in the prominent language of the Lord: love.
My sharing was about my mother who coincidentally was an alumna of SMCQC. I talked about how she needed to be operated on when I was a kid and how scared I was. I talked about how lost and in need I was; how I relied on my own strength rather than the strength of God. The Lord spoke through me and told them that this was not what He had planned for me. I chose to be brave, as a kid. I prayed to Him and rediscovered Him. I explained how my family was saved because of His promise; how we were saved because of His love. At that moment I felt a change in me, so powerful and so mysterious that I could not discern what it was exactly. Only after the event did I realize that I felt a part of the Lord’s promise being fulfilled in me!
One of my favorite names for the Lord is Promise Keeper. It simply means that God is love and that love keeps its promises. Because the Lord loves me and everyone around me, He made a crazy promise to us: that we may live life to the fullest through Him. But it only recently occurred to me that He cannot fulfill His promise if we do not accept it in ourselves. Why? Because without our response to His love, then it is an unkept promise. When He loves us, we need to love Him back in order for Him to fulfill the truly magnificent future He has in store for us. How can we expect God to deliver to us untold blessings and gifts when our hearts don’t trust Him fully? Imagine how it must hurt Him when He promises the universe to us and we don’t believe in Him! It’s similar to how an excellent man can profess his excellent love and his excellent plan to the woman he loves, but the woman is cynical and therefore chooses not to believe in him because she has been hurt too much in the past, so she decides to turn him down.
Choosing to be brave in your service, in your studies and everything else is a sign that you are accepting the call of the Lord and that you are ready to believe in His promise. That is why we must remember to never be complacent and be lazy. We must never forget that love is a two way relationship where we have to love the Lord back through our words, thoughts, and actions. We must never forget to be brave enough to believe.