Saturday, March 17, 2012

More Than Grateful

(originally written on December 18, 2010)

The ugly bruise on my right arm has faded but my recollection of a wonderful miracle it represents still remains so vivid. And I don’t think I will ever forget about it.

I could have died from a “supposedly fatal” vehicular accident on the night of December 7 in Isabela, after we distributed housing assistance to 200 families affected by typhoon Juan. The vehicle we rode in on our way back to our staff house was a total wreck. It hit a concrete barrier really hard before it turned turtle. There were five of us inside including the driver (kuya Tophe, Crislyn, kuya Ruel, kuya Frank and myself -- all the men were fathers to very young kids!). Everyone who witnessed how the accident happened, including a number of our colleagues and volunteers, thought they would see a bloody and scary picture of death when they came to our rescue.

But very shortly after the shocking scene, the greatest display of God’s power I have ever experienced happened. All five of us got out of the vehicle UNHARMED…not a single drop of blood nor a tiny piece of broken glass on our bodies.

Everything happened in less than ten seconds. We were approaching a dangerous curve after a smooth drive along a long bridge. We overtook the van our colleagues were riding. Then the vehicle swerved uncontrollably. I began to close my eyes. I didn’t shout. I just uttered in my heart, “Lord, into Your hands I commit my spirit” and waited to pass out and die.

I remained conscious the whole time but I couldn’t remember feeling any pain nor hearing any frightening sound of our vehicle bumping on the concrete barrier then hitting the pavement hard. My eyes were closed but it felt like we were falling down for five seconds and then we “parked gently” still with our seatbelts fastened (I will always advocate for wearing of seatbelts at all times no matter where you’re seated).

We got out with all our belongings with us. The sight of the vehicle upside down on the edge of the road, almost falling over eight feet deep told me that my life could have ended there. I trembled and was so afraid. I wanted to cry but I didn’t know how to cry. We were immediately brought to the hospital but were released after an hour. The policeman who interviewed us said the area was really accident-prone and our experience was already the 100th time but the only time the passengers and the driver survived. All the other prior incidents took lives.

I wasn’t able to sleep that night as the scene kept flashing on my mind. I was afraid... and grateful at the same time. The messages, prayers, words of comfort and love I was receiving from colleagues and friends were also overwhelming! (My family didn't know yet. I chose to inform them when I reached home. It was the sweetest night in our home - ever!)

The next day, we had several tests to make sure we didn’t have any major injuries. Praise God, the results were all good! Not a single bone got broken. We were really untouched!

The reality of the accident and how God supernaturally protected us sank in me on the second night after it happened. It was mind-blowing! We have really experienced Psalm 91 firsthand – “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”  (verses 11-12) I can just imagine God’s angels working double time to make sure we’re all protected.

I can’t stop praising God! I realized how gracious, good, and loving the Lord is for letting me live more, see my family and loved ones again, do the things I love to do and experience more of His amazing presence in this world. The experience taught me to appreciate all that I have in my life – people, things, situations, His promises, my desires, hopes, dreams, challenges…everything!! Indeed, all that we are and all that we have are only because of His grace and lovingkindness.

And the God we trust, serve and love is both strong and loving. His hands are mighty to save and His heart is so tender towards us. His presence and protection – oh they’re so real! He’s our Life-Giver and Dream-Maker!

I never imagined I could be swept away by the sweetness of God’s favor from a traumatic experience. I have already received the best gift I could ever have this CHRISTmas – my life and a fresh revelation of the overwhelming love of God for me.

“The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Psalm 121:5-8

I am more than grateful! I’ll always be in awe of God’s love for me. May our mighty GOD be praised forever!

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