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God and suffering

Hmm. Medyo uneasy ako kapag ito yung topic sa radyo tapos sabay kaming nakikinig ni Papa.

“Hindi ganyan yung Diyos na kilala ko” yan ang madalas niyang komento. “Sige nga, paano mo sasabihin sa isang maton na nakapatay na pagsubok lang yan para matuto siya kung hindi naman niya alam na dapat pala siyang magsisi kasi wala namang nagturo sa kanya….”

something ganun yung mga sinasabi niya

Sabi ni Ate Mai, ang sabi raw ng titser niya noon, God speaks in different ways. Kahit through nature.

Sabi ni Papa, language na raw yan ng nakakakilala na sa Diyos.

 

Haay. Napapaisip tuloy ako. Sabi sa Romans 5:3-5,

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Ayaw ni Papa yung idea na ang dahilan ng suffering ay para subukin tayo o para may matutunan tayo. Hindi raw ganun ang Diyos na nakilala niya. Well, totoo naman na hindi tayo sinusubok ng Diyos, pero hinahayaan niyang mangyari sa atin yun. Bakit? Hmm.

Ang sabi naman sa Bible, lahat ng pagsubok na hinaharap natin ay pinagdaanan na rin ng ibang tao sa ibang dako ng mundo. Wag tayong panghinaan, kasi sa panahon ng pagsubok ang Diyos ang magbibigay sa atin ng kalakasan para mapagtagumpayan iyon.

How can a good God tolerate evil? Why does He allow bad things to happen?

Isa itong tanong sa Discovery Meeting nung first year college ako. Ang sagot: Because God sees the bigger picture.

..

Mahirap tanggapin kung hindi tayo nagtitiwala sa mga plano ng Diyos. Haay.

Pero sa totoo lang, devastating naman kasi talaga yung nangyari sa Visayas. Bakit niya hinayaang mangyari yun sa lugar na iyon? Para matuto sila? Well, agree ako sa ilang nagsasabi na isa yung panawagan para muling itiwala sa Diyos ang buong buhay natin. Pero lagi at lagi, nung mga panahong iyon, kahit mga pastor ay nagtatanong. At pagkatapos ng sermon, ang sagot: Hindi ko alam. Walang makapagsasabi kung ano ang eksaktong dahilan bakit nangyari yun sa Visayas. Ang Diyos lang ang nakakaalam. God sees the bigger picture. Alam niya ang nangyayari. God is in control. Haay.

Tiwala. Yun talaga ang big word dito e. Tiwala sa Diyos. Na kontrolado niya ang sitwasyon.

 

Nabasa ko ito kanina: sa John 9

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Madalas iniisip natin na ang suffering ay dahil sa sin ng tao. Hmm, well totoo namang may consequences ang sin. Pero hindi siguro lahat ng suffering ay dahil sa kasalanan ng tao. Halimbawa na lang yung bulag na pinagaling ni Jesus. O yung mas sikat pa- yung buhay ni Job. Haay huhu. Kaiyak din yun kasi ang tagal nilang pinagdiskusyunan ng mga kaibigan niya kung bakit nangyayari sa kanya yun. Pero lagi at lagi, sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, gaya nga ng sabi ni Jesus, naipapakita ang kapangyarihan ng Diyos.

Nakakaiyak isipin pero hindi tayo dapat magalit sa mga nangyayari sa mundo, sa buhay. Ang kailangan ay magtiwala sa Diyos, sa kapangyarihan niya. Job 42:

1 Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

Hindi pa ako nakaranas ng bonggang-bonggang pagsubok o kahirapan. Compared sa mga Yolanda survivors, katiting lang ang mga challenges sa buhay ko. Pero sa mga yun, may natutunan pa rin ako. Alam ng Diyos ang ginagawa niya. May dahilan ang lahat ng pangyayari sa mundo. Walang karanasang nasasayang.  Ultimately, sa lahat ng ito, makikita natin ang kapangyarihan ng Diyos na kumikilos sa ating mga buhay. 🙂

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An afternoon with my fellow kids

It was 5pm, I just woke up from a nap.  I heard the bell which my sister and I had been waiting for. “Ice cream!” I called the sorbetero.  The flavors for today were mango and strawberry. Yummy!

