December 28, 2012

Count your blessings, never the failings

Article first published  on March 10, 2012 on Lariza.Website.

Early this morning while doing a regular walking exercise, a friend sends me a text message. He was the one I referred to in my other blog who beyond my expectation volunteered to shoulder my magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan which has long been delayed due to lack of resources. However, since the hospital to which he addressed the cheque does not have the machine, I underwent a nerve study instead.

Here’s his message. Six things to keep in mind this weekend:

First, make peace with the past so it won’t screw up the present.
Second, what other people think of you is none of your business.
            You can never please every one.
Third, time heals almost everything.
Fourth, no one is in charge of your happiness except yourself.
Fifth, don’t compare your life to that of others and don’t judge them.
          You have no idea what their journey is all about.
And lastly, SMILE. You don’t own all the problems in the world. Think positive.
          Tell yourself: It’s gonna be a great weekend. And I’m gonna make a difference
          in someone’s life today.

Much earlier, in my meditation, I resolved the nagging concerns about my actual condition which crop up every time I am confronted with health-related issues triggered by various circumstances.

Pastor Joshua undergoing rehab after a successful
open heart by-pass operation 
Last month, a pastor friend shared his health condition thru group email. How he underwent rigid examination in Manila by persuasion of his friend and the result of those tests. The angiogram revealed that there are seven blockages in his coronary arteries and thus needing a heart by-pass operation as soon as possible. He was advised to prepare almost a million pesos for the process. Few days ago, his wife updated us of the successful operation and the improve in his condition.

His case is significant to me because it was just last January when we came to know each other. He invited me to serve as one of the resource persons in a missionary training program under his supervision. I was impressed by his commitment and his deep seated faith in God while sharing our health condition.

At that time, he was so concerned with my situation and even encouraged me to take the food supplement recommended to him by another friend because of its healing effect. Then he also shared his heart condition which we took lightly compared to my own condition. Although I was about to advise him to see a cardiologist, his faith both to God and to food supplement overwhelmed me.

Thus, I was quite disturbed upon knowing the gravity of his condition and the subsequent medication. Inevitably, I compared my case which might have been worse than him based on the manifestations during our sharing. Unlike him, I did not have the privilege of undergoing rigid examination due to lack of resources. We were drained out of resources because of my previous hospitalizations and daily maintenance to the extent that I let go of some recommended tests to rule out the root causes of my infirmities.

Pastor Jimena, during his confinement at St. Luke's  Medical Center
While entertaining such thought, the feeling of insecurities started to creep into my being. The same feeling every time I read from national dailies how government officials and their families easily spent millions of pesos for medication. The wanton spending of huge amounts by them which become scandalous and the subject of allegations and accusations. The wishful thinking that had I been endowed with such resources, I could have been healed earlier, availing myself with sophisticated equipment for diagnose and expensive process of medication that only the privileged few can afford.

However, when I was about to feel really bad, I remembered the comment of a friend after knowing my painful experiences. He was impressed on how lucky I have been for being alive despite all odds. He told me about the case of his other friends who have all the resources in life yet remained in the very delicate health condition.

Past events swiftly flashed back into my mind. How God snatched me from death and provided my resources during hospitalization and the subsequent crisis even until now. How just the time we almost gave up, came His answers to our needs. How the delay in the healing process has effected the inner renewal resulting to a new lifestyle.

I realized how fortunate I have been to experience healing without spending much amount. Then came the thought that if indeed my condition really need all those sophisticated diagnosis and expensive medication, would not God also provide the resources as He has been doing in our lives. Relieved, I thanked God for His grace.

Such was experience when I received the aforementioned text message while doing the regular walking exercise. I decided to encode the message, as well as my experience. Until I realized this is a good material for blogging. Thus, this blog to inspire others. Enjoy your week-end by counting your blessings, never the failings.

December 25, 2012

Unexpected answer to a long time question

Article first published  August 1, 2011 on Lariza. Website.

Today marks a shift in my service at Central Philippine University. Our department chairperson filed a one year leave and recommended me to take her place. She returned to her previous public service endeavor in the government’s social welfare agency in the region. Similarly, this is also a sort of resumption of my previous position for almost seven years prior to my stint as director of the University Outreach Center. Thereafter, I experienced almost two years of hiatus caused by my chronic heart ailment with almost year of sick leave.

Both the university and I are put in a position with limited choice. There are only three of us working full time in the department. The other one has filed a leave earlier. While the administration has still reservation on both my health and my association with the previous president, there is not enough option to choose. In my part, despite my health condition and mutual reservation I cannot bear to leave the department in limbo. This is the department that gave me another chance to prove my worth after being banned from my previous theological studies due to technicalities and my political leanings.

My involvement during the martial rule in our country was a taboo in our religious denomination. Hence, apart from neglecting my studies to give way to my commitment in service, ultimately quitting school few months before my graduation, I was included in the blacklisted pastors which ruined my image and even future. But the Department of Social Work accepted me “just as I am” and gave me the opportunity to complete my social work course and subsequently theological studies, too. Thereafter, I served the department as faculty and later department head especially when the old guards either retired or resigned to seek new challenge or greener pasture. My wife, also a social worker and colleague in the university at that time, was my partner in sustaining the department during the transition period.

However, this is not the main reason for blogging on this topic. It is my previous painful experience that left some questions unanswered by God. It took almost 7 months to date that I finally find the answer . I now understand why God allowed me to be deprived of the sabbatical leave privilege despite my need, earnest prayer, benefit to His ministry, and corresponding favorable conditions. Why I have to undergo the pain of failure when my health was still very volatile due to prejudicial decision of the selection committee. For if I availed such privilege earlier, what would happen to the department?

Indeed, God sees what is best not just for us but for others. At times, He may appear to disappoint us by delaying the response or denying our request, even making us experience failure and defeat. But it does not necessarily mean he does not love us. It is because it is not the best for us, as well as for others. I even have the feeling that this resumption is a sign of my complete recovery. For he will not allow me to get this post which is far from my dream or desire, unless he sustains me with strength. Indeed, His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither His ways our ways. Glory be to God!


The Christmas break has given me time to visit my blogs, review and evaluate them. Subsequently, I have decided to give each blog a  focus and transfer respective posts to where they belong. Hence, the start of reposting of faith related article to this blog. Merry Christmas. 

December 2, 2012

The Beauty of Psalm 139

While doing a morning meditation, the Spirit has guided me to the  139th chapter of the Book of Psalms. It struck me mightily that I decided to revive this blog by posting  the whole verses. No wonder this chapter has been known as  'the crown of the Psalms.'

"You have searched me, LORD,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, LORD, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting."