The other day, a friend from the Philippines shared a photo with the caption, “Happy ‘2nd’ life 2nd anniv!” with me and two other friends. It was a photo of two bottles of vodka taken three years ago when the four of us and their significant others went to a club to celebrate my birthday in advance.
My initial reaction was short of disgust towards myself as if someone was airing out my dirty laundry. It was a record of a really dark and low point in my life. But then it also reminded me of a miracle that happened the morning after a night of partying.
The original plan was to drive to the nearest 24-hour open Starbucks to pass the time while we wait for the alcohol to come down. But then someone suggested to drive from Taguig to Tagaytay and have some bulalo. I remember being not quite excited about the idea but everyone else agreed so I didn’t say anything. We stopped over a gas station somewhere in SLEX to take a bathroom break and then after that we went on our way.
Somehow I fell asleep in the backseat after that and the next thing I remember was hearing my friend in the passenger seat screaming at her husband because we had hit a jeepney from the opposite lane. Until now I remember smelling the stale smell of blood before I even opened my eyes when I heard her scream. And it didn’t help that when I opened my eyes, I saw that windows on the left side of the car were completely shattered. Another friend, sitting to my left also woke up, and in a panicked voice I asked if anyone was hurt at all. Thankfully, we were all uninjured, but not anyone of us remembered how or why we hit the jeepney.
To this day, we’re all still amazed at how we got out of that without any injuries. We were irresponsible and reckless and yet we were all spared. We might still joke and laugh about it now in some kind of dark humor with that near miss but now that I think about it, it is a happy second life.
It might still have taken me a few months after that miracle before I recognized Who was in control of that situation, but that’s the thing about Perfect Love. It is patient and kind. It is not self-seeking, nor easily angered. Neither does it keep any record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
He never stopped loving me, even when I couldn’t hear His voice anymore. Even when I was 10,000 feet under the grave that I buried myself in, He still pulled me out of it, cleaned me up, and dressed me like royalty.
There’s a message I’d like to share from one of my devotionals this week and it’s from Prayers on Fire by The Passion Translation:
God, now that I’m old and gray, don’t walk away.
Give me grace to demonstrate to the next generation
all your mighty miracles and your excitement
to show them your magnificent power!
Your faithfulness has been the theme of my life. From the time I was little, you’ve been with me. Your love has sustained me, even in my darkest valleys. Your arms have held me when I clung to you for dear life. Even now, I hide myself in you, knowing you are the only safe place.
Thank you for the countless times you’ve been there for me. Without you, I would not have made it on this journey. I praise you for all you’ve done and all you will continue to do. Lord, stay close to me as I grow old and gray. Don’t let me become feeble. Revive me. Anoint me to share what I know with this generation, so they will know that you and you alone are perfect—the only miracle-working God.
There’s a harp in my heart and it flows with the melodies of love to you.
You wouldn’t be reading this if He had not saved me. And everything I speak out now, it’s all from the outpouring of His love as He opened heaven for me. His relentless pursuit opened up a whole new world I never knew was right here, in this very moment, and is as tangible as could be. Despite my nonchalance and ignorance, He remained faithful in His love. And that same exact measure of love is available to you. The only question is, will you receive it?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
At that cross, on a hill, Jesus died so we could have our eternal life.
And so today, on my birthday, I celebrate that gift of life that He blessed me with three years ago when I was not even worthy to be looked upon so graciously and so lovingly as He did. May this testimony be an encouragement and prophesy over your life! I pray that God will give you fresh revelations and promises through His Spirit and in His Word.