Many children were playing at the street.  School days were indeed over!  Some kids were playing badminton, some volleyball.  Being the kid that I am, I joined them.  For how many minutes, I don’t know, we played volleyball, batuhang bola, and badminton.  It was fun.  I was the oldest among them, of course, but I didn’t mind. Haha.

I was already sweating and so bid goodbye to my playmates.  After a little while, I felt like wanting to go outside again, and so I did. I was clearing out the leaves on our backyard when a VCS kid approached me.  He was 9 when I taught him at Vacation Church School and now he is in Grade 7.  We talked about his studies in highschool, and his plans for college.  He then joined me in cleaning the backyard. Yey!

The sky was turning orange and we could see the sun about to sleep. Bagong umaga na naman, the kid said.  I smiled and said, oo nga. Patapos na naman ang araw. 🙂

 

Just as we thought the day was about to end, we found a long something (haha I don’t know what was it) which we used as a jumping rope.  We jumped to the A is for Apple, B for Banana, C for the chocolate chant. We bent our bodies as we walked under the limborack with the special rule in mind: No labas ngipin! Haha. We played volleyball again until it finally got dark.  I bid them goodnight.

Before I entered our gate, I saw a neighbor with his bike and borrowed it.  I biked around the block and wished I could also own one someday.  I entered our house, but something inside me called me to go outside again.  I gave in and later found myself sitting with four little boys talking about the day.

Hindi ka pa ba sanay… sa mga away-bati na yan?  Ako sanay na ko sa ganyan.

He said as he try to console his friend.  Wow.  I didn’t expect to hear that from a kid.  Haha. Well, he is now in Grade 6 and is graduating tomorrow.  Perhaps he had experienced a lot of petty and some serious quarrels with his playmates.

Bakit siya nagboboss-boss-an e babae siya? Dapat ang boss, lalaki na mabait na gusto lahat magkakabati.

Well, I don’t think he really means that a boss should always be a boy; he just said it because he is a boy and he couldn’t accept the fact that a girl seemed to control all the other kids.  What I loved about his words was when he said that a boss (a leader) should be a kind person who longs for the unity of all.  😀

 

I spent the rest of the night listening to their conversations while gazing at the stars which seem to sparkle brighter tonight.  I even sang a familiar song:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

As I sang and looked back on my afternoon, I felt like a child once again – a child in awe of almost everything.  A child longing to play any game as long as the sun is up.  A child wanting to belong, to have not just playmates for today, but friends till tomorrow.

My playtime lasted for just two hours today but I’m looking forward to more hours of playtime for the coming days. I might not be able to spend the same kind of playtime when I get hired as a teacher, so yeah.  More playtime soon!

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Sending off the graduates

I cried.  Just saying the words, “Lord, thank you for DCF,” made me cry.

It was our prayer time and we were at CRL Sunrise Kiosk for DCF’s Send Off General Assembly for graduating students.  At first I hesitated to attend the GA because I had been “sent off” last year (though I still have one semester to study) and so, I thought it would be awkward if I’d be there hoping to be sent off again. Yeah. But because I couldn’t resist being with DCF and realized this could be the last time I can be with them, I attended.  I thank God, He let me drop off my hesitations.

The message was just what graduating students needed to hear before stepping out of the “comforts” of UP:

  • As a Christian, your future is not your own.
  • The next chapter of your life will make or break you.
  • How can we continue in the faith?
  1. Consistently walk with the Lord.

  2. Do not compromise.

  3. Do your work excellently.

  4. Manage well your resources.

  5. Do it all for the glory of God.

Ooh…,

the thought of graduating and moving on to the next chapter of my life finally sank in through me.  The host called out the names of each graduating student, my name included hihi, and we were asked to stand in front so everyone could pray for us.

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I started  to become emotional.

Lord, thank you.  That was all I could say.

