You Are My Healer

July 28, 2008

I came across a very powerful song composed by Mike Guglielmucci and is about to be released by Hillsong (This Is Our God cd.) Powerful testimony of how God just gave him the words as he started to worship God after coming from a routine medical exam, where he was later on informed that he has a progressive cancer.

Powerful song. From one moment “how long Lord? How long Lord? to a declaration of “You are faithful, you are faithful….” I loved what his friend Joel Houston said “I saw Jesus in that declaration…”

I was just going to check my email. It turned out to be a time of private worship with the Lord. He definitely holds every moment…

Testimony portions:

Mike Guglielmucci singing in the midst of his pain….

Song: Healer

Words & Music: Mike Guglielmucci

Verse1
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You

Chorus
I believe You’re my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my Portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need

Bridge
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

May the words and the song minister to you as you ask the Lord for the healing you need in your life.

Thank you Lord for the healing that you promised.

Heal our afflictions.

Heal our unbelief.

Heal our fears.

Heal our broken relationships.

Heal our insensitivities to the suffering of others.

Heal our painful memories.

Heal our past.

Heal our broken dreams.

Heal our finances.

Heal our thoughts.

Heal our pain.

Heal our broken-ness.

Heal everything in our lives, that we may be to You, what we are not, and cannot do for ourselves.

Thank You Jesus.

Through the power of the blood that was poured out by the stripes You bore for us.

AMEN.

This blog is from my thoughts after Sgt Beans, our black labrador went through some horrifying ordeal in his doggy life. I could have entitled this blog as it is, but I would rather have the real point come across better than the illustration covering the event.

Sgt Beans developed a swelling in his testicles. It started out just his testicles turning red – and in a couple of days, got really swollen. Alarmed, I sent sms to two of the vets in the area and asked them what could have possibly caused his testicles to swell like that. They only answered “please take him here so we could inspect.”

Undeterred, I asked a veterinary student about Sgt Beans’ condition. He said something about a virus which I checked online, and then got me really scared. The virus could spread even to humans. I sent another sms to our vet and asked if it was possible for my labrador to have contracted such virus, he just simply said, “please come and I will have a look.”

Gave Beans a gentle bath and really avoided bumping his swollen parts. And once dried up, took him to the vet (which was thankfully, less than 5 minutes away).

Dr. Hernandez just got done with an eye operation on a small fuzzy dog, I can’t recall the breed right now. He motioned for us to get inside the room and we did. Beans was his friendly amiable self until Dr. Hernandez asked me to put a muzzle on Beans. I did not even know how to use it. Beans struggled and when I gave him my stern command, he didn’t resist – but I could hear the muffled, resistant groan.

And this was where we heard the first judgment.

“This is the first time I have seen a labrador growl at his master”. Dr Hernandez said. “This has never happened before…” My wife and I didnt say anything at that time but hours after the vet visit, we were able to process how that statement also affected us.

We carried Beans to the metal table. He had stopped struggling ( I thought the muzzle was too small for him…) and Dr. Hernandez inspected Beans’ testicles.

There it was. The wound that got really infected. There was a clear line of broken scrotal sac and it was red and bluish and gory looking. He gave Beans 3 injections and gave us some clear instructions. We were supposed to get him an Elizabethan collar so that he will not be able to lick his wounds especially after the medication has been applied ( 2x a day). But the collar Beans need would be a size 25 and the biggest they had at the clinic was 15.

Off we went. We were just thankful that it was not that virus that was texted to me. Got him some ointment antibiotics, betadine and a regular antibiotics.

The first night, Wifey tried to make an Elizabethan collar that would fit Bean’s neck. I’ve got to hand it to Wifey. She talked with Beans. Gave him pellets as reward until the makeshift elizabethan collar was already around his neck. Perfect.

But we could not staple it together and the cardboard material would bend every time Beans would slump his body on the floor. It wasn’t just working. It was also difficult to put the Betadine on his scrotal wounds because he would just try to get away from me. I was feeling really flustered already but I knew it had to be done.

The following day was a great day. I could see right away that the redness of the swelling has dissipated a bit and his testicles has started to shrink. Not much but it was noticeably smaller than the previous day. And it got easier to apply the Betadine on his testicles and then the antibiotic ointment.

