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!