“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” ~ Mathew 5: 4

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”~ Revelations 21:4

It’s almost February and April is around the corner. Oh how I anxiously wait for this month all year around! Why is April a big deal? Because it will be the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in which I lost my beloved parents and 2 of my siblings. Unfortunately, although a lot has happened since then, it  still feels like it was yesterday to me!

Though I still grieve for them with a deep sorrow and always will, however, I have encountered someone who has deeply touched my shattered heart with a mighty healing power and gave me a reason to rejoice forever: my Lord and King Jesus! He has turned my mourning into dancing! Therefore, I grieve with hope!

That’s my prayer for anyone who has lost someone close, especially tragically. I know how you feel!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” ~ Romans 12:15

My Dearly Beloved Parents

My Dearly Beloved Parents

Today, I am again reminded that life is extremely short and that tomorrow is NOT guaranteed! I knew that already, but my weary heart needs a constant reminder. This evening, I learned of a death of someone so young and full of life. This young man was a newlywed to an extremely beautiful young woman who is a close friend to my family in Rwanda.

He died of a motorcycle accident, the most popular means of public transportation in Rwanda, besides buses. Quite frankly, a cruel fact may be that those commercial motorcycles probably claim more lives than any other cause of death in Rwanda.

I weep so deep with this very young widow. My heart breaks for her, her family and many whose loved ones have been taken away so suddenly. This life begs more questions than answers unfortunately. You may have many examples. My prayer is that the whole world will come to know how much God loves us despite our circumstances. That’s very important.

You see, the Bible tells me that one day, God will make everything new, and wipe away all our tears. Our mourning will be no more. This gives me hope! And that we will see again all those who died in the Lord, in the new life that knows no sorrow.

There, hatred, discrimination, accidents, killings, injustice, tragedies, natural disasters, diseases, illness, hunger, wars, all will lose battle. Love & peace will be victorious and eternal life will be our song forever!

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me,“Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” ~ Revelations 14:13

Father God, I pray that You’ll comfort all those who are grieving & hurting. You alone are their Strength, Shield and Salvation. You are capable of consoling them even when the outpouring sympathy & support is not enough. Will You send them Peace, surround them with Your unfailing Love and Kindness! Will You be their only Joy, Hope and Refuge! Now and always!

In Jesus name! Amen!

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”~ Revelations 21:4

What if God’s Blessings Came Through Raindrops?

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King

Just like the rest of the world, as I still try to wrap my head around the tragedy that cost lives of 298 souls from different nationalities and backgrounds aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 017 that crashed in Eastern Ukraine, honestly, it is a harsh reminder of how fragile and short life is, regardless of the cause of the tragedy. I pray for God’s comfort for all the victims’ family members, relatives and friends during this tough time! God alone is capable of consoling their broken hearts. Words cannot describe the degree of their loss!

Late last year, as I planned to visit one of the Asian countries, everything was on schedule: the round trip ticket has been purchased in advance and all the details were coming together, except one important detail. Everyone, of course minus its own citizens, needs a visa to visit this country that shall remain nameless. I have never seen unprofessional way of handling matters than the way the Embassy staff of this country processes things.

In fact, it just reminded me how some third world countries, including my own home country, we have a ridiculous way of thinking that when we make people crawl to their knees to beg us, it proves that we have power over them. You may check in at the hospital to find a receptionist talking on the phone, during business hours, about her nails and hair and whatnot, when there is a long line of patients that have been waiting for hours and sick. It’s disheartening!

Image Copyrights: © Blessings by Laura Story

So, long story short, my visa application was neither denied nor approved. After waiting for about 10 weeks with no response from the embassy, except that I simply had to wait, I decided to go there in person. To my surprise, the staff answered me exactly the same: “you have to wait”. Eventually, I decided to withdraw my application. Because my flight was only few days out, I didn’t see a need to leave my passport there anymore. I figured that I may need to change my travel plans. I sadly hard to cancel everything at the last minute.

I definitely had to allow myself enough time to accept that a trip that has been planned for a long time, leave alone the money that was spent, has been brought to a sudden dead end for no clear reason. But as I tried to comprehend it all and asking God why, I pondered on this:

What if there was a good reason behind this disappointment? What if there was danger or harm on the way, and God who can see everything was shielding me from it?”

I don’t know the answer to that and just like there are so many questions that may never be answered in this life, but the Sovereign God who is above our thoughts and plans, knows what is best for us and loves us so deeply. He would rather let us cry than allowing us to venture into plans that He is not part of. Personally, as much as it hurts to not get things the way I want them, I would rather choose for God to have His way in my life! Because His ways and plans are flawless!

For passengers who missed the Malaysian flight 17 earlier this week, we can only imagine the extent of gratitude that they have now & for the rest of their lives, to whatever cause that hindered their way to catch this flight: rides to the airport, bumped to the next flight, financial difficulties, bad timing, sickness, road constructions, or visa application delays, you name it!

