Give Thanks

Posted on: Sunday, August 03, 2014 | , ,
A wonderful promise to claim

This was supposed to be posted on the last day of July, but because Mr. Fatigue visited me last week, the posting had to wait. I really don’t like July (my apologies to those who love this month) because for the past years it has always been associated with unfortunate and unexpected losses. This year despite being the same gloomy and rainy July it has always been, I gained worthwhile realizations about life and God’s love and goodness.

We went to Divisoria, the shopping mecca of Luzon, last July 12. We arrived at Buendia at almost 10 in the morning where we boarded a jeepney to Divisoria. Jeepneys are the most popular mode of transportation in the Philippines, in Manila and other parts of Luzon particularly, patterned after the American jeeps; passengers occupy the parallel seats at the back usually 6-10 passengers per side. It took some minutes before all seats were filled. Surprisingly, an officemate rode the same jeep with her mother and aunt.

Since it was an 18-seater jeepney and three tall boxes were obstructing the front view, I decided not to pay attention on the road anymore. Approximately three minutes after leaving Buendia, I sensed a commotion slowly building up. I realized that some of the passengers were screaming, “Babangga!” I immediately faced front to check what’s going on but it was too late because our jeep was fast approaching the right side of the street. Then off to a very sudden stop. The impact was so strong, I heard sounds of crushed and pounded metals. Apparently, the jeep hit the back part of an SUV who just came from a U-turn. The jeepney driver was so mad even if he's at fault. After the accident, most of us abandoned the jeep and transferred.

Fortunately (if this is the proper term to use), another Divisoria-bound jeep was following our previous ride so we did not spend much time waiting for a new ride.

Inside the second jeep, all of us were talking and discussing about the accident. We thought the mishap was over not until we reached the bridge near the Post Office when the man sitting on the extreme right of the jeepney (away from the driver) said, “Walang gagalaw, holdap to” while showing his 38-caliber gun. Then he said, “Pare, sige kunin mo na yan!” talking to the man seated beside my mother (we occupied the second, third and fourth seats on the left side away from the driver, the second man was seated on the fifth). My officemate was on the opposite side of the second man, so it was very easy for him to grab her phone. He was also forcing her to give her bag but she did not want to so the second man took her mother’s bag instead.

When I saw what was happening with my officemate, I was so frightened. It’s a common knowledge that in a situation like this, all passengers need to give up their stuff in exchange for their own safety (supposedly). What if after getting all our things, the man randomly fires his gun? What if we get hurt? What if we die? I thought that if my officemate will not give up her bag, the man might shoot her. Plus, I could not imagine and never imagined me and my parents walking so many kilometers just to reach home. With all these in mind, I cried while the incident was happening. While crying, the hold-upper with the gun looked at me and calmly said, “Ne, wag kang umiyak hindi ka naman kasama.” (Young lady, don’t cry. We would not include you.) But I was so afraid that I didn’t stop crying. Then he talked to me again and said, “Ne, pag hindi ka tumigil isasama kita.” (Young lady, stop crying or else you will be included.) So, I immediately covered my mouth and composed myself. Another lady on the right side near the driver was being forced by the second man to give up her bag but she refused to give it until she got all her cards and id’s out from of the bag. Because the jeepney was halfway at the Jones Bridge (there’s a police outpost situated at the end of the bridge) the man with a gun told the driver to slow down so they can alight the jeep.

After reporting the incident to the concerned police stations, we still went to Divisoria riding the same jeepney. But before transferring to another police station, we uttered a prayer of thanks for keeping us safe and asking Him to guide us and keep us safe for the whole day. I believe that nobody in this world would ever want to experience that very frightening incident. But looking on the brighter side, it taught me realizations about life and made me believe (time and time again) that my God is faithful and true to His promises.

As Timothy Pina puts it,

"There's a thin line between life and death. It's God's Grace that shows us how fragile we all are.”

(Hearts of Haiti: Book of Poetry & Inspiration, source here)

I realized that life and death is just separated by a very thin line. Had that gun been fired to anyone of us, nobody knows what fate awaits us, we could have just sustain injuries and survived or the worst could happen. This shows how fragile our life is and how easily it can be taken away from us.

With God all things are possible. ~ Matthew 19:26 

I was so frightened for the things that may occur, I felt so helpless that crying was the only option I had and I felt so terrible because I could not believe how ‘lucky’ that day was. Lucky in a sense that after an accident, here we are trapped again in the midst of another uneventful circumstance. That was very unfair and an escape to this was very impossible. But it was possible... 

God didn’t made us invisible so we may escape. Instead, He allowed it to happen because He wants us to learn something from it. Confronted by danger face-to-face, it’s a relief  knowing that nobody was hurt, we got to keep our stuff (except for the two cellphones and a bag that was forcefully taken) and we were still able to do our agenda that day. Impossible if we think, recalling the news we’ve been hearing about the same circumstance, but believe it was possible because it happened.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him. ~ Lamentations 3:22-24

The Lord proved time and time again that He is ever present. That night I felt nothing but gratefulness because after everything that transpired we all came home safe and sound. Indeed, God’s love, mercy and goodness never fail. He will always be present to help us in every difficulty. As written in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” He is there to comfort us in times we feel alone and sad, strengthen us in times of weakness and helplessness, guide us when we are lost and love us when we feel nobody does. He is there and will always be there, He is just a prayer away.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. ~ Psalm 107:1

Do not forget to thank God for His unfailing love. He loved us so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die so we may be saved from sins. 

Remember this:

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