Friday, January 31, 2014


(the bushfire remnants a day after)

I stand at the front door and I see a once lush greenery and home to many wildlife, now all burned up from the bushfire.  Yes, my house almost got burned.  The bushfire was too close for comfort, just 25 meters away!

The trail of destruction has left me, my family and our whole community reeling in shock and asking why on earth such a disaster should occur. And the thought these fires were caused by ‘arson’ evokes  so much anger and frustration.

Those with a faith in God, myself included are in many ways facing the necessity to question God’s sovereignty over this particular life-threatening event.  Many friends and family both here and overseas prayed that life and property would be spared.  Yes, I am grateful that my house stands intact, but what if it wasn’t?  It prompts me to question and doubt:  Did God not have the strength to calm the flames? Or alternatively, I am  forced to doubt God’s goodness, toying with the possibility that the all-powerful creator is at best distantly careless, hearing our prayers but wilfully choosing to let them slip by the wayside?

Just a week before this event,  At least 50+ homes have been destroyed after a massive bushfire in the Perth Hills area and a man has been killed while preparing his home for a separate blaze in the area.

My homeland, the Philippines, has recently been struck by a super typhoon called ‘Haiyan’ causing massive destruction and countless deaths. It was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6200+ people in the country alone.  As of this writing, bodies are still being found as my countrymen continue to clean up the major city of Tacloban.  My island was partly spared by a mere fraction.  However, major parts of Tacloban had been wiped out.  Days and hours before ‘Haiyan’ devoured the heart of the country, christians prayed for God to calm the storm.  But the storm devoured so many lives, and homes and properties. 

Again, it leaves me to question.  Did the people of Tacloban not pray enough?  How can I reconcile the many lives lost with an all powerful, all loving Father who seeks the best for his people?

The more I ponder deep, the more I am forced to stand in awe of the sheer magnitude of God. The more I study the life, teachings and work of Jesus, the more I am blown away by just how relevant He is to me today in all my circumstance.

You see, if we are working within a framework which asserts that our subjective experiences are the ultimate test for God’s power and goodness, then we are bound to be left flailing at the end of a misguided faith journey.  

 (the day after - smoke still in the horizon.  I used to get into the bush
and listen to the musical tweets of the birds in the morning)

(the 'firies' - relentless, brave and my modern-day heroes!  
They never left our street until all the fire has been put out)

On the one hand, if we are open to a greater possibility, then I believe that the reality of God’s presence in our lives becomes more than just a peripheral figure--- it becomes the solid foundation on which everything else in our life is built.

If it is a fundamentally true statement that “God is good” as the Bible claims, then His goodness is true no matter what our personal circumstances may be. I believe that God’s goodness runs far deeper.  I may be on the brink of losing a loved one, or  losing all that I have, but God is still good. He is ALL GOOD!

(Gloria, our friend kangaroo, our regular friend 
and visitor every night came back 
with a limp and burnt tail)

And so this is where my mind comes to rest- not so much at questions of goodness or of power, but at questions of plan and of purpose.  But right now, with my Bible open beside me and my thoughts on the things of God, I am not dissatisfied nor do I feel overwhelmed by what is ahead. Rather, I hope and pray that in all of this, God’s will might be done and I look forward to the chance to one day look back on these days and see what God’s plan was all along.

Always, God is good.

I have recently commissioned a friend to restore an old and rugged frame and turn it into something useful, a blackboard.  This frame, once painted in gold, then in turquoise, now painted with ash white.  It has been distressed and crackled.  The turn out is amazing!    Underneath the new paint of ash white, is turquoise and gold, to represent  new beginnings, new discoveries, and the past memories --- both a treasure and irreplaceable!