What’s with a Rainbow?

“The heavens and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass.” (Luke 21:33).

“Pang, there is a possibility that I will stay in the hospital until I give birth…” 

Those were Jeng’s words the moment I entered the hospital room four weeks ago. Upon hearing them, my knees wobbled, my mind swirled as I slumped weakly on the chair by her bedside. That was the last thing I needed to hear after so many weeks of high stress and intense pressure. This was Jeng’s second hospital confinement in a span of two months due to profuse bleeding brought about by a difficult pregnancy. I was tired. No, exhausted would be a more accurate word. Clearly, I was nearing the end of my rope.

Faced with the prospect of rising hospital expenses with no assurance that my son will be born into this world, I did what I usually do when faced with a mountain of a challenge.

I prayed.

I spoke from my heart and confessed my fears and anxieties to my God. Near tears, I begged God to show me any sign of His presence. I needed to be consoled. To be comforted. To be reminded. I wanted to hear His voice. I longed to feel his embrace. I thirsted for His soothing assurances. And then it happened…

My two daughters, ages 4 and 2, excitedly called my attention as they animatedly pointed to “something” outside the hospital window, “Papang, look! Rainbow!”.

With bated breath and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I watched what they saw: Two beautiful and gigantic rainbows bannered the dusky Manila sky right outside our window.

Yes, you read it right. Not just one, but two rainbows. One for me and one for Jeng.

But what’s with a rainbow anyway?

In the Old Testament, a rainbow symbolized God’s covenant to His people. For instance, after the great flood, God showed Noah a rainbow to remind Him of His promise that He will never destroy the earth again.

Naturally, seeing those rainbows four weeks ago reminded me of God’s promises in my life. That if I take care of His people, He will take care of me. That whatever challenges I go through, He will carry me. That no matter how big the mountain is, He will lift it for me. That’s why the tears flowed.

Reading today’s Gospel reminded me of this incident four weeks ago. Jesus says today: “The heavens and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass.” (Luke 21:33). In a sense, He says that even if the worst tragedy happens in my life, His faithfulness remains and His promises will be fulfilled.

Guess what? His promise to me is also His promise to all those who hold on to Him amidst challenging times.

Including you. So I urge you, whatever you are going through now, trust in God. You will soon see the light of day.

By the way, the day after that “rainbow incident”, Jeng’s bleeding stopped and she was sent home by the doctors.

Truly, when God promises, He fulfills. The rainbow says so.

Humbled by God’s love,

Bobby

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Not for Sale

“…You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else…” (Daniel 5:17)

A story was once told about a Christian who was forced to renounce her faith in exchange for a price. Boldly, this woman retorted: “Indeed, I have a price. But it has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, my Savior. I am no longer for sale.”

How many of us are daily tempted to set aside our faith for a price? The price can come in the form of a promotion, or a one-night-stand, or another puff from a marijuana stick, or a promised cash reward.

In today’s first reading, Daniel was also confronted with the same dilemma. King Belshazzar offered him fame and fortune if he would be able to interpret for him the supernatural sign from God which appeared during the king’s banquet. Daniel was quick to respond:

“…You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else…” (Daniel 5:17)

How about us? Do we dialogue with the tempter? Do we pause to think about the proposition? Do we dilly-dally to see if we can get both the reward and retain our self-respect at the same time? Do we give the devil the light of day?

Here is my suggestion: Don’t dialogue with the enemy. Don’t even attempt to haggle. Don’t negotiate. Don’t display any price tag. Rebuke him. Reject him. Walk away. You aren’t cheap. You were bought by blood. You were paid with death. You were ransomed by no less than the King of Kings.

You are no longer for sale.

I remain Christ’s property,

Bobby

All Things Come to an End

“Nations will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places — and in the sky fearful omens and great signs” (Luke 21:11)

            “All things come to an end.”

            That’s what they say about success. Or weekend vacations. Or even crazy love affairs. And for most of us, we try to hold on to these things for as long as we can.

            The same thing when it comes to our very lives.

            We jog. We diet. We go to fitness centers. We have our regular medical check up. We buy the most expensive vitamins. We do everything we can to remain healthy and to live longer. But we all know the inevitable. All of us have a number. And someday, that number will be called whether we like it or not. We will have our last word…our last glance…our last sigh…our last heartbeat. Yes, all things come to an end…

            …Including you and me.

            In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us of the inevitability of endings. He says that someday this world that we know will come to an end. The sun will set for the last time. The wind will have its final blow. The rain will have its concluding downpour. No more paychecks. No more deadlines. No more cancer. No more heartaches. End. Finish. Done.

            “Nations will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places — and in the sky fearful omens and great signs” (Luke 21:11)

            Where would we be on that day? How will our lives be like when those things happen?

            How about our relationships? Would they be in good order? Would we have forgiven those who hurt us?

            Our money — would they have been used to bless others or would they perish together with the bank vault that holds them?

            How about our hearts? Are our hearts expectantly longing for heaven or desperately clinging on to the world? Are they attached to our eternal mansions or held back by our earthly shacks? Would they be thirsting for never-ending joy or are they settling for time-bound fun?

            And finally, how about our souls? For many, their souls will reflect the kind of lives they led. All bitterness for hurts suffered is plastered on their soul. All hidden sins will cling closely to it. Every deception done and lie told will be reflected on that soul. These people will cringe in shame as their deeds are exposed. They try to hide but they have nowhere to run. Their soul, their sin, their misdeeds — all theirs to keep and for the world to see.

            But not for others.

            There are those who will stand immaculate on that day. Not because of their merits, mind you. They too were sinners. They too were liars and cheats. They too slandered and gossiped. But at some point in their lives, they realized and acknowledged their wretched state. And their guilt led them to turn to Him who is guiltless. They turned to Him for comfort, for forgiveness and for salvation. And in gratitude for the mercy received, they tried their best to live lives fit for heaven.

            On that final day, there shall be a great demarcation line. After the earthquakes and calamities, there shall be an assembly of souls. On one side will stand those who cling on to their earthly rewards. On the other side shall stand those who made heaven their ultimate prize.

            Yes, all things come to an end. But for those who make Jesus their King in this lifetime, that day will only be the beginning of their forever.

For my King, forever,

Bobby