Facing the Storms

Many years ago, I met a friend* who became successful in his career. Early on he rose the ranks in one of the biggest multinational companies in the country. Throughout the time he was around, he was always obsessed with earning higher and getting wealthier. In our conversations, it was always about material success, earning more money and there was hardly any mention of his family. He was unreachable, indifferent and cold to them. Also, we observed he wasn’t keen in building up his spirituality and hardly mentioned God whenever I brought up the matter in our discussions. He was focused elsewhere and it seemed to me that God didn’t have a place in his heart. 

When life is good, it is easy to forget the Lord. You go on with your daily living and ignore His presence such that He just “sleeps” patiently waiting for you to call on Him. These are times when you don’t care to involve Him in your celebrations, decisions, and conversations. You think you can do it by yourself and thus forget Him. Then when problems arise, when you don’t have anyone to turn to, you look for God as the ‘last resort’. This is sad because it shouldn’t be the case. The Lord shouldn’t be relegated to the background. If you want your life to be in order, you should put Him in the driver’s seat.

In the Gospel (Mk. 4: 35-41), 

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

The call of the Apostles is similar to what we do when experiencing problems. It tells us that the Lord is just there, waiting for our call. He has the power to quiet the winds and calm the storms raging around us. 

This summer while the world is fighting the pandemic, I made the difficult decision of allowing my wife Alma and my daughter Alexa (she’s a doctor of medicine) to travel to the US and then to the UK for Alexa’s medical examinations in Edinburgh, Scotland. While I was hesitant and fearful of making that, eventually my faith and trust in the Lord prevailed for them to pursue the journey. There were so many challenges, like the quarantine periods in every place that they enter, the swab tests that they have to undergo and pass, and just a few weeks before leaving, the Philippines was placed in the red zone (a traveler cannot enter the United Kingdom when the last ten days prior to entry were from a red zone country). That is why we had to decide for them to travel via the US and stay there ten days before entering Great Britain. Aside from making it more expensive, more critical to consider are the risks associated with traveling and all the requirements mentioned earlier. At the time of their departure, Alexa was vaccinated with the first dose, while Alma was still waiting for her schedule.

On the other hand, we thought that if they didn’t pursue the journey, given the state of the pandemic; they will have to do the processing of applications and documents all over again and the next chance of going to London may be possible only after a year’s time. 

The risks were very high indeed, but we believe that God is mightier and more powerful than any of these combined together. Our faith in God gave us the courage and the confidence for them to go on. Also, we have to plan well considering that there’s no Alma at home for the next six weeks. We prayed harder than we used to do before we started booking the flights and their places abroad. (It’s a blessing that Alma’s brothers are based in New Jersey.) We agreed that we have to pray more and get God involved in whatever we are doing at all times. I believe that the Lord will protect us all from the virus and the risks associated with it. I think that all that’s happening around are nothing compared to the power of Jesus. These are storms that were thrown at us to test our faith.

In all, they were able to pursue the journey and return successfully after about a month and a half abroad. While there were challenges at home, we were generally happy with the outcomes. Just a day before fulfilling the mandatory hotel quarantine in Clark, Pampanga, Alexa received a SMS from our city that her second dose is scheduled on the day they were to check out of the hotel! I believe that that wasn’t coincidence but God’s way of telling us, “Hey family, I’m always in control!”

It is essential that we always travel our life journey with Jesus. We shouldn’t ignore but allow Him to guide us in our decisions. He is our silent companion, listening friend, and the go-to-guy in all the events of our life, happy and sad. We should always recognize that He is around, unlike the friend I mentioned earlier, who seem to ignore God’s presence. It is the height of ingratitude to the Creator if you behave like that.

Today, let us reflect on the awesome power of God. There is no storm too big for Him, no challenge too difficult for Him, no problem that He cannot handle.  Let us pray for humility, that whatever we do, we submit to His plans.

Give thanks to the Lord, His love is everlasting.” (Ps. 107: 1b)

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