When it rains, it pours. So just wait.

Tonight I went home slightly drenched with rainwater but soaking with an important lesson in life.

I walk a good half kilometer from my office to the train station. On normal occassions, I go home around 5:00, but tonight I had to stay back to work on my quickly growing to-do list. It was already dark, which was a first for me, I’m not used to having the sunlight escort me home.

As I made it halfway through my usual walk path, I felt a drop of water hit my face. I thought it was just the corner cafe’s exhaust system playing up so I carried on with not much of a hurry. A couple of steps later, I felt another drop, this time much bigger than the first, and then another. Because the sky was already dark, I couldn’t really tell if it was going to rain or if my mind was just tired from the day’s work.

Just when I thought that I was only imagining things, down came a sudden, heavy rain. Thankfully, I happened to be passing by a covered garage door where I immediately took shelter.

Moments passed and I was still standing there, waiting for the rain to stop. I knew I should have brought my umbrella with me.

So I waited for another five minutes, and then another… but the rain did not show any sign of surrender. And so with faith as bold as my urge to get home soon, I prayed for the rain to stop.

In an instant, the once raging downpour had become more gentle (God’s miracles are real!). Immediately I knew that I had to run, otherwise the rain might get stronger again. So I sprinted my way to the train station.

I was running so fast that I stepped on a deep puddle of water and soaked my leather shoes and pants. The rain was still gently pouring so my suit and bag were also starting to get drenched. “This is still better than battling through that really heavy downpour,” I kept convincing myself.

When I got to the train station, the rain had completely stopped. And it didn’t rain for another ten minutes. I felt that God was telling me, “You asked for Me to stop the rain, so I did. But you were expecting less than a miracle, so you have not fully received my blessing when it happened”.

Indeed, I could have waited for another couple of minutes until the rain had stopped completely, walked slowly as I would have on rainless weather, and arrived at the station completely dry. But my stubbornness had caused me to grab the early signs of the miracle as if it was the miracle, and tried to help God answer my prayer. Today I realised that it doesn’t work that way. Because when we ask for a miracle, we have to believe that there will be a miracle, not just a coincidence or an opportunity that we take advantage of.

“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” -Exodus 14:16

Like Moses, we all should do our part and believe that our prayers will be answered. But as God instructed him to wait and see the miracle unfold, we also should wait in anticipation of what is to come. Because if we try and pre-empt the miracle, we only get to enjoy its build-up, and miss the entire thing when it actually happens. Imagine the Israelites grabbing their duckie floaters and trying to float through the sea as it parted, it would have been a funny scene.

I could have gone home completely dry, if only I fully trusted that He will do what He says He will do. And He doesn’t need my help to make that happen!

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This for me is Resurrection

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It was the 7th of December 2014 when I received a call from my sister, a call that heralded my three-day journey of hope, faith, and restoration.

Having been roused from a much needed afternoon nap, I wasn’t in my best mood. Not in her usual condescending tone, she told me that papa was rushed to the hospital after he collapsed while Christmas shopping with my mom and sister; strong as I’ve always remembered him to be, he managed to get up and drove himself to the hospital. The doctors eventually found out that he had a massive heart attack and needed to undergo a major operation. The surgery was successful but the next 48 hours were going to be critical for complete recovery. Needless to be said, I felt that the world was slowly crumbling away at my feet. 

The first two days have been overclouded by anxiousness, worries, and sleeplessness. I was calling my mom and sister every half an hour to ask how papa was doing; I found myself waking up in regular intervals through the night thinking about him, dreadfully worried. I also had to take time off my work as I couldn’t get my mind to focus on anything else but on papa’s condition.

On the third day, he managed to speak to us. He said, “Buhay pa ako!” (I’m still alive!). My ate and I were both gleeful to have finally heard his voice. Hope welled up inside of me as I looked forward to flying back to the Philippines to see and care for him again. Knowing that my dad was already in a stable condition, I went to the gym hoping to pump in some much needed adrenalin. A quick half-hour later, I came back to my sister’s apartment gave our mom another phone call. She answered with a hysterical weeping and screaming. And that was when the event spiralled down to its most sombre state… My dad had another cardiac arrest, from which he was unable to recover.

He passed away. I was shocked. I was drained. I was petrified. My entire awareness had frozen to a point where all I could think of was, “Why now? Why him? Why this?”

Fast forward four months, I find myself still missing my dad. I grieved so much I could not even begin to count exactly how many times I cried, and when those times were: regretting that it could have been the first time that all of us would be spending Christmas together after five long years, remembering all the familiar things and traits that he and I shared, seeing the places where we both created wonderful memories, reflecting on the words of wisdom that he spoke to me as I was growing up, and missing the love that he sacrificially gave us so we can become who we are now. My dad is a true hero.

But above all these, I look back at the overwhelming amount of grace and love that my family and I received from our Heavenly Father, from Jesus, from the Holy Spirit. And from everyone whom God has sent to give us comfort through that period of great mourning. I have proven that it is when we are at our lowest point that we truly know and experience long, how high, how deep, and how wide His love for us is (Eph 3:18). I have seen with my own eyes how God has sent tangible and real miracles through our ordeal, which has enabled us to move forward with true confidence and hope (Mat 5:4).

Today, as we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, I know and believe that revival is REAL.
I know and believe that His grace is more than sufficient to take us through the darkest valleys onto the brightest mountains (Col 1:13).
I know and believe that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut 31:6).
I know and believe that only when we are pruned (sometimes by life’s toughest events) do we truly grow to become more and more like Him (John 15:2).
I know and believe that His promises will come to pass no matter what how dark our situation may be (Jer 29:11).
I know and believe that we are taken to the desert and back so we are able to help others endure through the same journey triumphantly (Romans 5:3).

But more than anything, I know and believe that Jesus has suffered, died, and resurrected so we can all live with Him for eternity – where I can once again see and be with my dad (John 3:16). 

This for me is Resurrection. On the third day, my dad may have passed away on to the next life (that is eternal), but God has given birth to a hope within me (and my family) that is much stronger than whatever we have felt before. Jesus has revived something in us that have been kept dormant for long: our full trust and surrender to His will and assurance that He is in control over everything.

I still miss papa. But I will always rejoice in the glory and majesty that God promises to those who believe Him – an eternity where there is no longer any suffering, tears, or death (Rev 21:4). We will be together, and there won’t be any more goodbyes.

Happy Ressurection day to everyone!

Jesus is risen and HE reigns forevermore!