Most of the time my commutes home from school are uneventful.
My earphones are plugged into my ears, and are blasting just loud enough to block the jeering from the carpenters in the four construction sites I pass on the way home. My hair is all over my face, and I am left to my own thoughts. But, today was different..
As I stomped on a jeep that was just about to take off, like jeeps normally do, a group of boys started running in after me. I sat down on an empty space, and watched the scene that was now happening right in front of me.
A little boy was sitting on the floor of the jeep, crying and moaning with his hands to his face, while another group of young boys were running after him, gaining on the jeep that had just began to move. Another little boy was crouched right beside the crying one; his friend no doubt – his “teammate.”
“Sinuntok nila ako!” sobbed the boy. (They punched me)
A look of horror crossed my face as the group of young boys were able to jump on the moving jeep. They reached in to grab the crying boy, disregarding all the curses from the jeepney driver and the rest of the passengers. One passenger tried blocking the boys, but he received good a bit of a beating himself.
I found myself shouting. “Ano ba!” And the “leader” of the group of boys, who looked like he was 12 years old, shot me a look that made me want to give him a good slap. They got closer to the crying boy and just when they were about to reach over and harass him again, the little boy’s friend – this little hero – stood up, in between the mean boys and the young one in tears, and he just stood there.
As the passenger who was hit earlier was trying to hold back the rough boys, the friend, who looked like he was 7 years old – small and weak – stood his ground, protecting his friend, as they pulled on his shirt and clawed at his arms. And I just sat there in awe of how that little boy could stand there in the midst of bullies much older than he, and in a moving vehicle, without giving way.
Everything happened so fast after that. The driver stopped the jeep, stepped down, and chased the group of boys who were already making their way out of the jeep and running away.
As the driver got behind the wheel once more… “Wag kayo diyan sa gitna. Umupo kayo. Baka madisgrasya pa kayo diyan,” muttered the driver. (Don’t stay there in the middle. Sit down. You guys might get hurt if you stay there.)
The young boy who was crying, buried his hands in his face and continued sobbing as his friend gently picked him up and helped him to a seat in the jeep. And as they were both sitting together, I saw the friend, with tears in his eyes, reach over and hug the crying boy with one arm.
“Para po!” I blurted out to the driver, and the jeep came to an abrupt stop.
Although far from my stop, I stood up, collecting all my things, I stepped down the jeep with a very confused expression and tears in my eyes as well.
I was so surprised at the reaction of our little hero. He didn’t budge! What surprised me more was the fact that he never tried hitting back. If that were me, I would have scratched and kicked all the boys who where were trying to get at me and my friend, but he didn’t.
As I was walking home, this verse came to mind:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
All at once, the love that Jesus has for us came to mind.
AGAPE love. Unconditional.
In a world where so many circumstances aim to break us down, God is there, standing in between us and all the things that can possibly hurt us, and going through a ton of school work and a few other petty issues was just enough to spark that emotional plug in me.
I thought back on what Jesus went through on that day that he took our place on the cross, and I can’t even bring myself to put everything into words.
“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” – Isaiah 53:7
Jesus didn’t even try hitting back! He could have called legions of angels to come to his rescue and smite every single person on earth, but he didn’t.
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God….” – 1 Peter 3:18
I have gone through so many episodes of trying to “buy back” my salvation from God, thinking that if I sinned, I’d have to do a lot of good before facing God again, because He couldn’t stand to accept me in the sinful state I was in, but after an enormous amount of thinking, and probably two kilometers of walking, I realized: that isn’t what it’s all about. The fact that we are saved BY GRACE explains it all. We are saved not because of our own righteousness, but because Jesus who was 100% righteous took our place. That concept will forever be a challenge for me to grasp, because we live in a world where things usually – USUALLY – have to be earned, i.e. “If you graduate with honors, you’ll get an, iPhone!” or the typical… “Work hard, and you’ll get high grades.” But God gave salvation as a gift. And what do we do with gifts? We accept them!
This grace that I found so hard to accept is the reason why every mistake I made sent me reeling – grasping for a foothold to keep myself from falling farther away from God. And that was it! I was looking for my own footholds, totally ignoring the arms of Jesus reaching out to save me. I felt like Peter, when he attempted to walk on water, and began drowning. The wind and the waves – temptations, obstacles, the strain to keep trying to be the “perfect” Christian – distracted me too much from my Savior who was standing right in front of me, above it all, saying,
“Talitha, that’s enough. You’re only human.”
The reason why He’s there is not so that I can call on to Him when I run out of strength, but so that I can rely on His strength alone. There should be no me; there is no me. Only Him.
The point is, I was wrong. I don’t have to have it together all the time. I don’t have to always look like I’m okay or on top of it all, because honestly, I am not. And just like that little boy in the jeep, Jesus stands there, riiight in between me and everything that tries to pull me down. Which is why, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For [He] is with me…” (Psalm 23:4)
*WOW. All that from one jeep ride*
It’s so amazing how God can speak to you through the smallest things, which is why He has now helped me formulate my official blog “philosophy”:
“Many people go through life without noticing the beauty of its simplicity. How rain falls, how the clouds move…
But it’s there.
Very similar to God’s love for us. Sometimes, we barely give notice to how He died for us, how He waits on us, and how no matter how many times we fail Him, He never loses faith in us.
Many times we fail to notice the beauty and simplicity of God’s love…
But it’s there.”
Dedicated to my Superhero, Jesus Christ, and all His sidekicks – the people who have made my life a little less tiresome and evermore so amazing. :)
To my D12, for being like a warm comfy blanket that shelters me from all the cold of this world (AWW).
Kara, for being the best teammate ever!
Nicki Relampagos, for accepting me no matter what. You have no idea how much that means to me. :)
Autumn, for letting me be clingy.
Chezka, Ari, Ria, Mango, Marga, Micha, Joy, Therese, Cess, and AJ, for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful lives. I love you girls! <3
Batch 2k11! You guys…..thank you for changing my life. :)
Mico Villa-Real, for going out of your way for me, and making me always feel like I’m worth it.
JD Yutuc, for treating me like no one deserves me. HAHAHA!
Josh Argo, for having my back no matter what.
BBGs and Porcupines. If any of you guys come across this, thank you guys for always reminding me that I’m never alone.
And to the little hero, God’s angel, who came at just the right time. :)
And to aaaaaall my other friends, you guys have blessed me in ways I will never be able to put into words. I love you guys. :) Forever and ever and ever.