By Batas Mauricio
FROM another angle, it is now clear that Yolanda did not only bring death and destruction in its wake. It also immortalized as heroes the men and women from media who refused to seek their own safety just so they could continue discharging their duties to inform and educate the public, even as the wrath of the super storm ravaged through Tacloban City, giving up their lives in the process.
I therefore salute and pray for these colleagues who were killed in action while doing their work: DyVL Aksiyon Radyo’s Allan Medino and Ronald Vinas and DyBR’s Archie Globio and Malou Realino. May God bless their souls, forgive them their sins and bring them to eternal life in His presence. I pray, too, for the families they left behind, that God will provide for them as they go through life.
For Allan, Ronald, Archie, Malou, it was clear that they followed one rule that gave them the courage to challenge Yolanda’s ferocity as they performed their duties: they worked with all their best, as if they were working for God, as 1 Corinthians 10:31 of the Holy Bible says: whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.
Let us not deny it anymore. Indeed, there is no system in place in the Philippines which is mandated to take effective control when a calamity strikes. Yes, we have the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council with its counterpart councils among local
government units, the Office of Civil Defense of the Department of National Defense, the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
But then, not one of them was ever effectively prepared for the kind of disaster that Yolanda brought. In fact, not one in the Philippines is ever prepared for the ever-increasing death and destruction coming from rains, floods, and strong winds. Why?
Because no one seems to want, or be willing to understand (for fear of being called an idiot or a fool), that there is a spiritual dimension to all these and that, consequently, everyone, from President Aquino down to each and every barangay captain, are all clueless as to what to do. Unless we wake up to the reality that there is a spiritual angle to all these rains, floods and winds, we will have more death and destruction from them in the very near future.
From lawyer Demaree Barangan Raval, in a Facebook post: “This is from my cousin in Germany: `Lufthansa was reserving a plane with equipment and help to get to Tacloban. There was a hitch though, this generous humane effort had been delayed because Lufthansa was waiting to pay taxes to get into the country! My! My! My! When will insensitivity and stupidity in following bureaucratic policies, like charging taxes to humanitarian efforts, stop?’” Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, reply please?
From my cousin, Renato Mauricio: “Everyone knew, especially the present administration, that Yolanda was packing winds at 195 miles per hour and would make a landfall on Friday. The wind speed of 195mph would really be devastating, and would wreck everything in its path. Residents should have been evacuated to safer grounds, not just issued warnings, hours before Yolanda struck. Sen. Joker Arroyo seems right, it looked like a student council is in our midst.”
Here is a third appeal I am making in connection with the Yolanda tragedy, for Filipino Christians: we must organize preachers, pastors and teachers of the Bible to go to the areas ravaged by Yolanda, particularly in the Leyte-Samar areas, and try to comfort the victims with the Word of God, side by side with the relief efforts being done now. The victims need spiritual counseling now, more than ever, so they can be taught that we all need God, especially in times of calamities like these!
To all Christian believers of whatever denomination or sect nationwide, let me make this appeal: there is a more effective and better way to help our countrymen who bore the brunt of Yolanda, instead of the usual donations of relief goods, or volunteering for relief work. Donating and volunteering, if you care to think about it, will not really help anyone in the long run.
If we really want to help the victims and their families, and if we want to avert similar calamitous results from rains, floods and strong winds in the future, let us start among ourselves a regimen of reading the Bible daily, meditating on what we’ve read, and then insisting on ourselves complete and careful obedience to what the Bible wrote as God’s commands.
This is the only way to help our country and our people now. We must bring back the Filipino nation to God, not by any nebulous or esoteric attempt, but by simply requiring each one of us believers to listen to Him by reading His Bible, by thinking and meditating on His commands, and then obeying them.
Many will surely not understand this appeal I am making now, especially those whose hearts, minds, souls and spirits have been separated from God for very long times now, principally because they have never taken the time to listen to God through His Bible, never meditated on its verses, and never obeyed His commands.
But Christian believers of any sect or denomination who have been reading the Bible should know better, should know the power that comes from even just reading and meditating on the Word of God, and more so from obeying it. We know that if we read the Bible, we are in fact with God, for the Word is God.
We know that the Word of God is the power of God for the salvation of believers, anywhere they maybe. We know that the Word of God is alive and active, and is sharper than any double-edged sword. We know that the Word of God can give us anything we need and can prolong our lives. We know that when we obey the Word of God, we overcome anything and everything, even to the point of saving others, too.
The Word of God can make us righteous before God, and when we are righteous before God, He will even relent in His anger against sin and sinfulness, and would agree to spare the sinners from destruction, simply because of our righteous status for being obedient to His Word.
The story of Abraham in Genesis 18:16-33 points this out. When God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of the sinfulness of the people, He told Abraham about this. Abraham then bargained and pleaded with God to spare the cities, if there were still righteous inhabitants therein. God relented, and said He will not carry out the destruction, if there were at least 10 righteous men.
Apparently because there were no longer any righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah, they were destroyed just the same. But the important thing to remember here is that God will stay His punishing hand if there remain righteous men and women, no matter how small their number maybe. That is what we Filipino Christian believers should aspire for.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org