Henrylito D. Tacio
Mr. Tacio, who hails from Davao, is a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. He is the first and only Filipino journalist to have been elevated to the Hall of Fame in science reporting by the Philippine Press Institute. In 1999, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed him the Journalist of the Year award. He is also East Asia’s contributing editor of the People & the Planet based in London.
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I didn’t invent this story; I read it somewhere. At age 33, American golfer Paul Azinger was at the top of his game. He had only one problem: a nagging pain in his right shoulder, which had been operated on in 1991. After seeing the doctor, Paul received a call that changed his life. His doctor wanted him back in Los Angeles immediately for a biopsy.
Paul forged a compromise: he’d do it as soon as he had played in the PGA Championship Tournament (which he won) and the Ryder’s Cup Challenge. Until then, he would rely on medication and prayer. He tried to convince himself he had tendonitis, but the pain grew worse. Unknown to him, he had cancer.
Paul started chemotherapy. One morning, while praying in his bedroom, he was wondering what would happen if he didn’t get better. Suddenly the sun seemed to force its way through the blinds and a powerful feeling of peace swelled within him. He knew with absolute assurance that God was with him and he was in His complete and loving care, no matter what.
Two years later, Paul rejoined the pro tour, the cancer gone. In an interview, he admitted that his goal in life has shifted from winning to helping people see that “God is there for them.”
That was what Brenda Ludwig also felt. She was away at a conference when the call came. Her son had been badly injured in a terrible wreck and was being airlifted to a hospital, just clinging to life. He had been drinking. He wasn’t expected to live. Would she wait for her husband, who would be there in an hour to pick her up?
It was the longest hour of Brenda’s life, but this verse flashed to her mind: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a). In that hour, and during the weeks and months that followed as her son made a slow recovery, the verse never left her. “I could feel God like an envelope around me,” she was quoted as saying.
When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is enough. Henry Wordsworth Longfellow penned these words a long, long time ago: “Let nothing disturb thee, / Nothing affright thee; / All things are passing; / God never changeth; / Patient endurance / Attaineth all things; / When God possesseth / In nothing is wanting; / Alone God sufficeth.”
God came into this world through His Only Son – Jesus Christ. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,” the prophet Isaiah prophesized (9:6). To which Maltbie Davenport Babcock rejoiced: “God be thanked for that good and perfect gift, the gift unspeakable: His life, His love, His very self in Jesus Christ.”
Everything about Christ is remarkable. An unknown author exclaims with wonder and adoration: “Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became a man that we might become the sons of God. In infancy He startled a king; in boyhood He puzzled the doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows, hushed the sea to sleep, and healed the multitudes without medicine.
“He never wrote a book; yet the libraries of the world are filled with volumes that have been written about Him. He never penned a musical note; yet He is the theme of more lyrics than any other subject in the world. Great men have come and gone; yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him, Satan could not seduce Him, death could not destroy Him, the grave could not hold Him. All others have failed in some way, but not Jesus!”
Muretus, a Christian scholar of the 16th Century, became ill while on a trip. The doctors who were called in to treat him did not know him. He looked so much like an ordinary individual that they said, “Let’s try an experiment on him, for he looks of no importance.”
In the next room, Muretus heard this remark. He shouted and told the doctors, “Call not any man cheap for whom Christ died.”
Death is certain but the Holy Bible speaks about untimely death! Galatians 6:7 warns: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Now, the following stories were shared in electronic mails at the time when Facebook was not yet created. I can vouch for the veracity of these anecdotes but it gives some lessons:
Some years before his untimely death, during his interview with an American publication, British singer John Lennon reportedly said: “Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was okay, but his subjects were too simple. Today, we are more famous than Him” (referring to Jesus). As everyone now knows, he was shot six times.
During the Presidential campaign in Brazil, Tancredo Neves said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from being the president of his country. Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made president, then he died.
In Campinas, Brazil, a group of friends, who were drunk, went to pick up a friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: “My daughter, go with God and may He protect you.” Her response was: “Only if He (God) travels in the trunk cause inside here… It’s already full.”
Hours later, news came by that the group had been involved in a fatal accident. Everyone had died. The car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs and none were broken.
After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked the man who built the boat how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: “Not even God can sink it.” Everyone now knows what happened to Titanic.
Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe was once visited by evangelist Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what Graham had to say, she said: “I don’t need your Jesus.” A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.
Jamaican journalist and entertainer Christine Hewitt said that the Holy Bible (the Word of God) was “the worst book ever written.” In June 2006, she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.
Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus. As John 3:16 puts it: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”