The Hidden Message

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Chalkboard

Our Editor Rachel T. shares an Easter weekend story of how God reminded her almost two decades later of a message He hid for her in her grandmother’s last written words.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

It is the Easter weekend, and I woke up today wanting to write a post on Facebook about what Jesus did for us on the cross.  When I started writing on my Facebook status, God suddenly brought the verse above in Galatians to my mind.  And like in a whirlwind, I was taken down memory lane to a place that I have seemingly forgotten – My grandma’s home.

If you know me well or if you read my testimony from a few years ago in Hong Kong, you would know that my grandma meant so much to me.  You can read the story here: http://hk.ourwitness.com/2010/12/14/all-i-want-for-christmas/

Growing up, I spent a lot of my time at my grandma’s home because I found that she and her home had a very calming effect on me.  Her home was like a shelter from my own home. It also helped that she was a complete angel to me who would knit, cook, babysit, write beautiful calligraphy, read much more than I do now and tell bible stories to children.

It was very difficult for my family and I when her cancer came back the second time. After her first triumph over cancer, she was as healthy as can be and was always taking long walks in the park. But one day, she felt excruciating pain and we had to rush her to the hospital. After putting up a good fight, she went to be with God.

It took me quite a long time before I could bring myself back to my grandma’s home. When my mother asked me to help her pack up grandma’s belongings, I finally went back to her home.  It was a place that once made me feel safe, but after her passing, it only reminded me of my loss.

As we were packing, I noticed her writing on the chalkboard and although I could not read the Chinese characters, I found them so beautiful. I wanted so much to know what the words meant because they were the last thing my grandmother had written before she was rushed to the hospital.  It was the last piece of her that I could hold on to. I desperately asked someone to translate it only to find out that it was the verse above in Galatians 2:20.  I wrote the verse down in English on a piece of paper and went to a room alone.

In the room, I held on to that piece of paper so tightly as I wept bitterly because the verse began with, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” To me back then, it was like my grandma could sense her own death even though the cancer had came back so suddenly. There was also a sense of relief in that she said that she is crucified with Christ now, and I thought that she was sending us some kind of last message. I was just a kid who was not a believer back then so I did not know that it was from her daily devotional, and I didn’t understand what the verse meant.

This morning, I realized that although I have been a Christian for more than a decade, I have never stopped to really read that verse again.  Every time I saw Galatians 2:20 in the bible, I would quickly glance at it or try to skip over it. Perhaps subconsciously, I feared that reading it might bring me back to that dark place, the memory of losing my wonderful grandma.  Whenever I would get to that verse, I would just stop reading and pray for God to take care of her in Heaven.

Today, for some reason I felt that God really wanted me to read and study that verse  again, and so I did, for the first time in almost 20 years. As I read it, tears started rolling down my cheeks.  It spoke deep to my heart because I realize that I am now trying to live the life that my grandma was living.  And it’s a life of faith that takes dying to yourself, something we can only do because someone already died for us.

Just like the verse says, since I have found Christ, I learn everyday to die to my own selfish wants, my pride and my dreams. Instead, I experienced true sacrificial love, I learned compassion and how to put the needs of others before my own, and I am developing trust in God that His plans are better than my dreams.  As a kid I adored my grandma, but now, as a woman who loves God herself, I can finally understand her.

Today, reading that verse, thinking about the way she lived her life, and how it has shaped mine, I felt so close to my grandma that it was almost as if I could hold on to her reaching hand. It is very hard to explain, but I felt her love and God’s presence with me this morning.

I also cried because I realize that I am trying to walk down the same path as my grandma – to live a life that glorifies God.  It is definitely not easy but I would never choose differently for myself. I smiled and thought, ‘If my grandma could live the consecrated life as it’s written in the verse, I could too because I am my grandma’s granddaughter. I can hold my head up high and walk down the same path with confidence and faith.  And I feel like that verse on her chalkboard has been proclaimed over my life all these years as I have grown to know Jesus more.

It is so comforting to know that God has everything planned out for my life and that He has been leaving me hidden messages to discover one by one.  Some I’ve understood right away, others took years.  And what I’ve learned from how He speaks is that I don’t have to be anxious or to fear, because even if I don’t understand something now, He will reveal it to me in His perfect timing.

Image Credit: kbreenbo

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