Thank you for DCF.  Then tears started to fall.  Thank you for letting me stay in a dorm.  Thank you for my roommate whom you used so that I may know DCF.  Thank you for providing me a second home during my early years in UP.  Thank you for giving me a family through the DCFers.  Thank you for all that I have learned in every fellowship and prayer meeting.  Thank you for my loving ates and kuyas who by their actions showed me how to care for the younger ones.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you.  I kept wiping my face with my hands as tears flowed with every thank you I say.  Thank you for your grace in my acads, in my responsibilities and commitments, in my relationships.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you for every learning opportunity.  Yes, thank you for my life, for my college life, for my dorm life.  Surely, my UP life would not be complete if I weren’t a dormer, If I had not known DCF.  You made everything possible, God.  Thank you for your love.  I thank you because You are sovereign.  I thank you for your plans, your wonderful plans.  Thank you for the future with hope. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

The prayer ended and I just wanted to cry it all out.  Those were tears of joy.  Yes, tears of joy, of thanksgiving.  God made my college life complete with His daily sufficient grace.  I couldn’t thank Him enough.  My friends hugged me and I thanked God for their hugs.  Then there were few drops of tears of sadness.  I will miss my dear brothers and sisters.

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I kept this name tag thinking it might be my last name tag from DCF.  Just then I realized, I could still be with DCF again someday. 🙂

After the prayer time, the DCF Alumni Association welcomed us to their group.  Haha.  It is comforting to know that we will not totally lose our connection with DCF as we graduate.  I am thankful that we could still keep our ties bonded. Yiee! I am excited to meet my fellow DCF alumni and help out in God’s ministry through DCF.  Also, they said we would be preparing for the celebration of our 25th year anniversary this November! Hooray! 😀

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Thank you Lord, for UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship, for this fellowship of Christian dormers in our beloved campus. ❤

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2048: Game Over

2048

Yeah! I won! 😀
I saw my friends playing this game last Friday. The numbers took my interest and while watching a friend play, I was kind of wishing and waiting for the Game Over to appear on the screen. Hihi. Yeah, that was a not so good wish; I feel silly remembering I wished for it.
A little later, it was my turn.  Wow! It was exciting and challenging! And I was pressured a bit because I am older than them so I felt like I should always make the right moves.  Haha. After a few rounds, a friend called to meet me and so I needed to say goodbye to the game, and oh, to my playmates, too. :p

At home, I checked the game online and played it for just an hour.  And uhm, for another hour.  I played for almost two hours. Or more. Yeah, I think for more than two hours. Oooh.  I got hooked.  No, this shouldn’t be! I had many last games until I finally played the last…for that night.

The next morning, yeah, you’re right, I was in front of the laptop again, playing 2048.  Pleasure came every time I scored higher and then there was the desire to score higher the next game.  If I didn’t need to go, I would have played for hours.  Thank God, I needed to go.  I can’t stop playing by my own will and so I needed an external force to stop me.  I stopped.  I reached 1024.

I travelled with my father.  I could see the numbers and the grid.  I tried to read a book to divert my thoughts.  I was successful.

I arrived at my tutee’s house.  We studied conjunctions, sentences, electricity, rocks, and planets for three hours.  You could imagine how tired our brains were after the session.  We needed a rest and so we watched and fed their orange fishes, observed the red ants, ate cake and fries, and played sungka and water-less water gun for the next hour.  I enjoyed every activity.  I mean it.  🙂

I left at 5:30pm; her mother dropped me at the highway to wait for a bus.  While waiting, I saw the grid and the numbers again.  I was moving the tiles left and right to merge two like numbers into one. Oh, no!  It was so tiring!  I rode a bus and when a vacant seat was made available for me, I closed my eyes to sleep.  I lacked sleep last night because of 2048; this is my opportunity to rest, I thought.  But…

When I closed my eyes, argh! The grid appeared again.  I couldn’t rest.  I texted my friends who introduced the game to me and shared my experience.  I read the book again to divert my thoughts.  A few minutes later, I fell asleep.

