Thursday, November 07, 2013

Chain of Thoughts Before Yolanda Hits

At this point, based on current meteorological trajectory data, super-typhoon Yolanda (the international name is Haiyan) is on its way here.  Tentative arrival is on Friday.  If it’s anything like 2006’s Reming, then it’s going to be terrifying.   Of course, if the cold front thickens to blanket the Philippines, forcing the typhoon downwards, away from us, then that would be great.  It’s unlikely, but all things are possible with God.  Praying for a miracle. 

Anyway, some thoughts before Ms. Yolanda makes her entrance:
  • I dread the death and destruction that it could leave.  One Reming is enough for a lifetime.  
  • Back in 2006, I have never been well acquainted to anybody living on impoverished communities.  But now, ever since becoming a member of Joy Church and part of its ministries, I know lots.  I have friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and Sunday School students that are in poor housing conditions.  I worry about them.  I pray for them greatly.  May they be safe and never waver in their faith in God. 
  • The list of people I pray for in this super-typhoon is longer now compared to the time during 2006’s Reming.  Yolanda, which has a massive 900-kilometer diameter, will also affect some good friends of mine in the Visayas area.  I pray for them as well. 
  • My primary superficial concern: This typhoon will surely bring a power outage.  Back in 2006, in the aftermath of Reming, we had no electricity for more than a month.  I pray that if there will be a power outage, it will only for a few days at most.  Having no electricity always sucks, and it’ll suck big time if it will also last a month this time around.
  • The silver lining when there’s no electricity is there is only one pastime left for me to do: reading.  I got tons of unread books.  With no netbook (it’s 4 years old already and its battery is so battered that it can’t last for more than fifteen minutes) and Internet – no Facebook, no blogs, no games, no downloading and streaming of movies and TV shows – to distract me, I can focus solely to reading.  Bought two huge candles for this. 
  • Aside from candles, I have also stocked myself with Piattos.  To enhance those reading sessions.
  • Good thing is, we are being more prepared this time around.  Pre-emptive measures are done.  Expecting that the tenacious spirit of the “uragon” Bicolanos will make us ride through this storm.
  • This cat of mine is as badass as Batman.  He survived Reming outside of our house.  He was actually in a lengthy hiatus back then; had never showed himself for months.  Then, after Reming, he just appeared out of nowhere. We have no idea where he found sanctuary amidst all those deadly winds, powerful rains, and widespread flood.  But there he was, alive.  He stared down Reming and kicked its butt.  This guy is a survivor. (Really, he’s a true badass.  Back in late 2011, he was badly hurt.  I don’t know what happened but he had a nasty wound on his head – it was as if he was halfway scalped by an Apache Indian – and his ear was shredded and dangling down.  I even contemplated on conducting euthanasia on him.  However, he recovered from that.  A majority of his right ear was cut, for it was rotting already.  But the terrible “scalping” healed well.  Aside from losing an ear, overall, he’s fine).  I now joke about letting him out when Yolanda hits to see if he’ll repeat the feat.  Deep inside, I believe he can.      
  • There is indeed power in prayer, but a lot of people misunderstand what it means.  It annoys me greatly that some people believe that whenever they are spared from calamities in the past it is because of their repeated chanting of a specific special prayer for the deliverance of calamities.  That is completely fallacious and is pure arrogance.  If we have been spared from a calamity, then that is because of God’s grace.  And please don’t say that those two are the same thing.  No, they aren’t.  We do not put our faith, hope, and reliance on a drafted prayer; we should put our faith, hope, and reliance on God and God alone.  We are saved from destruction because of His grace, not because of the act of praying a particular prayer.  Since if we claim that it was because of the repetition of a “specialized prayer” that led or compelled God to save us from calamity, we are undermining and dishonoring God – reducing him to a mere “genie” that grants our wishes if we recite a specific script enough times.  Moreover, by this practice, prayer is transformed into as if it’s a magic charm that is being cast by repeated chanting.  The credit and cause of protection start and end with God.  He does answer prayers but He is not a subject to our prayers.  He answers prayers that are already in accordance to His will. 
  • Just look at the size of that.  Lord, have mercy on us.  

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