Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Waters of Power

My blood sister's baptismal name is Ma. Cristina so I've always been curious what the famous Ma. Cristina Falls looks like. Ate is now an Australian citizen and on the day of the Lingkod National Leaders Training Conference (NLTC) outing in Iligan, I proudly texted her that I was on my way to finally see her namesake. I almost did not join the outing because of body aches brought about by the E-Night and all the preparations that went to it, but something in me could not forego that rare chance of seeing the waterfalls of Iligan City.

I got a tangerine sticker so I belonged to Bus No. 1, Jeeps No. 1-7, and Ma. Cristina was the last place our group visited. I was excited, momentarily forgetting all physical discomfort caused by the 350 steps (one-way) we climbed and the rain that soaked us the whole day.

Ma. Cristina was worth the wait. Living water seemed to gush out of the mountains. For me, it was a magnificent display of God's power. I was content just to stare at it and to marvel at how such a beautiful thing could be so powerful. God's word for me during the first day of the NLTC came back, which was to Soak in His power, so that when I am squeezed by my personal challenges back in the real world, it would be His glory that would come out of me. I stood there before the Ma. Cristina falls soaking in the beauty around me, and soaking in the nonstop rain as well. Despite the hustle and bustle of activity around me -- picture-taking ad infinitum with brothers and sisters; lectures from brother-biologists and environmentalists - in my heart I was saying a prayer of thanksgiving to the God who created Ma. Cristina falls.

I was content, relatively, until a sister from Lingkod-Iligan announced over the megaphone, "Brothers and sisters, in five minutes, they will turn the power of the waterfalls full blast". I tuned in to the lecturers beside me to inquire what "full blast" meant, for I was already overwhelmed by the manifestation of God's excellence before me. I was told to watch out for a greater burst of water and a higher level of splash. Having left all scientific thinking back in high school, I pestered my brothers, "But how would I know if it's already full blast???" The professionals looked at me in half-wonder and half-exasperation and said, "Ella, you'll just know. Stay put and just watch out for it." I heard a whisper in my heart, "Be still and know
that I am God."

A few minutes passed and then I knew that the water was falling full blast. What a blessing it was, for I didn't expect it. I saw again how only God could outdo Himself in splendor.

On the way back to Chali Beach, I could not sleep. As our bus wound its way around the various checkpoints on the road, I reflected on the message of the full-blast waterfalls for me. I particularly felt an awareness of how I often underestimated this God I had committed my life
to. Thinking I had already used up my apportionment of grace after God showed His power over my profession, family, service, actually, in most areas of my life, I thought that where life had led me was "it" already. I thought it was up to me to sustain my serving of grace until my last
days on earth, but there in between Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, God actually reminded me that He was faithful to finish whatever work He began in me. I felt Him telling me, "You ain't seen nothing yet, My child. I haven't gone full blast yet."

Just as I didn't deserve to be saved by Him from all the pitfalls I fell into in the past, I believed that I had done nothing to deserve this fresh outpouring of grace that was before me. Beset by personal turmoil now that I am back in my little world in QC, I am reminded of God's display of majesty and I know just what to do - to stay put and to watch Him work His wonders once again.

Psalm 63: 2-9 (NAB)

O God, you are my God-- for you I long!
For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts,
Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
So I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life; my lips offer you worship!
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on
your name.
My soul shall savor the rich banquet of praise, with joyous lips my
mouth shall honor you!
When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall
That you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for
My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.