Now he does not even get afraid of the cotton balls and the betadine liquid. The tube of antibiotic is no longer a fearful thing for him. I have actually taught him to raise one of his legs when I would say “raise leg, raise leg” – he would lift his leg a bit to give me room or would allow me to lift his leg so I can put the medication.

Starting the other day, he would just playfully lie on his back and just would allow me to put medication on his testicles. And every time I would apply medication on Beans, I would always hear myself defending Beans from the comments of Dr. Hernandez.

Here are my insights from that comment and the life application that I could glean from.

1. He was in so much pain yet he could not properly communicate it to us.

In a lot of pain, muzzle over his face, pain in his testicles and my dog was being judged for indicating he did not like what was happening to him.

People who are in pain do not necessarily know how to communicate their pain. All they know is that many times, the discomfort is too much that it saps their energies to be engaged in small banter or meaningful discussions about things that do not concern them. And perhaps, many people around them have trivialized their pain – that is why many of them would rather be quiet.

2. He has never worn a muzzle in his whole life and just putting it on a dog would be enough for them to be threaten esp in an environment that they are not used to.

Sometimes unknowingly, we put muzzles over the people who are in pain because we do not know how to draw them out. Or maybe we are already tired and worn out from listening and have entered the compassion fatigue phase. We would rather put a muzzle on them because we could not endure another moment of hearing the same pain rehearsed before our ears. We just do not want to be affected anymore – thus their pain becomes theirs to bear alone, even when we are in their company.

3. If you have swollen body parts, the last thing you would want is to have someone closely inspect it and poke it. And yes, the medications? They may be good for him, but they do sting. Sometime people just wipe you with medications without really caring if it stings or not.

I remember during one of my Masteral classes in Counseling, our professor reminded us that ” you will know the counseling theories and you will know how to apply them. I hope that even you will not be so good as to just rip a person’s mask off without even hearing it rip.”

We can get to be too clinical when addressing their pain.

Or there are times when we become too spiritual that, as we address their wounds, they feel judged as well.

In helping people deal with their most private pain, we may know what is good for them or what medications to use. Please be gentle because even the most beneficial medicines do sting early on in the treatment process.

Sgt Beans is healing well. I had just applied Betadine and then the antibiotics on him. He was steady and still as I applied the medication, waiting for me to finish. Once done, I gave the command “House” and he walked straight to his house. Sgt. Beans was not a spoiled dog as my vet had judged him to be. He was simply in a lot of pain that was very difficult for a young, and playful male labrador to deal with.

Next time you are around a person who is in pain? Remember Sgt Beans and be very gentle when you deal with their private pains.

ABS-CBN news reported last night that there has been an increase of filipino families not eating 3 meals a day. In recent nights, they had also reported that crime against property has significantly increased when compared with other crimes.

The recent spate of crimes are becoming economically driven.

I could only give a quizzical look over those news items where people were lining up to buy the latest 3G iPhone. They sold more than 11million units in the early days of opening sale. Lines upon lines of people were willing to do it just to hold in their hands, the most prized gadget in months.

Sometimes it makes me wonder, when is the breaking point?

As more and more people worldwide are feeling the heavy blows of economic recession/depression/inflation and unbelievable rising cost of everything, everybody’s question is until when? When will this stop? When will things go back to normal?

An aunt from the US emailed and said they are bracing for a possible economic depression. There is an on-going consumer-led recession right now in the US and corporations are seeing a big slump in their profits because people are buying less. (Buying less because of the lesser value of their money, as has been the case here)

Earlier I said I gave the iPhone news item a quizzical look. I feel like there are certain parts of the world that has subjectively closed their eyes on the plight of the people. Life goes on in certain places where the economic recession is still quite a long way. The rest of the oil-dependent countries are reeling with these realities while the price of fuel in the Middle East ( Saudi Arabia) per liter is just about P5! Imagine that, the price of liter of gasoline is cheaper than a piece of Kalihim bread in the local bakery!

5.00 PHP

=

0.112082 USD

Philippines Pesos United States Dollars
1 PHP = 0.0224165 USD 1 USD = 44.6100 PHP

http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi

What an imbalance. Even the Pope in his talks said that we have squandered the earth’s resources. Kofi Annan said that it is the impoverished people of Africa and Asia who are the front-liners in the effects of the global climate change as these countries are very dependent on food production and agriculture.

