Masakit na makita ko ang 3 kabaong na sunud-sunod sa aming sala at sinabi kong “Jesus, ikaw na ang bahala sa akin ( Filipino)
I had a very normal and a very nice childhood. My family was almost an ideal one. I can confidently say that I had a very good relationship with my parents, three brothers and a sister. I considered myself blessed to have such good, loving and God-fearing parents. To me, they were the most important people in my life, the most influential and I loved them the most. At an early age, I learned a lot from them through their simple gestures of kindness and humility towards others, no matter what your status and background is. I learned about God and that there is a loving God through their examples.
To a certain extent, I did love God but He was never the focus of my life. Like any other normal child, I was totally dependent on my parents. That was my life then – it was perfect, so blissful & secured because of my parents’ love for me.
But the love and dependence I had on them ended very abruptly and violently as I went through a series of trials and very painful tests that would have broken me deeply had I not hung on to the LORD for sustenance.
I was fifteen when my parents and brother were brutally murdered by our two houseboys. My brother and father each sustained more than 12 stab wounds while my mother was hacked on the neck with a sharp instrument, a bolo knife. I was there but it was indeed a miracle that I was spared. I was just gagged, hogtied and harassed emotionally by my parents’ murderers. I was so close to death and even thought that that would be my end as they came to me and twice poked a gun at me – first one at the back of my head and second one on my temple. I said “Jesus, Ikaw na lang ang bahala sa’kin” ( Filipino translation : Jesus, from now on, You will take care of me). But, mind-boggling as it were, they never pulled the trigger. I certainly had no idea where I got the courage and strength, which I displayed during that 5-hour ordeal I had with them, but I am very sure it wasn’t from me. I knew it was God’s own guiding hands and loving protection that put a hedge between me and my parents’ killers.
Going through the aftermath of the massacre was another ordeal in itself. I couldn’t describe that deep pain in my heart when I saw three coffins lined up side by side in our house that used to ring with their laughter and music. Just seeing my loved ones lifeless was so unbearable. I felt hopeless as if the whole world was crushing on me.
I was so dependent on my parents that losing them was like having that connecting string suddenly cut off. I never felt so alone, so lost and so lonely in my life. I used to pray that God would just take me to where my parents were. Oftentimes, I wished I wasn’t spared. My bedtime prayers consisted of lines like, “God, please don’t let me wake up anymore, let me just die in my sleep, so I could be with papa & mama.”
But every time these thoughts would overtake me, I would hear Him whispering gently to me, assuring me that I have to hold on to Him because He has great plans for me. As He promised in Hebrews 13:5, “Never would I leave you and never would I forsake you.” I held on tight to that promise. And indeed, God came through for me. He replaced the string, which attached me to my parents with another string, but this time attaching it to Him. And you know what God did, He never stopped loving me. He never gave up on me. His love pursued me. And finally, He won me over. Yes, the more I struggled with the thoughts about wanting to be with my parents, the more He re-focused my mind and my heart in wanting to love Him, instead.
I also became the star-witness of this much-celebrated case, my father once being the musical director of Pilita Corrales & Nora Aunor and the long judicial process of attending hearings wearied me. The only thing that sustained me was the thought that Jesus was always with me.
I really had this belief before that God would spare me from further sufferings after the tragedy. But I was wrong. There were family problems, sibling disputes over inheritance, separation from my brothers and sister, financial struggles, betrayal and broken-heartedness. I was even swindled many times not by people whom I have not known, but by my very own relatives whom I trusted. Those were all painful events. But these all led me to understand His great love for me and to keep me ever so dependent on Him. Yes, there were struggles in my heart along the way too, and made me lose hope temporarily on Him. But God’s grace and kindness never allowed me to be hopeless for long because in every struggle I experienced I found myself down on my knees praying and relying on Him for strength. Those were even the times I felt closest to Him.
While that tragic incident suddenly left me orphaned, it was the time when God revealed Himself to me in a very special way. Because I was still a child yet at that time, in my own childlike way, I would run to God for everything I needed and without meaning to, I made Him my papa and mama. I remember telling Him, “Paano na ‘yan? Wala na sila papa and mama, pa’no na ‘ko? Ikaw na lang ang bahala sa’kin”. Little did I know that those simple words I uttered in a very childlike manner out of desperation and hopelessness was a simple act of sweet surrender to God. And God took it seriously. One thing is for sure, I bore the burden ALL because of GOD.
Now, as I recall these unusual and sad experiences to people, they would ask me, “Who took care of you?” I’m always at a loss for words because I’m afraid they would not understand. Because to be honest, it was really God and no one else who took care of me and is still taking care of me. I still slip, oh yes, a lot of times but each time I’m down there at the pits, I feel the grip of God’s hand on mine. I manage to go on with my life with a lot of prayers and with God’s love for me in my heart. He continues to remind me of the time when I lost my parents, that I was quick to put my trust on Him. I am so grateful that I received Him in my heart, forever thankful for all that He has done in my life. He has been my papa, my mama, best friend, my confidante, my refuge, my stronghold, my security, my hope, the reason for my living. His promises that I read in the Bible all have special meaning for me. When I felt so lost and that my world was falling apart, I found hope in this verses, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When I decided to choose God over anything and anybody, that is, for me the greatest choice I have ever made in my life.
My God has helped me rebuild the broken bits and pieces of my life. He allowed me to experience the worst so I could relish the best that He has to offer. I still do not and may not totally understand His ways. I just understand better now. He not only took away the people who mattered most to me then, but also everything I deemed important because He knows fully well that those would hinder me from loving Him the most. I should have been killed a long time ago but I was spared because I have yet then to experience the miracle and truth about His love.
I will be forever grateful to Jesus, my Lord and Savior for allowing me to experience His great love for me. When I allowed Him in my heart and in all areas of my life, to me, everything became simple. I need not worry at all because He carries me and has me on the palms of His hands.
I have this song for Him, a jazz song by David Pack which goes like this: God I’ve been through / Some hard times before / Still I made it through the years / You know it’s true / Whatever lies in store / I’ve faced troubled times/ But I won’t look behind / ‘Coz God, when I think about Your love and what it means / I know that You are the answer / I keep coming back to You / Heal me one more time / I keep coming back to You / You’re the reason why / The reason I’ve got to keep this love alive.
It has been 31 years since I lost my parents yet it seems like yesterday. At 46 years old, I could say that I’m still very much a child at heart. My God has blessed me with so much more than I could ever imagine. He has given me a great family, my husband and my kids, who are my inspirations. I have a lot of things to look forward to and one of them is seeing my children spreading their wings, enjoying their independence and life to the fullest with God in it. With them beside me, holding my hand, I continue to look forward to God’s many miracles and I know I would forever be in awe of His wonders in my life.
2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. These very verses have touched me very meaningfully and you will see why, as I relate to you part of my life.
To You, our God and my Father, be the glory and honour forevermore! Thank you.
This testimony is from Vivian, who is working an executive in Corporate Strategic Planning department of reputed bank in Philippines.