i wanted to write it when the memory was still fresh in my mind. but friday was filled with making urgent phone calls, checking up on fellow staff and writing, writing and writing. but what i wanted to say is that the earthquake on march 24, 2011 means more to me than just a natural happening. it is a wake-up call to me. if i was asleep, i’m now awake.
for the past month, i have spent most of my time thinking about my future. there came a certain point i asked myself how on earth i brought myself to this place, where i seem to have everything i wanted but i really wish for nothing now. responsibilities are becoming burdens. i am preoccupied most of the time. and the most important question in life is left unanswered – when i say i love God, am i really living out the love?
i want to say yes. but being real tough with myself, i gotta say no.
when the earthquake hit, mom and i were sitting on the floor in our room looking at the photos i just took from the trip to tak. then we felt the slight shake. having lived on 5-storey buildings by bangkok streets for the rest of my life, i thought it was just a 10-wheel truck driving past. but logic set in. the apartment i live in right now is located in a smaller road. no trucks that big can pass through without getting stuck. in the middle of my thought, the tremor became more obvious. it was the earthquake.
mom and i both looked at each other in disbelief. i wanted to laugh but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate. thailand in my world is peaceful and has never experience earthquake. how naive was i! then we heard clicks and creaks. people unlocked and opened their doors to see what was happening. more footsteps down the stairs.
“i think we should go outside too”, said mom.
i grabbed my flip-flops while mom put on her jacket and car key. i turned off the lights, shut the door behind us and walked down to the 1st floor. a couple of people were already there…looking frightened…whispering softly about what they just experienced. the security guard shuffled past me. he tried to give me a bleak smile but all he could do was breathing a sigh. whether of fear or relief, i couldn’t really tell. at the apartment gate, a husband embraced his shaken wife…speaking comfort and giving strength.
although i knew that it was nothing compared to the japan’s tragedy, fear certainly gripped everyone’s heart. what we felt in chiang-mai was just the 3.0 richter of the 6.8 magnitude from burma. but the earthquake didn’t just shake the earth. it shook the core of our beliefs too.
as i mentioned earlier about my preoccupation. that night, after witnessing the fear of people, the Holy Spirit pulled all my senses back together and reminded me that He’s got this world in His hand. a child’s picture of 2 palms holding the globe flashed back on my mind. and i trembled inside at the thought. i am such an idiot thinking that i can control my world. whatever the secular may say or try to write off God’s name of the doing, i still say that all the catastrophes that are happening in the world right now is a way the Lord uses to get our attention back to Him. i am humbled.
at 11pm, when the shock wore off…and all i heard was just the whisper of the dark and mom’s soft breathing, there came another hit. it was stronger than the 1st time. and i thought if i should wake my mom. but then it stopped. i went back to sleep thinking about what i would do with my life seeing God’s power magnified with my own eyes. before dawn, i had a dream. i was fidgeting and sweating because i couldn’t figure out how i was going to carry the burdens on my back. inaudibly, i felt God asking of me. He wanted something from me. so i handed Him some sort of rags. they weren’t filthy. but they were useless cloth i couldn’t find any use of. i felt hot at God’s stare like He would ask, “are you really giving me these rags?”
when i woke up and pondered on the dream, i began to realize that He wanted me. what i have been offering Him has been religious duty that matters nothing when my heart, the true gold He treasures, isn’t in the work. with the prior experience of the quake, God was telling me that i need to get my perspective back.
when i say “i love You, Jesus”, i want to really mean it. it’s easy to spell out the 4 words with my lips. but it will be just like those rags that i offered to Him in the dream. what God wants is me.