Graduation

Last week, September 23rd was my graduation (yay!), an end to a four-year journey. Previously I wrote about the early days of my university life with all the bumps, the days of spending a semester in Germany, and I think it’s only fair to write one more as my days of learning came to an end.

For the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on everything that, by God’s grace, I’d been enabled to do and found myself keep adding to what an already long list.

I was only reminded to do so a couple days ago as I was in a car and passed through a road that was oddly familiar — one filled with memories of laughter, traffic jam, and utter fatigue. I realized that it was the usual route I took on my way from the office to my dorm during my internship days, more than two and a half years ago.

It was as if the traffic, the skyscrapers, and the bright lights then brought me back to those times.

One thing came to mind: God’s good.

As I relived what used to be my regular commute, I couldn’t help but think how He’s been faithful; how I could finally end up here, writing these words to you. I realized how even in those seemingly regular days, things beyond my comprehension are about to come to pass.

Without that internship, I would not be introduced to a lecturer who really inspired me and ended up guiding me in doing my thesis work.

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Without that internship, my semester in Germany would look completely different.

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Without that internship, I would not meet someone who graciously invited me to church and finally get baptized.

Baptism

What seemed to be a mere necessity for my study turned out to be something else entirely — to which I could do nothing but be humbled as I praise Him for His goodness.

And oh what a joy it was to have my parents pleased, seeing that their hard work is not in vain.

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And how thankful I was that I was mentioned as one of the best graduates.

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Oh these things are none of my doing, indeed.

What Now?

One of the reasons why I decided to write this blogpost is that I need a reminder similar to those times — moments when I was still studying, anxious about the upcoming internship abroad, swamped with the never-ending schoolwork — with the hope that, God willing, if I’m given the privilege to do even more, I could see that even in moments that I perhaps see as dull, God remains sovereign, and His perfect will shall come to pass.

The Bible writes that He shall do everything He pleases (Psalm 115:3), that nothing shall thwart His plan. And that His will far outweighs ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), His will is perfect, and that everything is done for His glory and our ultimate good. May we hold these truths closely in our hearts.

May in times of uncertainty we may be reminded of one unchangeable truth, fixing our eyes on Christ who at the right time died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6), accomplishing the will of the Father (Isaiah 53:10). May we remember that even in times of our suffering He remains close, for He was once clothed with the similar frail flesh and bones as we do (Hebrews 4:15), to be tortured with the worst punishment imaginable, died and rose victoriously that we may see that He is the only Way of life and there is nothing to fear in death. And that He encouraged us that we may take heart, seeing that He had overcome the world (John 16:33).

May we see that there is nothing in this world to boast in but Christ, for everything is from Him and to Him alone.

In times of despair and joy, may we draw near the all-sufficient Christ, and by His grace be strengthened to say with Paul, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Philipians 1:21)

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

— My Worth is Not in What I Own (Keith & Kristyn Getty)

 

 

 

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Reflections on Baptism

Yesterday, July 15th 2017 was the day of my baptism after years of embracing the Christian faith. I personally never thought that day would never come, to have fellow families and friends showing their support by witnessing this moment.

Looking back, years prior I was still reading my Bible in secret, fearing if my family were to find out. The Bibld was a NKJV New Testament Gideon Bible, with a two-column side-to-side translation in Indonesian language. I would normally read before sleep, illuminated with a night lamp with yellowish hue placed above my bed. I would place the Bible beside my head pillow, start reading, and put it there for the rest of the night after I had finished. This fear-induced nighttime ritual was really challenging, and now that I think about it, was quite silly. Despite my own anxieties at that time – which were immense – it is not right to fear for my family to find out that I was practicing the Christian faith. As a matter of fact, I think my fear at that time was the fear of shame – one of the worst kind of fear.

To finally have the same people I once feared for expressing my beliefs coming to my baptism was beyond words. For years I thought that they were the problem, while it had actually been me. It felt easy to position myself as a victim, to feel self-righteous, for I was the only Christian in my household. But the problem had actually been shame – ashamed of embraching the gospel of Christ – making it even a worse kind of fear. But perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), and this perfect love is shown in Christ.

The desire to be baptized had been there ever since the moment I read the Bible for myself. At that time, however, I thought of being baptized as nothing more of a commitment, as if I have something to prove. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with a commitment that comes from a pure heart, my desire, on the other hand was self-centered and was highly contrary to God’s Word.

According to the Scripture, baptism is a symbol of “having been buried in him … you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God” (Colossians 2:12). It is also written, “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;” (2 Timothy 2:11). Baptism glorifies Christ, that we may boast in His death and resurrection, in which all our hope rests. The death and the resurrection of Christ – the gospel – is our sure foundation (1 Corinthians 15:14). If baptism was the proclamation of our self-sufficiency, it would diminish the glory of Christ, the very thing that awakens our heart to the incomprehensible beauty of God.

Therefore baptism is more than a personal commitment, but a proclamation of the glory of God, an expression of faith that relies solely on God’s grace. The baptism is a one-time event, as Christ had died and rose once and for all, that we may be set free from the enslavement of sin, and live eternally with Him, in whose presence is the fullness of joy.

I could have seen baptism as the proclamation of the confidence that was similar to Peter’s just before he was about to deny knowing Christ three times (Luke 21:33). But may our confidence rest in the finished work of Christ instead, and in Him who intercedes for us (John 17), as He also prayed for Peter lest his faith fails (Luke 22:31).

My journey towards this moment hadn’t been a smooth sail. In the past there had been countless moment of unbelief and constant failure. Yet God’s faithfulness prevails, for “if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13). It is Him who works within us and it is His righteousness that is imputed to us, so that all may be made right as we know our place as His creations, and worship Him as Our Creator, forever.

Baptism screams nothing but God’s faithfulness over people who least deserve it; it screams nothing but God’s grace. May this hymn be our daily prayer,

“My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.”

Amen.

Baptism

Yet Another Thoughts on Grace

The concept of God’s grace had always been strange for me. I struggled a lot trying to understand how God can graciously give salvation for us, the fallen beings, through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. What’s the catch? In those times of confusion, I could do nothing but hope that my heart can be enlightened.

I think God answered my prayer through a road incident.

About a year ago, as I was driving, I suddenly felt like I had  just bumped into something. I backed up the car and saw a motorcycle tipped over on the road and 2 boys laying down beside it. Oh the panic.

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