prayer in time of suffering

When I think I’m going under, part the waters, Lord;
When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea;
When I cry for help, O hear me, Lord
And hold out Your hand
Touch my life, still the raging storm in me.

(-From the song “Part the Waters”)

I was having a late Sunday lunch of longsilog when these lines of a song came to mind. Got me thinking, Is this a selfish prayer? Should God be seen only as a source of relief – as a divine 911 solely for our emergency situations? What if He chooses not to save us from some of our storms but instead opt to accomplish his purposes while we faithfully soak and shiver in the raging wind and rain?

I immediately solicited input from some friends via text. Most of them replied that it’s not a selfish prayer at all, but an honest one, in fact not unlike David’s psalms when he was beset by great troubles. I guess they’re right. Nothing wrong or selfish about pleading to God for deliverance when life’s storms assail us.

However, could it be that a cry for help, although valid in itself, is an incomplete prayer-response to difficulty? My knee-jerk reaction to suffering or difficulty is to want immediate resolution or deliverance, as though problems were life’s anomalies instead of expected occurrences. (Didn’t Jesus say that, “In this world, you will have troubles…”) What would happen if I looked at suffering differently – honestly admitting my weakness to deal with it apart from God’s help and pleading with Him to intervene, while at the same time truly seeking His will (which may or may not mean my idea of deliverance) for this my cup?

For now my humble prayer is, Father, help me to suffer well – for your glory.

look, ma, no wires

Yah-ooh! This is my first wireless tap dancin’ date with Kierk 🙂 Two weekends ago, after attending church service, I took note of the ubiquitous tarpaulin signs propped up on X-stands that littered the east wing of Robinsons Galleria. They announced: “Absolutely Free WiFi Access.” Goodie! Time to test Kierk’s wireless powers!

And so here I am, at Bo’s Coffee, happily tap dancin’ while slurping blended coffee. The signal is strong. Except for a minor glitch at start-up, I haven’t been disconnected even once. Now I only have to worry about power. I’m running on batteries as of now, and that gives me a maximum of 2 hours of computing. Next mission: Find a sweet spot near a power outlet.

I could live here 🙂

new day

There is something to be said about each new day. We fail to tap into a powerful reservoir of hope and grace when we fail to grasp that a new day – from the instant our eyes squint at the morning sunlight to the moment they droop in slumber at night – is a fresh gift lovingly bestowed upon us by the Ancient of Days. Many of us live as though our days are merely reruns of previous episodes, recycled events. We allow life’s routines and problems to blind us and rob us of the opportunity to live emboldend by the potent newness and vast possibility inherent in a set of 24 hours. And so we spend the seconds, minutes, and hours of a new day the way have spent them before, going through the monotonous motions and leaving little room for anything out of the ordinary.

We shame Today by living it the same way we had lived Yesterday, with little or no prospect of ever deciding to do differently Tomorrow. Worse, we mock the faithful Giver of new days when we live our days as though they were one long day – no rest, no newness, no faith. What we need is a humble and awesome sense of the fresh, sufficient portions of mercies that God graciously blesses us with each and every day. Then we begin to trust God. We find the heart to shake off the lethargy of safety and stride in faith. We learn to live – truly live – one new day at a time.

heart song

Maker of this heart of mine
You know me very well
You understand my deepest parts
More than I know myself…

So let the cold winds blow
And let the storms rage all around
I’ll trust in You, Shepherd of my heart

From “Shepherd of My Heart”)

adventure post script

Just an update about my little adventure in Tacloban the other weekend. You can tell from these pics that, yes, I got there in one piece and, yes, I had a good time 🙂 It was one day well spent.

On the San Juanico Bridge (the longest Philippine bridge;

connecting Samar and Leyte) with Kuya Cris and Ate Violee
of our Cebu office.

“Come and get me, Douglas!” Me at the MacArthur Landing.
What can I say, the dude
did return.

One of the expensive artifacts (this one’s from China, I think)
in Imelda Marcos’s (sickeningly extravagant) Sto. Nino Shrine.

Time to work… Thanks to the PCBS peeps for the warm reception 🙂


This is very interesting. In about 5 hours I will be taking the PAL flight to Tacloban City for a work-related thing. Up until today, the details of this travel have not been really clear. My companions are traveling by sea from Cebu, while I will be flying in alone from Manila. It’ll be my first time in the area. I know the name, address, and phone number of the place where we’re supposed to lodge. And… uhm, that’s about it. Hehe. I should be panicky and all but, alas, I am not.

Well, maybe not yet?

With the many stressful things going on in my life now, I think I have reached a level of stress overload that has triggered a protective mechanism which renders me less senstive and reactive to potential stressors. Uhm… say that again? Then there’s the simpler explanation: the prayers of those I have cried SOS to are being heard! 🙂 “I’ve got peace like a river… I’ve got peace like a river… (with matching actions)”

Well, I really should be sleeping or packing – haven’t decided which of them should come first. Just thought I’d blog before I embark on my little Visayan adventure. This is also my way of letting my friends know that if you don’t hear from me in two days, you had better look for me! One of a hundred dreadful traveling incidents might have happened to me! Waahhh! Okay, now I’m starting to panic. Kidding 🙂 For whatever it’s worth, I’m looking at this as an adventure. (Gulp.)

P.S. For my trip, I’m wearing this cool, yellow shirt I stumbled upon at SM North EDSA:

Who knows, it just might help ward off evil-doers who intend to inflict harm on a clueless, overworked traveler 😉 I’ll just make sure they read the print and see me drool and wink at them. Eew.


If I recall correctly, I think it’s Larry King who says to himself in the morning, “I will not learn anything new from what I say today,” (or something to that effect) to remind himself to listen more than he talks. There is wisdom there. While King is compelled to intently listen as part of his interviewing job, we could all use his reminder to shut up and listen – really listen – more and more in our daily interaction with people. Imagine the things we could be learning from others if only we take an extra effort to rein in our tongues and open our ears.

Of course, there are more things to listen to than merely the spoken words. In many ways, the eyes are also “ears” with which we “listen”. Gestural embellishments, nuances in facial expression, vocal intonations – they all have messages to impart (not that we interpret them accurately all the time). Anyone who’s taken a basic communication class knows as much. But not everyone is keen on attending to these nonverbal cues, to enjoy them, decode their messages, and learn from them. If you’re like me, you get caught up in the words – mostly yours.

Yes, listening is a challenge for people like me who are naturally talkative and, somehow by default, impatient. Most of the time during excited conversation, I am guilty of finishing the other person’s sentences, rudely taking over at the slightest hint of a pause. Not that I don’t pause at all, because I do, but usually it’s to catch my breath or to organize a thought; I ought to pause more often simply to listen and take in what the other person is saying. Lest you think that I am the most self-centered conversationist ever, I should announce that I am (finally) learning to listen, and discovering that it is a wondrous gift – not only to the person I am interacting with, but also to myself.

Nothing new or profoundly insightful there, really. Hmm… Perhaps people have been trying to tell me this all along… and I failed to listen?