I looked around and saw the poverty and sufferings of my fellowmen. The abused and battered little girl, the orphaned and starving child, the sick, helpless woman lying on the cold pavement. I looked at myself, out of a job, forced to vacate our lodgings due to back rentals owed, with three children in school. I asked God: “Why? Why do you allow this to happen? Why don’t You do something?” Then God answered: “But my son, I am doing something, I created you!”
I have often complained that God is a distant and uncaring God, that He doesn’t answer prayers, that He is a God just to pass judgment whether you did good or bad in your lifetime. I know now that God is real, He is here, as real and as relevant as you and I. I know that everything that happens has a purpose and is a manifestation of His love and care as stated in Romans 8:28.
I was born 60 summers ago in a small town in Pangasinan. We just had enough to go around as I had three other brothers and four sisters; there were no extras but we lacked nothing. My father was a pilot in the military and a disciplinarian. Being a soldier, he was always away. As the eldest, I learned responsibility early, helping take care of my younger brothers and sisters.
After elementary I entered Christ the King seminary hoping to join the priesthood. But after four years the Prefect of Discipline discerned that I had no vocation, so I left and took my college at Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Right after graduation with an AB in Economics I was fortunate to land a job. Soon promotions came one after another. Companies pirated me so that I became marketing manager then eventually VP-General Manager. And I enjoyed all the accompanying perks and power. After a while, I went into business for myself. In between, I got married to a beautiful girl and had three kids, two girls and one boy. God’s blessings were abundant but I did not recognize them; I attributed my success all to myself and my superior abilities!
The Lord is really all knowing and mighty; He wanted my attention and change of heart. He stripped us of all the material comforts we were used to, the government cancelled our license to operate, and we found ourselves in trouble financially. So I sought Him after nothing else worked, He was my court of last resort!
When I joined the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, there was no dramatic conversion. It just seemed to me that my difficulties were easier to bear because I had other people who were willing to listen and even extend material help. But my focus was still on my financial difficulties. In my confusion, I thought that by doing service in the BCBP, God would notice and take my problems away, and I joined all the service activities I could.
I was so overwhelmed by what I perceived was my problem that it never occurred to me that we never missed a meal, my children did not stop schooling, my children were into the renewal themselves, my wife was very supportive. I had friends, more than just friends in the BCBP. But I wanted more, I still equated success to material things.
Then there came a time in 1993 when I really did not know were to get the money for the enrollment of our children. I called a family council and admitted to the children that they might have to stop schooling. Our daughter remarked, “Why do you always focus on the problems? Isn’t God more powerful than all the problems in the world put together?” I was humbled by her remark and immediately asked forgiveness. From then on, I learned to trust in God. How do I do it? I just recall all the impossible miracles He did in our lives.
Let me relate a few. After that incident, our prayers contained less begging and focused on submitting and accepting God’s will. My children never did stop schooling. Insurance clients that I thought were lost suddenly came back. Soon after I found myself with not one, but two consulting jobs. Another miracle was the healing of our daughter Julia who almost succumbed to H-fever.
I began bringing Christ into my marketplace. In the office with my co-workers, prayers before meetings were introduced, and my bosses exempted me from entertaining clients at night. I continued my service in the Brotherhood. I tried to be a faithful follower of God.
Despite this, one after the other my consultancies were inexplicably terminated. I think God wanted to find out, once and for all, where my heart really was. Although I asked, “Why?”, I continued to cling to the Word of God, believing that all things work out for good. After a period of uncertainty and with God’s help, we were able to establish and organize two companies that I headed.
But, you know I think God does not want us to remain in our comfort zones too much. Came the Asian crisis, the companies I had organized experienced severe difficulties and I was out of work again. In spite of my almost 10 years in the Brotherhood, the situation was still a source of anxiety and apprehension. A struggle raged inside me. One side said to trust in the Lord, that God had and would always take care of me. The other was my perception of what reality was. I was 50 years old – it would be difficult to market myself especially with the recession; if I went into business, I didn’t have any capital or business to go into to.
Again the BCBP was a source of solace, especially my action group and my service activities. My BCBP brothers reinforced my faith and trust in the Lord.
After venturing into the fish distribution business, making wrong decisions, and closing the business, after another period of depending on God for our sustenance, after many prayers especially by my wife and children, I am now employed as a financial advisor. I am happy as now I can put my faith into action and help people grow and protect their personal wealth. I believe God put me here for this purpose.
Looking back, our lives have been surrounded with problems and difficulties, one after another. But every time we survive them, we have become better people and closer to God. The lessons we have learned would not have been learned if we had not passed through those experiences. What did we learn? To anchor ourselves on God; to pray unceasingly to Him; to be more loving, caring and understanding towards each other. My family has bonded strongly at the lowest point of our lives. We have learned to cry out to Him as a family with broken and repentant hearts. I thank God that He has given us the grace to strengthen our relationships even during the lowest points in our lives.
I pray that, as my testimony proclaims the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord, the Lord will give me more opportunities to help you and more people experience the peace and confidence in the Lord that my family and I are all enjoying now.
This sharing was first posted in 2010. We repost it for those of you who have not heard his powerful and inspiring sharing.