That night, I managed not to play the game.  Control yourself, Jas, I kept reminding myself.  I felt fulfilled not turning the laptop on.

Tonight, I saw the laptop and turned it on.  You know what happened next.  I just wanted to reach 2048 so that I could finally stop playing it again and again.  And I also wanted to show it to my friends and feel proud of my achievement.  After three (or four?) long games (yes, long, because each game took me almost 30 minutes), I finally reached 2048!  It was a wow.  I was surprised how it happened.  I was happy!  Now I could tell my friends I reached it. Right away, I posted it on my Facebook wall.  It was a nice accomplishment.

 

Right now, after reflecting on what this 2048 had done to me this weekend, I realized something.  I love numbers.  I love playing with numbers.  I love being challenged to think.  I love seeing patterns.  I enjoyed the game, yes.  I felt satisfied while playing, yeah, but as I notice how it was eating my time, I felt guilty.  Playing 2048 for more than two hours a day made me feel, uhm, like it was, uhm, a guilty pleasure, or something like that.  Yeah, for real.  Even blogging about how I got hooked on it made me feel uneasy.  I realized I had spent too much time for it.

I won. Right.  I’m glad I won the game now because that means I can stop on playing it again and again. Right. I should be happy.

Oooooh. That’s it! Right! I won! Haha. I can free myself from this game now! Yes, I should really be happy!

Haha.  There, there. I’m thankful I have finished the game tonight because that means I can stop on playing it again and again! Now I could do more productive things again! Yes!

Hello real life games -with less pressure and more fun!  Hello animals and plants!  Hello sky and wind! Hello fellow humans!  Hello to God’s world where I can experience real satisfaction!  And rest! Hello peace!

The game is over. Yey!  I want to say goodbye to you, 2048.  Even to you, worldwideweb. I hope I could really do.  Good bye for now virtual world! I need to experience more things in the real world.  I guess, I’ll be here less often starting now.

Right, I need to.

Hmm… Be online for just two hours a day starting today?  Yeah, that would do.

 

 

By your grace, Lord, let me spend more of my time with You, with my family, friends, neighbors, and pets.  Let me do more things with my hands and fingers aside from pressing the keys on the laptop.  Let me use my whole body, my energy, my time and my mind for Your glory alone.  Teach me to truly love You with all my heart, with all my soul, with my all mind, and with all my strength. Thank You for loving me, Lord. I love you, too! ❤

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Thank you, Tambays.

Cars, jeepneys and trucks passed by.  There were red and yellow lights.  Horns kept on beeping.  I just stood there alone, thinking and waiting.  I didn’t know when to cross the road. I’m really not good at it.  And so I waited and waited for the perfect timing.  Alas! The red light! I confidently (and hastily) walked, assured that nothing would hit me.  I reached the center island and thought of resting a bit but I knew I shouldn’t.  I paused for a second then walked again till I reached the other side of the street.  I did it!  I did it!  I did it!  Yeah! 

I wanted to tap my back for a job well done, but before I could even think of it, the friendly tambays had congratulated me! HAHAHA! Wow! Ang galing mo, ate! I looked at them and they cheered me even more. Haha. I was surprised because I knew I wasn’t good at uhm, yeah, at crossing, and yet they cheered and affirmed that I did well. Haha. I was happy, yes, and I felt like I really did something great.  Funny, it seems, but their cheers really made me smile.

I had gone few steps away when I remembered I wasn’t able to thank them for their affirmation.  I looked back and saw them crossing the road.  I didn’t bother yelling out my thanks to them because they might hear me, get distracted in search of me, stop walking and then be bumped by a car.  That would be a scene I wouldn’t want to see.  And so, I just whispered my thanks and hoped they would be safe wherever they might be going.

Hey, this is to say thank you to you guys, the friendly tambays, for cheering me when I reached the finish line! Hahahaha. Thanks!

 

A simple word of affirmation matters.  Cheer a family member, a friend, or even a stranger today! 🙂  Make them smile! 😀

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Christ died for you. Are you living for Him?

