Bigger than the Biggest Storm

“…For he who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy…” (Baruch 4:29)

Unless you know what it means to be in the flood, you will not know what it means to be rescued from it.

This sums up my learning from the experience of my country the past week. This also sums up one of my greatest learnings about life, in general.

Take for instance the recent storms which hit our country.

Prior to the storms, many people took God for granted. “Stand aside, God” we unknowingly say, “We can manage by ourselves.”

Hence, we busied ourselves with ourselves — our businesses, our careers, our selfish interests. The airwaves were dominated by pre-election campaign ads. Political mudslinging bannered our newspaper headlines. Accusations of corruption rocked the highest levels of our government. Citizens becoming apathetic. A nation becoming callous. A people losing hope.

Then the rains came last Saturday. An unimaginable volume never before witnessed in the history of this country pummeled the metropolis and other nearby provinces. A helpless nation watched as families and properties were swept by the rampaging flood. We reacted, tried our best to cope. To no avail. Nature unleashed its wrath and we, humans, were helpless before it.

And as the rains ceased, our fears eased as well. But not for long…

Just before we can catch our breath as a nation, news of a bigger and a far-stronger oncoming typhoon surprised us once again. With glassy eyes, we gazed at the skies and wondered, “Why is this happening to us all? Has God completely abandoned us?”

 But we are not the only Christian nation in Asia for nothing. For some reason, we were able to dig deep in our hearts and found that one thing which makes us a special nation: our faith.

We switched off our TV sets, went down on our knees and prayed.  And we prayed hard as a nation just like before. Perhaps it was as intense as the prayers of our forefathers in Tirad Pass. Or as heartfelt as the prayers of those who joined the Bataan death march. Or probably reminiscent of our prayers in EDSA in 1987. We knew the storm was big, and we were small. We knew the storm was strong, and we were weak. We knew the storm was coming, and we have no place else to go.

And just like in the biblical days, God cannot resist the faith of His beloved. This morning, I woke up to a very surprising and wonderful news: The supertyphoon has re-directed its course and will no longer hit the country head on.

My heart was bursting with joy and my eyes held back the tears. God indeed is real and near. He hears the faintest prayers of His people. He comes to rescue. He comes to save. Moved by our deepest sighs, it was as if God stood on the path of the supertyphoon and with a wave of his hand, redirected it to move somewhere else and away from His Pearl of the Orient Seas.

This week, we are reminded once again of how much God loves us. We saw His love in the sacrifices of those who launched rescue operations the past week. We saw His love in the form of donations from faceless and nameless individuals here and abroad. We saw His love in the lives of the many heroes who thought less of themselves and more of others. And yes, we saw God’s love, not above the storm, but in it. And because of this, we can’t help but rejoice.

We recovered our passion for our nation. We regained our faith in our heritage. We re-discovered the beauty of our race. Truly, God brought back our joy.

As the scripture today says:

“…For he who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy…” (Baruch 4:29)

Ondoy and Pepeng combined can flood our homes, but they can never submerge our hope. They can sweep away our cars, but they can never sweep away our dreams. They can topple our tallest trees, but they can never topple our deepest faith. 

And what is true for our nation, is true for our individual lives. What is that storm that threatens to make a landfall into your life?

Marriage annulment. 

Cancer.

Unemployment.

Financial ruin.

Turn off your TV set, go down on your knees and pray like never before. Pray with great trust. Pray with great faith.

Remember, a big storm may be coming. But it is never too big for a bigger God who can valiantly stand in its way for you.

On behalf of my countrymen, thank you God. You deserve all the glory!

Bobby Q.

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