Andrew D.

my insights, instrospections, and inspirations

I’ve actually heard this song several times before, but I don’t think I’ve stopped to actually listen/read to the lyrics of this song. But sometime this past week, our worship leader Chad led us into this beautiful song during our Sunday devotional time, and wow — the lyrics are just so beautiful. It has honestly been stuck in my head all week long. It speaks to the gratefulness I feel right now, having gotten a powerful glimpse of God’s love after all that He has done this past week. So grateful. There are no words to quite describe it all. 

How do you explain
How do you describe
A love that goes from East to West
And runs as deep as it is wide
You know all our hopes
Lord, You know all our fears
And words cannot express the love we feel
But we long for You to hear

So listen to our hearts
Hear our spirits sing
A song of praise that flows
For those You have redeemed
And we use the words we know
To tell you what an awesome God You are
But when words are not enough
To tell You of our love
Just listen to our hearts

If words could fall like rain
From these lips of mine
And if I had a thousand years
I would still run out of time
So if You listen to my heart
Every beat will say
Thank you for the Life
Thank you for the Truth
Thank you for the Way

Faith is forged in the uncertainty.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

——

This song was the anthem of my summer last year. There was something about the lyrics of this song — the incredible imagery of Peter, called out by Jesus to walk upon water despite the fact that he doesn’t know whether anything will hold him up and keep him from sinking. That struggle for faith was so real for Peter — and it was so real for me as well. It was a hard summer. A summer of saying goodbye to my closest friends and church community. A summer of rejection after rejection, and feeling like God disappointed me. A summer of leaving behind everything I knew, and entering a city with which I had no attachment to. A summer where innocence was stolen from me, where I found myself unable to trust people like I used to be able to before.

That summer turned into a full year — countless job applications (and just as many rejections and/or no responses), new and unfamiliar church environment, building new relationships, and lots and lots of waiting.

Oh waiting. How I hate that term. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. There’s so much uncertainty, so many doubts, so many questions. It is during that time of waiting when my faith is battered by questions from my doubting heart. Is God really that faithful? Did God really say that? How long are you really going to wait? Did you really hear that, or did you hear wrong? Do you see everyone else around you are ‘successful now — and what about you? Do you see how your friends and family mocking at you?

I received news several days ago that my time of waiting has ended — at least as far as I know. God is indeed a faithful, amazing God! He knows what He is doing, and His timing is perfect.

But now looking back, I’m thankful for that time of patient waiting. Now that faith has become sight, the time to build my faith is over. You don’t need faith to know what is seen. But it is precisely when you don’t understand, when you don’t know, when you’re unsure and even at times doubt His promises, when you’re stepping into an ocean filled with uncertainties — it is during such circumstances that faith is needed built up. Faith is not forged when things are easy to grasp and certain; it forged in the uncertainties, in the doubts, in the questions, in the waiting.

Though I am certainly relieved that my time of waiting is over, I wished I had taken more advantage of that opportunity to build up faith. But I know that through it, I can truly say this: God can truly be trusted. And for that I’m forever grateful for the waiting.

The Good Samaritan

I consider myself a pretty nice, compassionate person. I care about people. I’m a pretty nice guy in general. Or so I thought.

And so whenever I read the story of the Good Samaritan, I’ve always assumed that when confronted with a similar situation, I’ll be like the Good Samaritan, who stopped to care for the person in need. Without a doubt. Or so I thought.

Why did the priest and the Levite simply walk past the wounded man by the side of the road? Certainly, there is a possibility that they were just cruel, mean people who don’t care about the hurting. But they know the Law, and there are Old Testament laws that talk about loving your neighbor and your enemies (Exodus 23:3-4, Leviticus 19:9-18 and 25:35-38 are just a few examples).

I propose this: the priest and the Levite were too busy and preoccupied by their plan and schedule, and they saw this person lying on the side of the road as a distraction and hindrance to what they had in mind. They were heading to Jerusalem! Perhaps they had things to attend to there. Perhaps they had places to go, people to minister to, and sacrifices to make.

The sad truth, though, is that they missed out on being God’s hands and feet to this poor man on the side of the road. Their preoccupation with their meetings, schedules, and plans hindered them from being used to minister to someone who needed an extension of God’s grace. 

—-

Recently, I was in Nashville for a fun weekend with a group of guys. It was supposed to be a good time of fellowshipping and enjoying each other’s company, while eating freaking delicious food, taking in the sights of the city, and getting to know one another better. [I fell in love with the city of Nashville during the course of several days — but that’s irrelevant to this post.]

