The Luzon part of the Philippines is currently under the mercy of Typhoon Maring. We’ve been experiencing torrential rains since the weekend and it’s only really today that we’ve felt this sort of calm. Some places are still partially submerged, but otherwise, rain has already pretty much abated.
My church friends and I checked up on each other this morning and discussed how since Ondoy, citizens of the Philippines (Manila, in particular) have been practicing CONSTANT! VIGILANCE! and are now more prepared, less stubborn, and much quicker at enforcing rescue operations. We’re in a (moderately) better place now, figuratively speaking, and everything else after that incident has been taken in stride (at least that’s what I’d like to think).
Anyway, I was going through my Twitter feed when I read this retweet:
Sa sobrang sama kasi ng ugali natin. Ayan, pinaparusahan tayo ni God. :”(
Loosely translated: “God is punishing us now because we’re such terrible people!”
And now I’m typing this blog because this statement just got me so riled up. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on Christianity or religion or whatevs, so please know that whatever I type from here on in is based purely on my personal experiences and what I’ve learned while trying to grow in my faith.
I’ve long since let go of the notion that if I do something bad, God will punish me. Or that if I keep doing good, God will NOT punish me. For example: pre-cancer, I’ve always tried to live responsibly and in harmony with other people (sans the momentary bitch fits). I went to mass every Sunday and didn’t receive communion until I’ve confessed all my sins. And yet I got sick with something so deadly. My first question for God then was, “WHY? WHY ME? WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG TO DESERVE THIS?” And the answer? NOTHING. I’ve done nothing wrong
except stress myself out, eat junk food, and totally stave off sleep. But He allowed for it to happen so I would be where I am now (i.e. much more responsible, less tactless, and not so spiritually-empty).
In the time that has passed since then, I’ve learned that God will never give us something that we can not handle. Whatever doesn’t kill us will make us stronger; and if it does kill us, it’s just because we’ve already fulfilled our purpose in the world. You can claim that my faith is blinding me, but I don’t find anything illogical in choosing to stay positive despite all the trials that get thrown my way.
But staying positive, having faith and hope, isn’t the only thing we should be doing. We should also make sure that we ACT accordingly as well. In the case of this storm, we can’t just claim that God is punishing us for our arrogance. This isn’t even God’s fault, but ours! Our country’s infrastructures are already mediocre at best, without the garbage of a million people irresponsibly strewn everywhere, clogging drainage systems. Then there’s the current issue of stolen funds and how it could have been used for the development of said infrastructures… but, you know, one issue at a time.
Point is, all these are but repercussions of our carelessness toward the environment; the world which God created for us to live in. He is not punishing us for being terrible, for He is a wonderful and merciful God; slow to anger, and rich in kindness and compassion!
I asked my dad this before typing this entry: “But doesn’t it say in the bible that God struck down all His enemies and stuff?” And he answered saying, “But that was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the covenant with God was renewed. When He sent Jesus, everything changed.” I researched about this as well, and I found this on the interwebs:
When Jesus died, he brought into affect the New Covenant.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15
Since we all live today after the cross, from God’s time-line perspective, we are living in the age of the New Covenant. The new covenant is one where God remembers our sins no more.
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. – Hebrews 10:16-18
Moral of the story? Don’t ever let me read tweets like this ’cause you’re just going to bring out the spiritual activist in me. KIDDING. (Not really.) But no, seriously. Do your part in saving the environment. Clean up! Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Don’t litter! Lessen your carbon footprint! Keep calm and carry on. When able, help those who are in need. Don’t blame God for your inequities. Thank Him for everything else that is going RIGHT in your life.
I admire one of my friends who posted about their house already being flooded and how they had to evacuate to the second floor. Yet she claimed that she was “still blessed”.
We have been made strong enough over the course of a few years to withstand the storms, literal or figurative, in our lives. You’re still tweeting. You’re still reading this blog entry. You’re still alive and able to help others in need. SO DO IT and be thankful for the chance to be able to do it.
On this note, please do check out these links:
– Important hashtags for government and media to monitor situations around the metro
– Relief response needed from people living in the south
And this concludes my being preachy. I leave you with this very inspiring song. Stay strong, safe, and faithful, my friends.