Lent is about looking back and reflecting on what Christ did for us on the cross.  He died in our place because of our sins.  We receive forgiveness from God because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

This is the season to think and rethink how we are living our lives.  Christ died for us.  Are we living for Him?  Christ died for me, a sinner.  Am I living for Him?  Am I loving Him more than anything else – or anyone else?  What does it mean to actually live for Christ?

Living for Christ means denying myself.  It is leaving the things that makes me self-fulfilled.  It is forgetting my pride, my selfish desires and ambitions.  It is putting on Christ.  It is doing what He would do if He were in my situation.  It is living life knowing that Christ is in me.

Living for Christ means carrying my cross.  Sacrificing is not an option; it is part of the Christian life.  Yes, the road leading to life is narrow and God did not promise it to be an easy journey, but He promised to be with us each step of the way.  His plans for us are perfect.  And God is holding us.  He will never let us go.  Because of His unfailing love, we are not consumed; His mercies are new every morning.  As we carry our cross daily, we can depend on His sufficient grace.

Living for Christ means following Jesus daily.  Walking with Him.  Having a closer relationship with Him day by day.  Talking with Him through prayer.  Listening to His words through the Bible.  Trusting His promises.  Seeking, desiring and obeying His will.  Following Jesus means doing what He wants us to do and going where He wants us to go.  The Lord is our shepherd; He wants to lead our lives.  Let us follow Him with all we are.

 

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me life, for giving me hope.  By your grace, let me live for You alone.  Thank you for Your love.  Alleluia!  I praise You for who You are, God.  Amen.

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A fresher start

Just some history on my blogging. Hohoho.

July 2012. I started blogging but left it when I noticed I was getting too sentimental on my posts. It was supposed to be a collection of experiences that brings me peace, but eventually it seemed to be just an outlet of my secret thoughts and masked emotions. Oooh.

April 2013. I started another blog about growing up but it lasted only for almost four months. I lost interest in maintaining it because it wasn’t that visually appealing to me. Yeah, I should have changed the theme but I didn’t know there were a lot of colorful, bright and sunny themes available in WordPress so I settled for the plain, simple and more serious themes then. Seriously. Haha. Or maybe I was just too impatient to wait for the themes to load. Silly me.

August 2013. I stopped blogging. I settled with my Practicum and Quiet Time journals. But I kept on reading blogs which inspire me to create mine also.

January 2014. My sister and I were talking about blogs and websites when I remembered Weebly, a site I used to make a blog as a requirement in one of my subjects in college. My excitement rushed in and I just found myself browsing my blogs then. I got inspired. Ideas came one after another on how my blog would look like, what I would share, how often would I post on it and all the things about blogging that I could think of. That night, I created a new blog. In Weebly.

I needed it, I thought. I want a fresh start. I’m leaving the serious world of WordPress. I started my new blog, enjoyed laying-out my posts, and expressed my enthusiasm and idealism to reach the Filipino youth through my blog. Hahaha.

6 March 2014. I noticed how much time I had spent on blogging. It isn’t good to give so much of my time on this, I realized. I left my blog for a while and told myself I need to regulate my online hours. During those days, I happened to drop by my roommate’s blog. Oh, I missed WordPress. I wanted to go back so I could follow her. Also, I felt the need to belong in a community of bloggers, even though I don’t usually let others read my thoughts because of my inferiority and insecurity issues when it comes to writing. But yeah, I wanted to be back.

And so I am back. 🙂 Haha. It was a great deal contemplating if leaving my newly started blog would really do me good. I even talked this over with my sister, and gratefully, an insight came. I’m going back to WordPress but will not totally abandon Weebly. My WordPress would be my official blog; my Weebly could just be my portfolio of cut-out paintings and other works that inspire me. Yey!

10 March 2014. I created this new blog for a fresher start. I invested time in searching for the theme that appeals to me at the moment. I posted my thoughts on starting again and reflected on what I should post in here.

This is it! I hope I made the right decision. Hahaha. Haha. Hope I won’t have to leave this again some time in the future. No, please. Hihi.

 

This is in response to the Daily Prompt: If You Leave.