In the afternoon, we were hanging around a park taking photos when a young man named M struck a conversation with us. He was carrying around a flag with a cannibis symbol on it. He approached us and asked where we were from, and provided us unsolicited recommendations about places to go in Nashville.

I’m sure this guy had no ill will towards us whatsoever. Perhaps he was just trying to be nice. But to me, this guy was an annoyance, a bothersome inconvenience in our packed plan. I had more places to visit, more photos to take, more places to go (like a bathroom and a water fountain, for example). 

My brother D saw it differently. He recognized it as an opportunity to share the Gospel. He eagerly engaged him in conversation and began to ask about his involvement with the legalization movement, with hopes of finding a hook through which he could share about Jesus. Not interested in this conversation and knowing that this was about to be a long, long exchange, I left to look for a bathroom and visited a nearby museum instead.

In hindsight, I missed an opportunity to partner in the work that God was doing. Even if I didn’t stick around to engage in the conversation, I could have at least interceded on D’s behalf, praying that God would empower him to speak God’s Word into M’s life. Instead, I mindlessly attended to my own affairs. In the meantime, D shared the Gospel to M and led him to recommit his life to Christ. In the middle of a random park in Nashville! Imagine that.

Oh yes, thank God that He redeemed the situation, because no one can thwart the plan He has. Yet still, I recognize now that I missed out on an opportunity to be used by God to minister to His people and to be His hands and feet to someone who needed to see His grace tangibly. My preoccupation with my neat little “schedule” hindered me from loving my neighbor as Jesus had called me to. I am exactly like the priest and the Levite, who saw unplanned ministry opportunities as bothersome to my packed schedule than as a tangible way to show God’s grace.

I need to learn what it looks like to truly be a Good Samaritan.

M & D in conversation (faces have been blurred to protect the identity of these brothers)

D - If you’re reading this, thanks for reminding me what it means to be a Good Samaritan. A crown is waiting for you! :D

Grad Night Testimony (2012)

A bunch of my friends graduating this year are writing their grad night testimonies right now. It made me go back and take a look at my own testimony I wrote 2 years ago. And especially for this particular season of my life right now, reading this tonight has encouraged me and reminded me of a lot of previous convictions God placed in my heart.

My name is Andrew Darmahkasih, and this is my testimony.

If I could summarize what God has taught me the past four years in one word, it’d be this: SURRENDER.

I came to Michigan kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to go to Michigan. Frankly, I thought I was better than Michigan. It didn’t help that I was an Ohio State fan. Truth be told, I was secretly rooting for the Buckeyes during the Ohio State game my freshman year.

I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life, my future, and my career. I was going to go into Michigan, graduate in 3 or 4 years, go immediately to a top-notch med school, and become a doctor in record time. I’ve always felt a call to do missions, but instead of accepting that call humbly, I justified my ambitions by saying that the faster I finish college, the quicker I’d be able to serve God as a medical missionary.

But God had other plans. He knew what He was doing, and He by His grace knew that had I been allowed to do things my way, I would have stolen the glory that rightfully belongs to Him. So He placed circumstances, challenges, difficulties, and trials my way, to break me of my pride and show me how much I needed to depend on Him. The breaking came in many ways. It came with the ankle injury I endured my freshman year, where I had to trust Him for my physical and financial provisions. It came with the falling grades and difficult classes. It came with struggles in my relationship with my parents. It came as I tried to juggle my involvement here at HMCC with school and family. It came through difficult conversations, sleepless nights, and heavy hearts.

Finally, God brought me to my knees. During the Congregational Revival this past January, I asked God in frustration, “What do you want to do with my life? Was I wrong all along about missions? Is medicine not for me? Why is my GPA sinking and my medical school plans closing? Have I been wrong all along?”

And in the quietness that followed, an unmistakable voice, “Andrew, I don’t want to send the smartest doctor. I want to send a surrendered life. Will you surrender your own agendas and your own plans to me?”

I guess that’s why God brought me to Michigan, to this church, to this community. He wanted to break me out of my own set agendas, to show me just how much greater His plans are for my life. Along the way, He has allowed me to interact with some of the best brothers and sisters I could have asked for.  Some opened their lives to me and faithfully advised and counseled me through the ups and downs of the past four years. Others have been my peers, buddies who have listened and prayed for me more times than I could count. Still others I have been given the privilege of discipling, not knowing that I would learn from them immeasurably more than they have learned from me.

But ultimately, He has shown me so much more of who He is. In Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” This is the call of being a disciple of Jesus. This Jesus – he is a God worth sacrificing my life for. He is my greatest treasure, my greatest hope, my Lord, and my Master.

