I’m not one of those people who has visions or has witnessed fabulous miracles but I have always felt the quiet whisper of God in my ear. Most times it is to lead me do some task or take on a role that perhaps I may have struggled to accept.
Today, I know that sometimes God doesn’t just whisper, HE sends messages loud and clear. Such was the case which happened recently to me, perhaps because in my case I was happily oblivious, maybe even deaf to His will for me.
The month of June 2019 was pretty -much one of the most eventful periods of my life. I had been struggling with ministry work juggling between family – old and young. I felt the old doubts of whether I should just leave it all and concentrate on family and MYSELF. A break seemed in order.
It all began with an innocent family weekend trip to Phuket for some much- needed rest and recreation. I arrived with my husband and youngest daughter in high spirits on a Friday. We all love the outdoors and spent a day zip-lining in the tropical forests; we accompanied my daughter on a 50-metre drop, bungy-jump and explored the bustling streets of Phuket, feasting on great food and the odd bit of shopping.
On the day before we were to leave, the eve of Pentecost, as it happened, we had booked a full-day snorkelling trip to a remote and untouched beached known for its clear waters and sea-life. We took a short boat ride from a pier with many other tourists from different hotels. It was a beautiful day of snorkelling despite the intermittent rain and ended with a scrumptious lunch followed by free time.
My family and I lay back on deck chairs sprawled across a sandy beach together with the other 20 plus beach revellers on a quiet stretch of the beach. As we began to close our eyes and relax, I recall hearing an ominous cracking sound of something breaking overhead. The roof over us made of wooden beams and thatched roof began to give way and came crashing down. I vividly recall as if in slow motion the feeling of my world slowly getting darker and prayed somewhere in the back of my head- “God please save us”. Miraculously, the roof stopped its complete crash inches from the top of our heads although some taller ones experienced a nasty bump from the heavy wooden beams. There was a moment of surreal quiet as if everything had stopped in time. Then screams and as I saw an escape from the ground level, I scrambled on all fours on my knees and elbows followed by my daughter and husband …to safety. No one was seriously hurt that day, Praise the Lord. But everyone including families with young children looked shell-shocked and in total disbelief at our close call with danger.
The crashed roof (forefront) with people trying to lift parts to ensure no one was trapped beneath…
It took a potentially very serious accident to wake me up. The next day in church, in Phuket town I remember Pentecost took on a whole new meaning. We were truly thankful for His grace and mercy and yes, I joked that the Holy Spirit had come with a bang the day before. Yet, lying in bed that night I knew with certainty that I could only find real purpose in life, by serving Him without question (or at least too many questions) Life seemed so temporary – touch-and -go. All earthly pleasures fade; the only certainty is that we have to find our purpose here on earth, to be truly fulfilled.
My best made plans to enjoy life more- lying on the beach and sipping a cocktail surely seemed attractive enough to want to distract me from the more mundane task of serving God in the small things- now seemed so shallow.
And, my adventures didn’t end there as barely two weeks later as I prepared to say goodbye to my two elder daughters who are in the US, I was sent an abrupt “SMS” informing me that my return flight on EVA Air back home had been CANCELLED- no reason, just cancelled. After two days of scrambling I managed to re-book and re-route my journey back and again it was God’s grace that I had my daughters on hand to help re-book all connections without the distress of being stranded at an airport. Incidentally the EVA strike which caused the cancellation affected close to over 70 flights and lasted well over a week. Over and over, He seemed to be telling me – leave the planning to me- I know what’s best for you.
I know life is certainly not going to be free from bumps and unexpected twists and turns…but I do know that Jesus walks with me and He will never abandon me. And so, I plod on with hope and gratefulness for His mercies are new each day.
10th Dec 2017, was the 8th day of our pilgrimage in the Holy Land and we were slated to follow the path of Jesus to carry the cross on the Via Dolorosa. We broke into smaller groups so that we could all take turns carrying it.
My husband who is much taller than me carried the front of the wooden cross while I and a few others took the remaining part. Despite so many of us carrying it, I felt the weight of the cross on my upper arm which started to ache badly. I couldn’t wait for the next group to take over after the first two stations.
When our turn came again, I assumed a similar position as before. This time the cross was much lighter and I carried it with ease. As we parked the cross at the designated station, I picked it up single handedly and it was surprisingly light! In fact, I hoisted it up 3 times effortlessly to convince myself!
I shared my experience with Daina Suliman, the co-organizer who told me that previous pilgrims had also encountered similar experiences with the heavy cross.
My mind became disturbed as I pondered on the significance of the heavy cross – was it some danger lurking for me personally or was it for someone in my family? I was troubled with anxiety and fear thereafter.
The next day while Father Martin celebrated mass at the Church of Stella Maris in Haifa, he shared his personal encounter as a seminarian. It was in a pool in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that he came across a lone caterpillar floating on a leaf. The gist of the story was the realization that this caterpillar, in spite of its exposure to pitfalls, will one day be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. It was a story of hope and optimism.
Although Father Martin had shared this in his homily in CDM before, it now touched a chord in me. I had focused on the heavy cross and failed to remember the lighter cross as I walked uphill!
As the spiritual enlightening message of hope hit, I cried throughout the rest of mass! My fear and anxiety vanished as I concentrated on cherishing the rest of my pilgrimage.
I was in ICC/CCU(critical condition) about 8 years back. A family friend gave the Divine Mercy image (framed picture) to me in hospital.
That’s the day our faith increased. A miracle happened. I was healed and many situations changed as wished. Fr Bernard was my Parish Priest at the time.
“JESUS I TRUST IN YOU”
This is my living remedy.
Parish: OLOL (Perak)
I pray to God for forgiveness and when I hold the hand of Jesus*, I feel Jesus’ vibration touching my heart and I feel like crying out with joy and love.
Parish: SIC Church (Selangor)
Thank you Jesus when I touch your hands* I feel the love and smile of your face with me.
I feel the great joy which I never experienced before.
Thank you for the gift of your smile and your hands. Thank you Jesus, in your name. Amen
Jesus I trust in You
Parish: Sacred Heart (PeelRoad, Kuala Lumpur)