“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."
In the olden days, in the nation of Israel, an invasion of locust and drought had devastated the land. They considered this as a nationwide calamity. Indeed, nationwide or worldwide calamity is not new to mankind just as the present crisis brought about by the COVID-19. Nations, such as the Philippines, were greatly affected and devastated by the virus. It did not only caused the loss of businesses or livelihood, mental sanity, and peace at home but also the loss of love ones. Statistics show that more than two million deaths worldwide was caused by the COVID-19 virus since last year.
With the extensive and overbearing negative effects of the pandemic around the globe, it seems impossible to realize healing upon a nation. On the contrary, we still have hope in God. He told us that if we humble ourselves before Him, pray, and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal our land. If we rely on this promise of God, healing is still possible regardless of the amount of destruction. This happened to the nation of Israel in the past. We can read in the Scriptures that they were instructed to rend their heart and not their garments, return to the Lord their God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. In response, the people of Israel repented of their sins and consequently, there was healing in their land.
Repentance therefor is the key to unlock supernatural favor and abundant blessings of God. It prevents any impending judgment upon a nation. One of the perfect examples is the land of Nineveh written in the Scriptures. The land was about to be judged because of widespread wickedness. However, the judgment was averted because the people heeded the call for repentance.
Learning from the above example, repentance should not remain as a mere emotion or feeling of remorse. It should be coupled with action. After coming to our senses that we have sinned, we should decide to go back to God and live a holy life. It is only then that we can experience full restoration. It is not a matter of thought. It is an attitude of the heart. It is how we respond to the conviction of God in our lives. It is how we admit our mistakes and act accordingly.
Repentance is personal but its lasting effect is national. We may come up with scientific inventions but it may not go so far. The problem that we are facing now has gone beyond the domain of health. We must practice repentance if we are to aim full and complete recovery. Vaccination can heal us physically but only genuine repentance can heal us as a nation. (CD, CRFV)
The dictionary defines submission as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.” Consequently, submitting means putting others before ourselves; it means not always doing what we want to do; it means putting God’s desires above our desires. In effect, we are being submissive in one way or another, even if it’s yielding to traffic laws, paying our taxes, agreeing to work certain hours, and observing COVID-19 health and safety protocols of physical distancing and wearing of face mask and face shield. Moreover, we are being submissive when our government asks us, as government employees, to do something in line with our work and we do it out of love and willingness.
In the story of Job, God said to him, “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way, prosperity will come to you.” Job was a man of integrity; he feared God and stayed away from evil. He had ten children and was a man of great wealth. Later, the Lord allowed Satan to afflict his family, properties, and eventually Job himself. Job grieved deeply but did not charge God with wrongdoing. In the same way, as hardships and problems in our workplace and family confront us, there is no need to murmur about them. Rather handle it without complaints, and humbly draw near and submit to God. The result will be the assurance of gaining the good that follows as God causes everything, bad or good, to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.
Elisabeth Elliot says, “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy." We experience delight in our workplace and in the things that we do when we submit them to God, and in knowing that it is the thing He wants us to do and we do it all for his glory.
In implication, let us continue to submit to God our life, plans, dreams, and this pandemic and its effects through cordial prayer knowing that God knows best. Finally, as the Lord Jesus said in his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, may this be our confession after submitting to God our concerns, “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” (LCM, CRFV)
Equality stems from the fact that we are all created and born equal. We brought nothing in this world and will bring nothing after life here on earth. The situation only varies during lifetime. It is when one maneuvers the present phenomenon to his or her own advantage but at the expense of another. In a place where all of the same class are governed by the same set of rules, equality is subverted when one abuses his or her authority over another or exercises his or her rights to the prejudice of another. It also happens when one amasses wealth for selfish gain, thereby undermining the equal chance for progress and prosperity. The rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer.
The term equality, however, recognizes our distinct characteristics as individuals. It upholds our diverse cultures and backgrounds. It admits the fact that the environment may contribute to the uniqueness of our existence. Science says that man and woman are uniquely created physically. Orientations at home and the community we live in also make our tastes, activities, and preferences vary. Those who live in far flung areas or distant islands and forests may affect their direct access to modern technologies. These factors that amplify heterogeneity should not however deprive anyone from the basic requirements of justice and fairness. Equal rights, opportunities, and protection of the law shall always be accorded to citizens of a country.
In the Philippines, there are efforts of the government to level the playing field of every Filipino. Section 14, Article 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that the State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Article 3, Chapter 1 of the Labor Code of the Philippines also states that the State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The Salary Standardization Law of 2019 also declares the policy of the State which is to provide all government personnel a just and equitable compensation in accordance with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. These are just among the numerous legislations that uphold equality as a core value in the country.
In the light of National Women’s Month Celebration, it is good to take this opportunity to ensure that women around us are not discriminated. Let us exert every effort to guarantee the welfare of women in our society and see to it that any sort of harassment against them shall be dealt with accordingly.
On one hand, if we are in public service, there should be equality of treatment to all our clientele in the performance of duty, giving of awards, grant of licenses or permits, and distribution of resources to beneficiaries of programs and projects. It is best achieve if justice is observed in the interpretation, implementation, and legislation of laws. (NAS, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.