Tag Archives: christian reflection

Safe in the Boat.


Finally, the month of December has begun.

ID-100200369November for me has been challenging, more challenging that any month I’ve gone through in the 21 years of my life. Perhaps I’ll write about it someday, but suffice it to say that I have gone through a lot. Still, when people ask how I am, I say, “I am experiencing God in ways I never imagined I could.”

And it’s true!  I cannot believe — CANNOT believe — how much I have been experiencing God’s reality, possibly best expressed by Harold J. Sala at our church last November 17: “You haven’t tested the resources of God until you faced the situation you thought was impossible.”

See, I felt like a huge tsunami wave had hit. I struggled, and now I am floating. The waters have been slowly receding, thank God, but not nearly fast enough. I do not yet feel solid ground.

All this water imagery reminds me of something I wrote back in the summer of 2011.

Safe in the Boat. 

The boat was made of wood, the size of a normal sailboat.

I didn’t hesitate about its durability, didn’t doubt its ability to take us through this raging storm, which admittedly threatened to weaken my confidence on this wooden boat.

I sat in the boat with some people. One of my friends was given a rope; the captain was at the helm, guiding the boat, instructing my friend to pull accordingly.

How the storm raged! The downpour was enough to flood all of Baguio to about 6 feet. The highest point, SM Baguio, was the only thing not submerged. It was amazingly overwhelming to see everything flooded. As the boat rounded SM on the way that was normally the road to UP Baguio, I watched in amazement. Water cascaded down from SM like a great big waterfall.

I fought an inner fear, a fear that kept whispering that we wouldn’t make it, we would drown, the boat was simply not strong enough for such elements. I fought, and won.

And then, the boat surprisingly came to a halt. We had hit shallow water. I looked behind and saw that all the waters were fast receding.

It was a strange dream, one of the many I seem to be having quite frequently lately. It was a dream that left me woozy and feeling strange when I woke up. It inevitably brought to mind the story of the disciples in the boat.

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

(Matthew 8 )

The past week has been one of the strangest — new (painstaking) lessons on love and patience, the sudden realization of the gravity of future responsibilities, and a strange physical ailment. It definitely felt like a raging storm to me.

And yet, I felt oddly secure in that little boat. I pondered that oddity as I woke up. Then I re-read the passage in Matthew 8, and I knew what kept me calm: His undeniable presence.

And I then knew which voice countered that nagging fear threatening to drown me. It was His voice, whispering, comforting, rebuking: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?


God can’t use Ivory Tower Christians


“…You want to know why stark evil hasn’t made me rough or bitter?

…it was God who was prying the little girl’s hands off her eyes. As if He were saying, ‘I can’t use ivory-tower followers. They’re plaster of paris, they crumble and fall apart in life’s press. So you’ve got to see life the way it really is before you can do anything about evil. You cannot vanquish it. I can.


This quote is from one of my favorite books, Catherine Marshall’s “Christy”.

The character who says this is an older missionary (Ha! Which is why I can relate) counseling a younger missionary.

I’ve been musing a lot about this the past few days. Maybe because the last 2 weeks I have had many conversations with people — most of them students — whose stories, incidentally, are the stuff Filipino soap operas are made of. Oh, the drama. The sickening, sad drama of it all is just… depressing and sometimes horrifying.

I’d like to say that my eyes are already wide open, but the longer I live and the more I talk to people, the longer I discover that I still have fingers left on my eyes. My eyes are still half-closed, unwilling to stare at life’s mess. But I’m not naive. My twenty one years on earth so far are not enough, I know,  to take in all the evil in the world today. I am fully aware that more people, younger even, have seen much worse.


In one way or another, we’ve all acted like ivory-tower Christians. That, I think, is one of the saddest things. Jesus sent His disciples to the broken, the pained, the sick, the outcasts. We are supposed to go to them. Help them. Love them.

God has been opening my eyes, despite my resistance. He’s been reminding me, that if I keep my eyes closed to evil, I keep my eyes closed to God’s miracles as well.

And I miss how God can use me to counter this evil.

I do not want to miss that.

God can’t use Ivory Tower Christians. He needs workers willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty — figuratively and sometimes, literally.

What do you think?

How have you experienced God prying the fingers off your eyes?