If I Perish, I Perish
At the start of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, I prayed this prayer, “Lord give me such boldness and courage like Esther who would say if I perish, I perish for the sake of Your name.”
Honestly, I did not fully understand the price I have to pay and to what extent will that prayer stretch me but I prayed it anyway. In my heart, I wanted my life to count for Jesus so if it has to be Esther’s way, let it be.
John Piper wrote in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life:
“If I perish, I perish. What does that mean? It means that Esther did not know what the outcome of her act would be. She has no special revelation from God. She made her decision on the basis of wisdom and love for her people and trust in God. She had to risk or run. She did not know how it would turn out. So she made her decision and handed the results over to God.” (Esther’s story can be found in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament of the Bible.)
I did not know what it would be like in Palawan or how would it turn out but I made the decision to go and handed the results over to God. Not my will Lord but yours be done was my prayer.
The Deciding Point: Risk or Run
I knew in my heart that I was meant to go. However, I hesitated for a number of reasons: I will be the only Filipino to go with five Americans, whom I have just gotten to know, on my very first missions trip, not knowing what to do or what to expect while believing God to provide for my trip.
How in the world will God expect me to go?
“I am not the ‘missions type’ so God will understand,” I justified.
However, God had everything planned the way He wants it. His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways.
The team was to leave on Thursday morning, the 11th of September. However, for some reason, effective that day the airline changed their schedule of flights. There were no others options. There were no ferries or buses that would give way to the schedule they have originally planned. The final solution was to leave on Friday, the 12th.
I believe God must have planned it all. He did not want me to miss out on Him, but He also did not want to mug my free will so He kin of delayed the trip. What better way to delay it but change the flight schedule.
On Wednesday night, the 10th of September at the Harp and Bowl (Worship and Intercession) meeting in the church, a challenge was given. Do something for the very first time. Step outside your cocoon because the power is outside that cocoon! I knew in my heart that God was talking to me.
During the meeting, God gave me a picture of destitute adults and children and I felt like He was telling me, “I will give you compassion for these people when you see them.” I also remembered the vision that God showed me a month ago during that same meeting. I saw myself climbing up a mountain with fire under my feet and I’d be spreading that fire wherever I go. That fire represented the burning passion in my heart.
What else can I do but say, “Alright, Lord, I’ll go.” I risked but later on I realized that the risk was worth it all. Not to risk was to waste my life. Everything fell into its proper place before I left for Palawan. I had enough finances and enough courage to face the challenges.
What in the World Am I Doing Here?
I wrestled, oh, wrestled with God when I arrived in the place where the Badjao tribe lives. We were to stay with them. If only I had an eject button, I could have ejected myself back to Bacolod that very hour (and yes, regret it for the rest of my life).
“I am not that rich or wealthy, but what I have back in Bacolod is way better than what they have here. What in the world am I doing here?“, I thought to myself.
There were so many questions in my mind – some were answered, and some were left unanswered. I knew that there was an uncomprehending look on my face.
I felt like crying. I didn’t know whether I was feeling sorry for them for they do not have enough or feeling sorry for myself for being so comfortable and secure in my own little world.
I was left with only two choices: keep complaining and grumbling, or change my heart and see things the way God want me to see it.
“…you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price, so you must honor God.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I realized that I am part of a bigger picture. That my life is not my own anymore. I have been redeemed from the fires of hell and the least that I can do for God is to give Him my best, my life. So, I submitted myself to God.
We slept in the best house there ever was in all of the Badjao community – the house of the tribal leader. We were given first class accommodations minus the toilet and bathroom. We were also served their best food: white rice, dried fish and sardines in tomato sauce. I’m fine with dried fish but sardines in tomato sauce is not really what I prefer. I will eat any kind of sardines except the one in tomato sauce. I can eat it if it’s mixed with other food such as misua but not by itself. Nevertheless, I ate what was served to us not because I like it but because I have no choice.
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ maywork through me…”2 Corinthians 12:10“…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”Philippians 4:11
In Palawan, I had no time to think about how I feel or how things should be done the way I want it. I was there for God and for them, not for myself. I was to know Jesus in that situation and to make Him known. After all, it’s all about Him!
In Palawan, I was totally out of control over my life.