“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37
“…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” -Job 1:21b
One of my jobs in #HoisttheSails was to give counsel and pray for those who needed someone to talk to.
My last and most meaningful counseling was Ate Marlyn. She’s a social worker. She lost her 3 children in the storm. Her youngest was supposed to turn three years old last December. Only she, her husband, and her eldest daughter, Pauline (14 y.o.), survived. She was silently crying as she shared her story, but you could sense courage & strength as she spoke.
What do you say?
I don’t know what it feels like to lose a child. What more three?
I’m not a mother nor am I a wife.
I’ve never even experienced a storm that terrible.
I felt I had no right to give counsel and encouragement.
What do you say?
But my guilt and self-pity have no use in this work.
Should I condemn myself and just go back home and not do anything just because I haven’t experienced what others have experienced?
It shouldn’t stop me from helping, serving, blessing.
I talked to Ate Marlyn in Tagalog (having the mindset that she’s a social worker, a mother and a wife):
Marlyn, your babies are in heaven already. They’re very happy. They will never experience darkness anymore. They’ll never lose their way. They’ll never face harm and danger and the possibility of falling into the traps of drug addiction, prostitution, alcoholism. They are free. They are saved.
Ate Marlyn, I know it’s very painful, but sometimes, the Lord allows us to go through something like this so that we can help others who are going through the same pain. Especially you’re a social worker. You can understand them better now and see them through because you yourself experienced this. Now, the love that you have for your three babies, gather it and shower it on Pauline and your husband.
And then she surprised me with what she said:
I’m just thinking, isn’t it that Job experienced this also?
Me: Ate Marlyn, are you Christian?
Me: I’m Christian too. (she smiled) Ate Marlyn, your babies just went ahead of you.
Marlyn: Yes, I know they’re in heaven already. When we were holding on to dear life, I just kept praying, “Lord, Thy will be done. Thy will be done.” My trust in God is whole. I just ask for prayers for strength.
Me: You’re in the right path. The Lord still wants you to do something because you’re still alive. Take care of your family. Pauline and your husband need you the most now. Just go back to work because work can also bring healing.
She agreed with everything. We prayed. When we ended, she had a big beautiful smile on her face. It wasn’t a polite smile…it was pure joy. I embraced her.
I went there with the goal of wanting to be a blessing but I was most blessed. Marlyn showed me what it means to have real faith. To be more than a conqueror. It must be tough not to know God and His love. We can truly be more than conquerors THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US. Not because we’re worthy or good or strong or courageous or powerful. It’s because of His love. His indescribable, unshakeable, unchangeable love…
“In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years’ War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, and average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children:
“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things had done,
In whom His world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.”
Just do what you have to do…serve Him and love Him best.