Thank you.

  • PJ:

    Hi Andrew, what's the outcome?

  • Me:

    Oh, I'm waitlisted at [...]

  • PJ:

    God wants us to pray! Praise the Lord. :-)

  • What a perspective. Thankful for pastors and older mentors who remind me what it means to have faith in prayer.

More education?

The intro to an essay I just finished —

The world of the twenty-first century is drastically different than the world of centuries past. More information is being discovered daily because of groundbreaking research being done in laboratories across the globe. Information is being shared in a matter of milliseconds instead of days or weeks. Opportunities for education—at least in theory—are far greater than they have ever been. And education attainment has never been higher; according to a recent New York Times article, more than 30% of American adults hold bachelor’s degree, the highest in this nation’s history.

Yet more education has not translated to less problems. In the healthcare industry alone, despite the advancement of medicine as a field and that more is known about public health today than ever before, healthcare disparities remain alarmingly high. The poorest members of society are still often left without access to affordable, quality care. When they finally do require medical assistance, most of them end up in emergency rooms for conditions that could be better managed—and more cost-effective—if they had received adequate medical care earlier.

I am not claiming that education or its attainment is not important. But more important than education earned is education applied. Our world does not need more smart people with degrees after their names, but rather, smart people whose hearts are moved by the brokenness they see around them and see opportunities for change. People who understand that, having been entrusted with knowledge and education, impacting the world, serving those in need, and leading others to do the same are important parts of their calling.

In essence, I must use my talents to bring glory to God. 

I need His freedom to set me free from chains of sin.
I need His wisdom to make righteous decisions.
I need His power to enable me to obey and remain faithful.
I need His strength to lift me up when I feel weak.
I need His grace to cover me when I fail.
I need His wholeness to overcome my brokenness.



I need Him, every moment of every day. Oh, may I never forget that.

I’m sorry.

I had a friend who was in my graduating class throughout junior high and high school. “Friend” is maybe a poor choice of words to describe our relationship. “Classmate” is perhaps more fitting, or even, “acquaintance,” at best. We took some classes together, but we generally had different circles of friends. And quite frankly, we couldn’t stand one another. We both had different personalities, ideologies, and beliefs. To me, she came across as annoying and prideful — and I’m sure that’s how she viewed me as well. I remembered at a gathering where our parents met, and her mother said to my father, “Oh, you’re Andrew’s dad? My daughter can’t stand him.” This pretty much summarized our relationship.

This translated into the way we communicated our faith as well. She flatly rejected anything about Christ, and since the Christ I portrayed in those days was one of legalism, judgment, and hypocrisy, I probably (directly or indirectly) contributed to her antagonistic attitude about Jesus.

Fast forward a few years. Both of us went to college, and beyond being Facebook friends, we didn’t bother keeping in touch. I have certainly grown spiritually in a lot of respect over the past years — and apparently, so has she. Imagine my shock when I found out that somehow, some way, this person has placed her faith in Christ, and living out this faith vibrantly! Is this even the same person I knew then?

This humbled me. God is really able to save anyone. And I am not in a position to ever write off anyone, because no one is beyond Jesus’ long arms of grace. But more than that, it reminds me why the God I serve is so awesome and so much bigger than I can comprehend. That He would redeem His people for His glory — regardless of this broken relationship! — He is truly an amazing God.

So in the off-chance that this person is reading this: I’m sorry for having judged you, for failing to portray Christ correctly, and for being a general jerk during those years. Yet I’m so thankful that we are not just “friends” or “acquaintances” anymore — we are family now, together in Christ.

The Forgotten Sycamore Tree

So he [Zacchaeus] ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him [Jesus], for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:4-5)

For some odd reason, this passage jumped at me this morning. The story of Zacchaeus usually focuses on his interaction with him and Jesus, and how Zacchaeus repented of his sins in light of what Jesus has done for him. But this trivial sycamore tree plays a not-so-trivial role in Zacchaeus’s salvation: he climbed onto this tree to get a glimpse of Jesus, and it is at this tree where Jesus first asked to stay at his house.

What a privilege it is to be that sycamore tree! What an honor! That upon my shoulders, people would be able to get a better glimpse of Jesus! That through me, people would encounter Jesus personally and receive their calling! No, the story is not about the tree — it’s probably long gone and forgotten now — and rightly so, because the story is about Jesus. Isn’t that what really matters in the end after all?

Paul understood this clearly. He understood that his calling, sacrifice, and message are ultimately not about him at all: “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor 4:7)

Make me a sycamore tree, that through me others may catch a glimpse of Jesus and encounter Him in a real and personal way.