Saturday, February 13, 2010


November 17, 2009. Hubby was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Cancer of the nasopharynx, stage 3.

My comfortable world was suddenly turned upside down. I remember feeling so afraid, dazed, anxious, angry, confused, dreadful. There was so much pain inside of me. I had sleepless nights and nightmares. There seemed to be no end to my tears. For several nights in a row, I would always have these terrible dreams with a consistent theme - myself running along either a dimly-lit valley, or down through a dark tunnel with no light in sight, or a very dark forest being chased by who knows what. I was terribly hurting and desperate for help.

I realized all along that I was living an illusion, that life is at the tip of my fingers. That things would always be beautiful. I have been living the most comfortable and near perfect life. I felt so blessed in every imaginable way then.

Everything about me was shaken to the core. I was nothing but a broken soul, a lonely spirit desperate for help, and yet I felt help was too long in coming. Sure, I had my friends who prayed for me and comforted me. But I wanted somebody who would be there every minute of my waking hours.

And then she came into my life.

She arrived quietly I never noticed that she was there except when I opened my heart to her. She said that she was beside me all along, waiting for the perfect timing to introduce herself to me. I said I have known her long before, in fact, she had been the constant subject of my conversations with my friends during our regular sessions. But she said I have never really come to know her in the most meaningful and deepest way. Now was the time.

For the first time in my life, I came face to face with her, analyzed her, questioned her - upclose and very personal. Amazing but the more I searched for her, the more I longed for her presence. In moments I felt she was absent, I simply had to ask her to come and she would come. She told me all I needed to do was to trust. And to trust meant to rest, literally rest. I asked her to help me and she did. I don't know how she did it but she successfully propped me up, built me up inside, and strengthened me. She told me there was hope.

I started to take her seriously and really listened to what she was talking. As I did, I felt so relieved and comforted. But there was a part of me saying she was not giving the entire picture. It was all too good to be true. If she was lying, pain would be more unbearable the next time around.

But she - who had become my closest friend by then, my constant companion for 24 hours a day - kept drumming this powerful message into my heart - keep your hope alive! She reminded me that God has prepared me for this, and instructed me never never to forget the lessons I learned in the light now that I am in the dark.

I kept struggling with her though. One moment I was filled with hope, the next moment I was desperate. It was like a roller-coaster ride. But she did not give up on me. She held me when I was too afraid to move. She hugged when I needed the warmth of a friend. She kept saying - "I may be weak and hurting right now, but I will eventually become stronger and heal. That when I was ready to learn, teachers will appear. That in the darkest moment, the light is not long in coming".

Over the days, she had become my greatest ally and constant companion. With her help, I managed to silence the nagging fears and doubt pestering inside of me. And then one day, I just woke up to a kind of joy and peace in my heart, the kind that transcends all human understanding. I found strength I never knew possible.

Hubby is still undergoing through the cycles of chemotherapy and radiation sessions. And he's doing very very well, by the grace of God. Yes this is a tough time for the family, but I have not a single doubt in my heart that we will emerge victorious by the end of the road.

And all these because of my newfound friend. I cannot thank her enough for what she has done in my life. Miracle is not too strong a word for the connections that she has made, for the changes that have been made possible in my life. I see the greatest miracle unfolding before my very soul - the miracle of profound self-transformation.

By the way, I don't see my friend physically. She has no body, no form but her presence is very strong, and very real. Her name is FAITH.

Take this from me. If you're going through the same tough moment in your life, faith will be there when you hit bottom. And you'll know you've hit bottom when she appears. The serendipity is too wonderful and amazing to think that it was all a coincidence.


(Matthew 17:20 NKJV) Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

God in the midst of Suffering

Calamities one after the other. People dying. Suffering and Poverty. Man's inhumanity against man.

These have become part of our regular diet. These are not made-up stories in a horror flick, or magazine photos from faraway places. These are the grit and pain of life, upclose and very personal.

My teen-age kids are asking: Where is God in the midst of all these? If He had the power to instantly stop that typhoon or earthquake that claimed thousands of lives, why did He turn his back? If He loved his people, why didn't He spare them from suffering?

To such young minds, these are very unsettling questions. It is hard for them to reconcile the image of a loving God versus a God who allows his people to suffer. Why would, indeed, a loving God allow such horrible things to happen?

I don't want to wrap everything into a neat theological package and simply dismiss those questions as invalid. But I do know that our limited minds cannot possibly fathom the infinite wisdom of the Creator behind the universe. His thoughts are higher than ours, even if we're the most intelligent creature that ever roamed the planet. He knows the past, the present and the future.

Take note that I used the word "allow". God is not the author of all these horrible things. We are. The free will that God has given us included the possibility of sin within its own meaning. We live in a fallen world and whatever is happening around us is the consequence of our disobedience to God. We are greedy, stubborn and we are simply reaping the consequences of our action. We are self-destructing, to say the least.

But the good news is that God is sovereign and he is in control of everything, even if, on the surface, it doesn't appear that way. These "signs" as prophesied in the Bible, will come to pass. He will reclaim the earth and restore it to its full glory.

Truly, his wisdom vastly exceeds ours. All we have to do is simply trust that He knows best.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I woke up to a chilling news today. Typhoon (Ondoy) hit my home country (Philippines) in such rage and fury unequalled for the last several years. As of this writing, death toll is continually rising as rescuers began to reach submerged places, thousands more were rendered homeless and injured.

The images on tv and you tube were truly heart-wrenching: a couple whisked away by a sudden gush of water, a man desperately holding on to a coconut branch hanging loose from the trunk, cars tumbling against each other in the midst of the flood, rescuers braving the cold and the rains to bring people stranded in a roof down to a safer area, a mother and child walking from roof to roof, trying to maintain their balance lest they tumble towards the neck-deep waters below.

As I started watching the searing images, my vision started to blur and my lips became numb in anguish. My sister and her family live in Marikina – the city that was hardest hit by the typhoon. Fatalities continue to be reported round the clock. Since her place is located right in the middle of the city – I knew they could be right into the center of the flood. What if ......what if?

It is so debilitating to watch something happening right before your eyes but you are helpless to do anything about it. The feeling was beyond description –the knowledge that they are out there in the flood – helpless, hungry, cold – and there’s nothing I can do about it.

As usual, I had to turn to my greatest SOURCE of comfort, my greatest HELP in moments like this.

But even as I said my word of prayer, I wished I could go back to sleep and realize that this was all but a DREAM.