Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank you for coming, Basyang!

Thank you for coming, Basyang*!

I was quite surprised that in your old age, you've managed to hit our country hard. Most of us felt the painful slap, you aimed right in the eye of Metro Manila. And you know, we had to undergo a 24-hour massive blackout because of you. I was left with nothing much to tinker. No laptop (no power source), no journal projects (holding a needle is pretty scary in the dark), no TV, no DVD (usually this is my last resort if I'm bored), no phone.

What I had with me the whole evening were simply these five things: my cellphone with a half-full/half-empty batt and a flickering signal, a handheld eco-friendly manual flashlight, a Bible, my journal and an MP3 player with a little over 10 songs only. For six hours they kept me company and surprisingly I was not able to feel even an ounce of discomfort, boredom or anxiety.

During the dark, eerie night, I got to think and reflect. I realized that blackouts can be God's way of stripping off technology and plenty of other distractions (i.e. primetime telenobela, american series) so we may have one-on-one talk with Him, which is kinda long overdue.

First, I remembered Mr. Ondoy.

Mr. Ondoy was the country's crazy, unimaginable visitor last September. He swamped our houses with his abundant flow of muddy waters, he even reached the third floor in some homes. He also dragged and killed some people downtown near the riverbank. I've become more fearful with rains and typhoon news because of him. Unlike a decade ago, I would get all excited for rain. I'd sit in front of the TV all night long and watch the boring news channel just to hear these two lovely words, "No classes."

Typhoons were mere winds in the past. Everything is different now. Typhoons are becoming bigger, stronger and angrier.

I stumbled upon this chapter. It couldn't be any timelier.

God is our refuge and strength
Our ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way,
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
and the mountains quake in their surging.

According to hearsay, there will be more typhoons coming this year and some will probably be worse than Ondoy. I couldn't believe that Basyang, one of the first comers, was already that strong. Her winds were so fierce that I thought our glass windows would crack last night. I'm just grateful that we have God who is our refuge, our strength and our hiding place in times of disaster.

I can't imagine how mountains can "fall into the heart of the sea," I presume that it's something worse than the China and Haiti earthquakes and the tsunami in Thailand. Thus, until the time that mountains crumble and the earth melts away, we need not be afraid. Why?

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Take note of the drastic contrasting scenes. Compared to the roaring seas and quaking land, God is in a river with peaceful streams. There we are invited. If you read on chapter 46 of Psalms, you'd see that more than the terrifying natural disasters, there would be tragic wars as well. And since God is the greatest and most powerful of all, in one word or mere breathe, He can cut swords, burn shields and melt the whole earth. Powerful, huh? So if ever we experience greater tragedies, remember...

1. To be still. There are several situations that are out of our control which God uses to exalt His name.

Be still...

2. To know our position. As we come before Him, we should acknowledge that He is our Lord and we are His people. Another realization I had awhile ago was that many of our prayers have been asking God to show us His will for us. I know there's nothing wrong with that. But if we want to know "our MISSION" more than "our GOD" then that's, hmm..., odd. We lose sight of who God is. We become more focused on what we, and not what God, can do. Oftentimes, we fail to see what God wants us to do (the reason why we keep asking for God's will) because we fail to know who God is.

... and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

3. To rest in Him. When we are in His favor, we can hide in the shadows of His wings and as a loving Father, He can and will protect us.

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

*Basyang is the second typhoon that hit the Philippines in 2010. The typhoon Basyang was named after Lola Basyang, a storyteller, created by a talented Filipino writer named Severino Reyes.

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