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NO TIME, NO TIME...By Russ B. del Castillo

The Lord had been knocking at his heart's door for 18 long years, but he had been hurt enough to recognize His gentle hand, so he kept the door tightly locked.

I know someone who, for the past 18 years, had put off letting the Lord enter his heart. It was because he had thought that perhaps He was too busy helping other people that He had forgotten one son - one good son at that - who had needed him most at one particular time. He had prayed earnestly for his father's recovery from a heart attach, but He who had said: "Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." (Isaiah 65:24) answered with death. That shook the very foundations of this young man's faith.

He had altogether stopped praying, for he felt that it falls on deaf ears, anyway. He stopped doing good, for he believed that those who do good get the wrong rewards in this cruel world, anyway. He stopped believing, for there is nothing for him to believe anymore, anyway. For where was He who had said: "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7) when he needed Him most? He was out of sight. He was nowhere to be found.

His hands were already callused from knocking...his vision already blurred from too much seeking...his voice already hoarse and inaudible from repetitively asking...but "No Answer" was the final answer of the One who had said: "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." (Psalms 50:15) So he had to struggle - most of the time with himself - for the past 18 years just to survive the hardships and rigors that life has offered him. He was aware he was raw, but he banked on sheer talent and hard work to worm past that handicap, and hurdle the obstacles one by one. It was indeed a difficult and arduous climb, but he made it. He made it big!

That strengthened his belief and resolve that a man holds his destiny even without outside, if not divine help. He has name, fame and everything that went with them. He was proud of his achievements. He had survived where others had miserably failed...even when they had prayed so hard to reach where they intended to go. He was no longer afraid of what the future holds for him. He is a survivor. He will work out his own future...alone.

No doubt, he could have been the envy of those who wanted to be in his place and enjoy the perks that he has. Perhaps, even from within our midst, we ache to have the same fortune he has, maybe even willing to dethrone him from the seat he occupies.

But I bet he will gladly give you the whole of his heart for just a piece of yours...even without him giving it a second thought.

For beneath the contagious smiles and boisterous laughs, underneath the fame and wild applause, and underside the gold and silver that adorned his body, was the emptiness and bitterness that enveloped his heart. He was a very lonely man. He cries in the dead of the night...he bereaves the predicament that he was in...he continues to weep for the loss of his dad that had shattered his delicate heart, and his faith in the One who had said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). He had no peace even with all the material things he wallows from. He had no peace of mind.

But he is a smart man. He knows what to do to regain the happiness that he once enjoyed. He has to open the door that had been clacking for almost half of his existence. The bolts are rusty, the locks stuck, the keys dilapidated and no longer fit, but the Lord gave him a master key that eventually opened the vaults of faith inside his heart. Now, he is a happier man.

Gone was the bitterness that was trapped inside of him for too long. Swept was the emptiness that flowed in his veins for what seemed like eternity. Freed was his heart that had been incarcerated for what felt like eons. He is now a new man, a soul reborn in the goodness of the Lord.

And to seal his covenant with the One who had said: "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39), he was baptized by Pastor Arnulfo N. Castillo on April 7. 2001.

Thank you Lord for accepting me despite my misgivings and even when at one point in time I had turned my back on you. Your will be done.

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