Two days ago, a little before noontime on a fair Friday, a menacing fire broke out in a nearby barangay, which spread into ours, devouring houses and business establishments along the way. The conflagration was fueled by a strong wind that, as fate would have it, was going our house’s direction. That day, I had one of the most emotional conversations I had with God.
I lost no time and ran out to help some relatives whose house was only in front of the alleged source of the fire. All of them were able to get out in time, but the things were beyond saving. The fire was so furious it dove and bypassed the firewall. When my aunt and her dog were put to safety, I came back to offer more help, only to find out that the fire already consumed the house from ground up. It was hungry for more. By the time it crossed the street, I was certain it would come for us.
Nearly only six houses away, my family decided to gather as many things as we could out of the house in an effort to salvage as much possessions. It was a fair day, the sun shone brightly, but the overcast cloud of smoke hung above us. Little pieces of gray ashes and charred wood fell from the sky. Smoke from the fire stung our eyes. I had watched that scene many times in the movies, but last Friday was my first full-view, first-row encounter with such grotesque fiend.
Miraculously, I was able to singlehandedly carry a large TV through one and a half flights of stairs. And as I was stowing law books, clothes, and anything I thought important into a sack, as everybody was panicking, as others were screaming for help, as hysteria reached higher level, I stopped on my tracks and had a hands-on epiphany: Everything we think we own through years of labor—books, gadgets, appliances, wardrobe—can be gone in an instant. All that we have are merely borrowed, and the owner can take them away anytime. ANYTIME. Ready or not, God can take everything away from us anytime he pleases. Because it is only by his grace and mercy that we have things to call our “own.”
Only four houses away and I was almost certain the fire would have our house and everything left in it for lunch. We were not able to get everything out—either because they were too difficult to carry or we were too physically drained already to carry any more. Minutes later, I saw the only fire truck leaving the fire scene. The people around me said it could no longer spray water because its tank had been dried out. Without a fire truck to combat the furious fire, our house and many other houses’ chance of surviving was dim. I began to expect the worst, but I refused to let go of God’s hand. I knew he was in control.
More moments of hysteria passed by, and I saw God’s first answer. A fire truck from Buenavista passed by the house and went straight to combat the fire, which was still consuming more and more structures. A few minutes and another fire truck came. (I am still crying as I type this. God is amazing. His test is never easy, but if we only hold on to him and trust him fully, whatever happens, he can get us out of any seemingly hopeless situation.)
There and then, the fire was snuffed out. I could imagine God putting his palm on the raging fire, covering it with his mighty hand until it was no more, saying, “This far you may come and no farther.” (Job 38:11, NIV)
I have never had a chance to update my blog since I started law school last year, but God gave me a new beginning—or, shall I say, an awakening. The least I could do is offer a blog entry for his glory. I will never tire praising you, Lord. You are my king, my lord, and my loving savior. I love you always. And I will do everything I can to make you smile.