One Shooting in SM Iloilo

You know when a noise brews something bad. I was in SM Iloilo yesterday, wondering if I would buy some fruits but then I encountered something I just see in movies. There was a shoot out and I almost got caught in the middle!

First there were three loud bullet shots, PAK! PAK! PAK!

I surveyed what was happening whether it was just firecrackers or just structure falling or what. And then there was another PAK! PAK!

I knew they were gunshots. And I guess the rest of the people because they started to run and in about 3 seconds, people are all outside the mall. Some ladies were crying, and men were catching their breaths together with me.

And then there was exchanges among the crowd who turned back to look a good distance away from the doors of SM. It was dark but you can see the unmistakeable mark of panic among the people. By this time, the SM crowd as well as the people in the nearby streets were all transfixed on bright windows of shops that line up the SM walls.

I felt alone.

The dialect is Ilonggo and everyone assumes I’m one of them. Some guy about my age, even attempted a short talk to diffuse the tension. But I just remained silent, which he took as just understandable, I guess. You don’t really expect people to be talkative after a shootout that you all escaped.  All I can make up is that two men have met in the CR and then started shooting at each other.

At the end of the commotion, two men were accosted via a makeshift stretcher out of the mall. I was not sure if either of them was dead.

Another day in my life. I just realized one thing though. One bullet may have strayed and got in my way and right then and there, I  may be one of those being delivered out in a stretcher.

But you don’t think about those things until after all is settled. I walked out and away from the scene after having witnessed enough.

Walking alone towards my hotel, caught in so much wonder…What if?……  One shooting reminded me of one sure thing.  It made indelible of how much I am so unmindful of the way the Lord protects in the many small unnoticeable ways of His.  I could have been right there just feet away where those two men were exchanging shots, directly in between the crossfires, but thank the heavens I was not!  I was thinking and thanking the Lord for all the times He kept me safe, even now as I’m typing all of these.

As well as for tomorrow when I will surely take for granted His preservations while being busy with everyday things.


Lessons from a Quadriplegic (or Blessings from a Hurting Foot)

Like all of you, I have my shares of down days.  True to the curse of the Bible, problems abound in this life.  Recently, I had my share of misfortunes. Business went bad and for a couple of people, I had been a villain.  I didn’t want to, and I didn’t intend to.  In fact, let me say, I wasn’t. But you know, like all fallen humanity, I esteem myself too much often.  So, let me say, perhaps I was a villain.  Doubtless, I have my evils but then when I look back, I think for the most part, I did what I could do best not to let the evils spread, whether mine or otherwise.

But misfortunes don’t always come in big packages with a lot of complexities. For example, have you ever  struck your little toe on the edge of a chair or a bed?  Uuughh… hurts, don’t it? Have you ever thank the Lord for it?

I had the chance to listen to an audiobook recently, Place of Healing: Wrestling With the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Erikson Tada.  It recounts the new pains suffered by a quadriplegic.  Christian Audio has recently given the world a free download of it. (It’s free, and if I were you, I would download it. Sorry for a short notice but it ends by the end of this month.)

There are many times defeat would make you realize how sad this life is. But then, when you come to think of it, there are many blessings we forego to consider as just given.  Have you ever thanked the Lord for hurting? Long ago, I had read another book written by Phillip Yancey and Dr. Phillip Brand titled, The Gift of Pain, where they said, pain is a gift from God that reminds us that there is something wrong.

In a leper colony, Dr. Brand has ruminated on the blessings that pain enable us to do, as opposed to the loss of pain that lepers suffer.

Now as to Joni’s book, I was incredibly blessed. Some of my pains have seared my days but it was ok. I was managing my affairs as best as I can.  When I (audio) read Joni’s book, I celebrated my freedoms and counted my blessings.

Thank you Joni. You don’t know me, but I was blessed by your book. You actually have made me realize how a spoiled man I am, complaining to God when I have so many things to be thankful for, two functional legs and two arms for starters.  You have made careless people like me appreciate the blessings in the ordinary life.

Truly God is wise to have chosen you to be a bearer of this challenge. Thru it, you have blessed so many people and have been an instrument  of the Lord to appease hearts that question his goodness.

Your story is such so powerful, it has enabled me to see hope and joy in the midst of pain…yes even in little moments when I get my foot hit in life’s lowly corners.

Theology in a Toy Store

A Toy Store in TrinomaA parent often suffers heartbreak in a toy store. Most especially when you see your child with rounded-eyes, caught up in excitement, asks you, “Can I have this dad?”

Every parent wants to own the toy store, when your kid is in it.  I wish I could say, “Grab all the things you want, to your heart’s content.” Toys! They bring so much joys to children. And toy stores abound not really because of kids, but because parents pay the price of their existence.


But then, you go to calculate, perhaps with your limitations, you can’t afford to have all the toys you’d ever want your kids to have. First, you’d have to contend how much they would modify your budget, second the space they would deduct from your house. And then, when you think about it too, toys are a just passing fancy. One minute, your kid keeps quiet and behaved when you buy them, and then just a few hours or days, the kid has another hunger for another toy.

But still, on a toy store just recently, my eyes were almost wet and there was a lump on my throat. Seeing my kid wanting so much toys, I wanted to buy her all till she’s satisfied. But then I can’t. It’s all too much for the current budget. I’m sure every common parent must have had that dilemma.

And then I remembered, Jesus the Lord,

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mat 7:11 ESV)”

As far as I can, I want to be a good father to my kids. But the deeper parts of me, I know I lack many things, sinner that I am.  But as I was gazing my child in a toy store, wanting to bring so much for her because I know that those things would make her happy, I was transfixed with the thought of how God the Father would bring so much joy to us, when He gives us all things, when even ultimately He would give us all of Him, yes Himself, because of Christ’s work.

As Science channels tells us how infinite the universe is, can you imagine How much more infinite the Maker of it is?  In fact, the word infinite is an understatement. He would bring us so much joy, much more than the universe can ever contain.  And that is so much true, even as much as a universe truer than as much as I want to buy all the things my kid wants in a toy store.

In the meantime, there is so much suffering in this life, I know.  And so as when it was in the time of the Apostle Paul.  But I always tell myself this is oh so true because I can feel its truth, standing as a father to my kid in a toy store.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32 ESV)

In the meantime, we wait as kids. And tell you what: one afternoon, 2000 years ago, thru someone’s bloody hands, our Father has already paid the cost of everything.