I have been scouring for news items and things that would show that even our local government cares about the people. That there are programs in place, actions being done and officials rushing to create policies so that many more impoverished people would be helped.

When is the breaking point?

Romans 8:18-28 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Future Glory

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

More Than Conquerors

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[b] who[c] have been called according to his purpose.

Powerful words. Powerful words of encouragement. While we may suffer still, there is a point when all of these things will stop and we will be liberated from decay and bondage. V28 is a statement that must be taken in faith and by faith especially as we go through difficult times. This the OBJECTIVE REALITY.

1. God is at work for the good.

2. God is at work for the good of those who love him.

3. God is at work for the good of those who love and are called according to His purpose.

Hang in there. God hears your cries. God is not a God who is un-moved by the plight of His children. His heart breaks when we suffer because He loves us so much. But when we look at the pain and suffering in our lives, we may only be seeing the small piece of the whole masterpiece, yet God sees the whole thing in completion.

He is with us in our difficulties, and yet, He has already seen us as conquerors.

Another inspiring scripture is

4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Let us hang on to God’s words. While every circumstances and situations may dissuade us from holding on to the word of God, I pray that God would enable us to trust more, believe more, hope more, and when necessary, endure more.

Until we see how God has redeemed what we have been through.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN

Early this morning, I got a text message from one of my friends who was about to leave with his whole family, for Canada today. As I write this, they must be flying somewhere on their way to the Canadian North.

His sms read : “We will be leaving for Canada later today. I just want thank you for everything! See you at the finals!”

“See me at the finals?”

What was he talking about? And in a moment, I realized what that text message meant. See you at the finals. See you at the end. See you in the kingdom, or better yet, since he doesn’t know when he will be able to see us, “see you in heaven” would be more appropriate.

I remember in 2004 after our graduation from the Haggai Institute in Singapore. We were saying our goodbyes right after the worship communion. In 3 hours, some of my newfound friends from all over the world were about to leave. I remember hearing these words many times as we hugged and bid our farewells… “See you on the other side of heaven….”

It seems that saying goodbye oftentimes feels incomplete. It does not convey much hope after the departure.

I liked how my friend said his.

To you Troy and Thess and your children, “See you at the finals!”

You woke up one beautiful morning and you noticed how awesome the sunrise was. The morning was cool and there was dew on the grass. The fog was slowly lifting up from the horizon. It was perfect. You could even hear the birds greeting you with their melodic voices. Ahhh what a beautiful morning.

Then suddenly, you remembered something. Something that was said about you in the office. Maybe you did not turn in the report on time. Maybe you remembered the argument you had with a friend. Or that long list of things-to do which to this day is still simply a list. Maybe you remember the bills were piling up. Or the thought of answering an email from a person you disagree with…

Then suddenly, the beautiful morning is gone. The peace and quiet were replaced by anxious thoughts that are becoming more regular than they had been in the past. The stillness of the morning was replaced by the erratic, toxic thoughts. That my friend, is the tyranny of intrusive thoughts.  You see nothing has changed, the morning is going on beautifully, but your mind has started to churn with its troubling and sometimes bitter thoughts.

It has been said that the power to master our thoughts is considered a moral victory.  Irrational thoughts are oftentimes the culprit in how we feel and how we look at our world.  These irrational thoughts are the foundational filters through which we process our thoughts and emotions.

For our well-being, it behooves all of us to discipline our thoughts. Just as a musician would practice for hours. Just an an athlete would prepare for a sports competition, the mastery of our thoughts would take concentrated efforts done many times.

How about you?  Are you suffering from the intrusion of irrational thoughts?  The Bible says we need to “cast down all imaginations” – which means to even surrender our thoughts to Christ. Snap out of the intruding thoughts in the beginning process.  Do not let it sit and be comfortable and have its unhindered access in your mental thoughts and processes.  We can redeem the control and master our thoughts as we bring every thought into captivity to Christ.

“For every virtue we possess,

And every victory won,

And every thought of holiness

Are His alone.” – devotional by Morrison ( Pocket Sword)

I pray that you would be free from the tyranny of intruding thoughts.

