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November 27,2016 - 02:05 PM

My flight to Manila was delayed. And I just sat there with that nagging feeling of annoyance. Seems like delayed flights are getting to be the normal situation instead of the exception.

My mind was mentally calculating the time. I have to accept the fact that I will be late for an event. While feeling agitated, I didn’t notice that an elderly man was watching me. He asked, “Are you bound for Manila? I think we’re on the same plane. And it’s delayed.”

Good. There’s someone else whom I can talk to with the same degree of frustration that I was feeling. His name is Ricky.

Ricky was friendly and relaxed. Oh maybe he was just vacationing and time is not of essence to him.

Then he started telling me that yes, he was just vacationing but with a business purpose: to sell his lot in Cebu as there’s no one of his children who’d like to stay in the Philippines. They’re all living now in New York City.

Ricky was talkative gentleman, even offering me a ride when we get to Manila and should I have no place to stay, he offered his house. Who would have known he was grieving inside?

Two weeks ago, his wife died of a heart attack. She was in the US. He was already in Cebu. While he was busy disposing of his assets, he didn’t know she passed away. His children didn’t know where to reach him because he forgot to tell them he got another mobile number in Cebu.

But God is a God of comfort. Ricky bumped into an old friend whom his children called to trace where he was. The friend was the one who broke the tragic news. And he couldn’t do anything anymore because they already buried his wife while he was a thousand miles away in Cebu.

I looked for words to console him but I just managed to say, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

I can see the sad look in his eyes but he still maintained his composure and peaceful state.

Tragedy is hard to shake off. I know. I spent months recovering from the death of my husband. A broken heart badly needs to be healed.

It’s not only death.

Broken relationship, rejection, betrayal, abandonment or not being loved back in return–these are situations that can also cause a broken heart.

When our hearts are broken, it’s like we broke our leg. We have a hard time walking and so we limp along while wondering what did we do to deserve the pain. Then we feel so alone (suicide becomes a thought).

No. There’s “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.”

He couldn’t leave us. How could he when He knows himself how it is to be broken-hearted. God gave us His only Son Jesus to die on the cross to save us. Can you do this to your own child?

But God loved us so much that even it would hurt Him so much to see His own Son die on the cross, He did it.

And so God knows best to help and heal a broken heart.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

I hang on to these words when my husband died. It gave me hope and strength especially that I have three young children to raise.

So when we experience heartbreaks, we don’t walk through them alone. We may feel weak and want to give up. Instead of submitting our heartbreak to God, we beg him to remove it. It’s a human reaction, that’s why God reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:10 this – “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

When we are weak, God is actually strong to bring us back up again. It’s His strength that is moving in our weaknesses, our broken hearts.

And so I’ve learned to take tragedy and pain in stride instead of allowing them to cut me down to size. The weaker we get, the stronger we actually become if we let Jesus take over.

I guess that’s Ricky’s secret.

When I asked him how he is doing right now, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “God will take care of my heart.”

No wonder he is at peace. And friendly. He even offered me to get in touch with him in New York should I make a trip there. Cute. I envied his disposition.

Then the paging system called out for us to board the plane. Ricky lined up first because he was a senior citizen. He waved at me and I smiled.

I realized I had long lost my frustrations of the flight delay while talking to him.

Thank you Lord for teaching me to be more accepting of discomfort and irritation and think of greater tragedies that other people may have.

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TAGS: attack, Cebu, delayed, flight, heart attack, Manila, Philippines, vacation, wife

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