Sundays are supposed to be peaceful.
Filipinos go to church, or mass, or sleep in. But last Sunday, news broke out about the forty-four who got killed in a brutal 11-hour clash. Forty-four. That means fourty-four lives ended. Forty-four families grieving.
I’m not sure what I feel. I am a mere observer, located safely in the opposite side of the country from where the incident happened, and yet the impact and grief I feel is real. I cannot imagine what pain the families may feel. At least one of them, we know now, was engaged to be married… fiancés widowed way too soon. How many other fiancés are now widowed? How many children will now have to live with the absence of their father? How many wives are now widowed?
In this week since the news broke out, I’ve felt raw emotions well up, and I’ve had a variety of thoughts.
I’m praying that I would be able to respond to all this in a way that honors God.
This includes how I feel about PNoy and the government. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about PNoy.
I refuse to slander him, or question his leadership. Just… I feel… disappointed. This is a critical time when his presence would have made an impact.
I’m praying against hatred.
Events like these easily create fear and hostility. I’m praying against that. I want to be a source of grace and love. The MILF… they are people too, and they are lost too, and yes, Jesus died for them too.
Thinking about it… I may not be as distant an observer as I think I am. And maybe we are not as distant as we think we are.
The incident feels personal, because two years ago I lost a soldier friend at a clash in the South. I met that friend in Baguio, when he was still a cadet at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Owing to connections, and friends of friends, my world was exposed, a little bit, to PMA, and to military life.
Very recently, my parents, who are based in Baguio, “adopted” four fourth-class cadets. Thus my world has inevitably been exposed even more to PMA. I got to know these cadets last Christmas break. It doesn’t matter that the time I spent with these new foster brothers was so short – I love those boys. I can’t think of anything more devastating than hearing them lose their lives in such a way.
We may not personally know any of the forty-four, or may not be remotely linked to the military, but we are inevitably affected by these events.
I am moved, again, to really pray for my country.
Events like these have always made me wonder if peace really is possible. I was disturbed hearing about the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and other similar news in other countries. Consequently, my prayers have been about these overseas events.
The Mamasapano incident, happening right here at home, reminded me to pray for my country.
I’m reminding myself that God is still in all this.
A friend based in France wrote something recently, regarding the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I quote her: “As a believer of the Bible, I have known that things will get worse in this fallen world, but that also gives the best things the opportunity to stand out. ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.’”
God is weeping for all the precious lives lost. This is comforting to me, even just a little bit, at the moment – to know that God understands loss, and hurt, and pain.
After this incident, I am reminded of the great need for personal change.
We all long for peace, but as a Christian, I believe that real change must begin from within, and true change can only come from Jesus. I echo my friend’s sentiments again, “This [incident] is a very personal encounter of how ‘belief in a god’ can either lead you to your fullest potential of being good or your fullest potential of being bad. That truly depends on the kind of god you believe in. And in the end I am so sure we will see that there is only one true God!”
I am well aware of my own tendencies towards evil!
After this incident, I am reminded that there is hope.
There is hope.
I weep for the Fallen 44, but I do so knowing that there is hope.
We are not okay, but we will be.