I was about to unlock the car doors for my wife and friend when my phone received an sms. “My flight schedule is on August 4th..” We were about to have a relaxing dinner (my wife and I with our good friend Tess) in Antonio’s Grill in Tagaytay, and somehow, the SMS surreptitiously invaded my private thoughts for the evening.

I remember weeks ago blogging about how I felt when my sister first informed me about her signing the contract to work overseas.

https://compassionateconsiderations.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/i-signed-the-contract/

It used to be an idea. It used to be an anticipated distant fact. But now, we are just counting the nights and for me, I am counting the sleepless nights as I ponder and pray for my sister and nephew.

On August 4th, my sister will be joining the more than 3,000 people who will leave for their overseas work. On August 4th, her son, my nephew Joseph, will be joining the millions of young people who have been physically “orphaned” because the parents need to work overseas to provide for the family.

My sister is going to Abu Dhabi, UAE. I googled the country for the first time – and because the website could not really tell how life is like over there for a non-national worker like her, there was nothing left to do but to agonize in prayer.

Becoming an OFW ( Overseas Filipino worker) would be for the most part, and for millions of my Filipino brothers and sisters would for the most part, be considered a great blessing. Money is expected to come in and with a much higher rate, it would be more than enough to provide for the college education and many needs for the family left behind ( GREED isn’t factored in the previous sentence.)

Under ideal circumstances, I would have also been delighted to see my sister go. But frankly, I wish there was another way for a single mom like her, to provide for her only child, Joseph.

I worry for them both. I worry for my 16-year old nephew who will suddenly be thrown into the world of harsher realities. Of being alone, coping alone in an environment where there is not much love that surrounds him at this critical stage in his life. I worry about other influences giving him time and affirmation. I think about those nights when he would be alone in his room trying his best to muffle his sobs. I think about the un-prepared breakfasts and the un-eaten dinners. Joseph would really need to grow up fast. At the age of 16, Joseph would be contending against something which I did not have to even face when I was his age – being physically “orphaned.”

What any young people need would be the Matthew 3:16 experience. To know that they belong somewhere, that they are loved, and that they are a source of significant pride. But I guess for millions of people in this country, those needs would need to give way to the fulfillment of the more basic survival needs: money for food, clothing and shelter.

I feel really sad about this exchange. Someone said “Money cannot buy happiness, but it certainly can buy some degree of freedom…”

But come to think of it, ” some degree of freedom is considered happiness” for millions of people around the world. Some degree of freedom, of not having to go to the Middle East, of not having to leave a son by himself, for me right now, for the most part, is happiness.

And then I started thinking of my sister Joy and how brave she has been. I have not known a braver soul after my mother’s heart. They are both alike in many ways – and it is quite sad to see their fragmented relationship, is still unable to move beyond the catalyst that shattered it in many ways. I cannot imagine what she is thinking and feeling right now as she takes care of the last minute details of her departure.

What thoughts come to her mind when she goes to bed. Does she count the nights and days with excitement or does she try to hide her tears and fears?

2:51AM Prayer for my sister Joy and only nephew, Joseph

Lord God, have mercy. I present my sister Joy to You. I know that you love her more than we ever could. Lord God, she is leaving for the Middle East to work so that she would be able to send Joseph to school and even afford him a college education starting next year. Being an OFW is already a common phenomenon here in the country Lord. But that may be so, but not in our family.

I cannot imagine that time would come when she would need to go Lord and brave it out there in a very foreign land. Lord forgive me when I get really anxious – but thousands of stories about abuse and threats to personal safety, would really make one count the cost. But many times Lord, we do not even have the luxury to count the cost because we are already bleeding from many sides.

Lord, protect my sister from harm. Protect her from evil-doers. Protect her from evil. Surround her with your peace and comfort on that particular day when she leaves the country. This is her first overseas trip – and I could only imagine a host of concern as I recall my first overseas trip. But the difference was, I was going not because of a financial need, whereas my sister is going to the Middle East for that.

Lord God, please honor her desire to provide for her son. This was not how you have designed families to be – and someday, all of these things will be reconciled back to you. Lord, there have been so many like my sister, who is braving the world out there for the sake of their children.

Remember them Lord.

Hear their cry.

See their afflictions.

And I pray for Joseph. I pray that you will comfort him as well. I pray that he will totally find you in the alone-ness he feels at the situation. Lord, my sister requested that I spend more time with Joseph so that he will not need to find an outlet for his frustrations and sadness. Lord, use me now to minister to my nephew, and where necessary, to become a loving source of paternal love. He has never known the love of a physical father and my heart is grieving that he will also be paying a personal, high non-financial cost for a brighter future. Protect him from the world. Protect him from the evil influence of this world. Give him the passion to seek YOU most of all. He is an “orphan” in the coming weeks and months and perhaps, years. Use us all Lord to surround him with your love.

When I look at him, I still remember vividly, the first time I saw him when I arrived from the US in 1994. I was too excited that I immediately kissed him and carried him. But it was too much for a 2-year old handsome nephew, and he cried and looked for his mom. I remember how he would drink his milk in regular intervals and I would ask him “are you drinking your beer?” and he would smile and nod at me. I remember the time inside the bus from Mindoro when he would look at me to check if I was sleeping or not, because he felt like throwing up, yet did not want his uncle to see. Or that night as we were being rocked by the huge waves crossing the Mindoro Straits and he was really afraid, and he turned to his mom sitting next to me and asked “Mommy, I am afraid, is it okay for me to cry?” I heard him asked that question and I immediately hugged him and said “sure, it is okay to cry…”

Lord, maybe he will do a lot of crying when his mom leaves. They may not be physical tears because many times, young people do their cries tear-lessly. Lord I pray that You will be His source of strength and comfort. Thank you for being the Father him and to us all.

Lord God, I surrender them to you. I love them both very much and I wish I could afford both of them a sense or degree of freedom. It breaks my heart that they will need to be separated because many times they feel, they only have each other. Let them know Lord, that they are included and loved and that You are fond of them as well.

Thank you Lord. I know you care for them. This may not be your design but you allowed it to happen. You are the sovereign God and Your hands are not limited by our circumstances. Thank you for taking care of them. I also ask for your provision of time, money and energy to become an influential mentor, friend and uncle to my nephew.

In your hands I surrender this prayer through the precious name of your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

A young friend took off for the United States today. His flight left at 10:30 AM today. I did not get to see him anymore the past couple of days as he was also busy getting his things prepared, being with his family and all the myriad things an overseas worker would need to consider.

I was really glad that he was able to come over and spend the night with us last month. He even cooked dinner at home. After dinner, we drove to a nearby Seattle’s Best for our one-on one, brother to brother talk. When he first got home, I was able to join him and other friends for a dinner. Well he privately sought me out because he needed to get something off his chest. And there at the Seattle’s Best, was our one and only opportunity to have that talk.

It lasted up to almost midnight. The coffee shop was already about to close, but the manager sensed the earnest private conversation taking place and was very careful not to interrupt.

He shared about the all too familiar difficulties of being away from home. Of going through homesickness and feelings of isolation. Of working so hard and wondering if in the end, it was all going to be worth it. We talked about his faith, his challenges, his misguided perception of God’s love for him, his plan to get married next year… it was a great time being with him. I took note of his need to read letters from home when he is far from the signals of any telecommunication networks.

He asked me a question that evening which stayed with me, and perhaps will be one of those questions that will stay for a long time. But this time, I knew the answer to his question. I suspect deep down, he knew the answer as well. But the circumstances in his life distracted him for the most part, in believing the answer to that. The answer to his question while easy to give, is quite challenging to live out. It takes faith. It takes dependence and it takes surrender for one to really experience the deepest grace from the question he asked.

Lord, take care of my younger brother as he set sail for another chapter in his life overseas. The challenges are many and the temptation to get distracted from his relationship with you would be constant. Embrace Him Lord and never let Him go. Remind him that He is your son and that You are fond of him. Protect him Lord from any accidents, any accusations or any untoward incidents that will negatively impact his work and his dreams. Bring my younger brother safely back to us next year. Bless the work of his hands. Thank you for his life. Thank you for his strong sense of responsibility which is becoming un-common among the younger generation. He is trying to live a selfless life for his mom and siblings and niece and nephew. People are counting and relying on him for their financial well-being. Bless his family through him.

Thank you for J.D. I am proud to be one of his mentors and older brothers. I look forward to his return. I entrust his safety and well-being in the hands of Jesus, who loves him more than any of us could.


In the precious name of Your Son,

AMEN