If it was possible for me to peek through the tears of my broken heart and be made aware of why my trip was unsuccessful, and perhaps find out that possibly something like a plane crash was what caused my trip cancellation, I wouldn’t even have hesitated for a second. I would have made every effort perhaps to meet every single staff at this embassy and thank them for whatever reason that caused the delay in processing my visa application.  And I am sure you would have felt the same way, no doubt about that!

© Blessings by Laura Story

Image Copyrights: © Blessings by Laura Story

If you could look at all your life plans today, how are you and I handling those that aren’t just working out the way we had hoped? It’s fair to be frustrated but do you ever wonder if there may be a good a reason behind everything? What if that job/promotion you didn’t get or that man/woman you didn’t end up with was going to be your worst nightmare?

What if that business plan or trip/vacation you tirelessly worked hard for but didn’t work out was going to end tragically? What if some of your dreams will not come true anytime soon for a specific good reason? What if some of your prayers aren’t answered yet for your best?

Take time and pause: be thankful to God for what you have today and for things that didn’t work out for your very own good.

Just like Laura Story sang, praying to God:

“What if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life, are Your mercies in disguise!
What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise!”

****

What if your misfortune, trials , pain, disappointments only happened to you to bring God’s Glory? Would you still question God to ask him why this, why now, why me? If your prayer is like Jesus in Gethsemane: “Not my will, but yours be done God”, then fasten your seat belt and rest assured in the backseat that you are in good hands as long as God is the driver! You will be safe under His leadership and guidance!

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”. John 16: 33

“This Is Hope: God Is REAL”

Thank you for stopping by. I hope and pray that you enjoy my story of how I found Hope in God, through disappointment and hopelessness. Be encouraged, even when those you trust the most turn out to be “not what they claim to be.”

Although almost two decades later, I specifically chose to write this page in the present tense, to truly describe the intensity of suffering in the eyes of a young girl I was back then.

Please click here to read my story under the page called HOPE.

Many many years apart. It looks like I haven't changed much!

Many many years apart. Have I changed much?

This is my story!

God bless you,

Alphonsine

God is not “Fair”. He is JUST!

By definition, being fair means: “free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice. A fair decision; a fair judge; legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules.” When we get what we truly deserve, in a good way, it’s called fairness. The jurisdiction system should be fair.

On the other hand, God is not “fair“. This is simply a definition we give to “justice”, in our eyes, not God’s. A simple example is Psalm 103:10 (NKJV): “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” If you read the definition I shared above, this is not fairness at all. If you continue and read a few more verses up to 14, in lieu of fairness, we see mercy.

So, digging deep into the meaning, if God was fair, there shouldn’t be tragedies. Of course God does not cause them but He is mighty to stop them from happening, right? But we, as human beings, have ways of justifying what we “think” is right, or fair. But this does not necessarily mean that God sees it the same way, although we tend to believe so.

Let’s look at these few examples:

  • The city of Moore, Oklahoma pummeled by the tornado is beyond comprehension. Emotions of lucky parents reuniting with their survived children from the two elementary schools debris were simply contagious and very moving. The news of some other parents who waited on what may be their loved ones’ fate was simply heartbreaking.
  • Watching the news as the death toll climbed every minute, of people whose lives depended on the little money they made for hours in a country half way across the world, at a Bangladesh garment factory, didn’t make sense at all.
  • Words cannot depict the earthquake that reduced the Haitian capital city to rubble, where more than two hundred thousand people died in January 2010 and the country incurred heavy irreparable damages. My heart was overwhelmed with fear as I waited for the news of a good friend we met in grad school: Katarina, her husband and their baby boy, who was less than 6 months old at the time. By God’s grace, although they lost everything they owned in Port-au-Prince, they were safe and later returned to the United States. My friend’s survival story is unthinkable.
  • Last but certainly not least, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda remains the worst atrocities of the 20th century; about a million Tutsi (and some Hutu who opposed the genocide) were killed in a period of 100 days. Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian UN Force Commander (UNAMIR 1993-1994), with an objective to assist the implementation of “Arusha Accords” between the Government of Rwanda and the opposition, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), wrote about his experience. I highly recommend his book: Shake Hands with the Devil.

Romeo Dallaire

You can add a lot more stories, and sadly more are happening as I type. Of course the cause of these tragedies always has little to do with people who encounter them. Also, the conclusion is not about who suffered the most or who deserves the most attention. I personally believe that it’s about what we learn from the experience and finding God’s Power & Plan amid the situation.

In my human mind, of course it’s not fair for children to die, or innocent people to suffer, or bad things to happen to good people. It is very hard to understand that some people may be in abundance while in some places others die from hunger. When all this happen, we start blaming God and wonder where He is as everything happens. Many expressions in Rwanda later quoted that the “God of Rwanda” was absent starting the evening of April 6, 1994.

In some scenarios, we even take it further, by suggesting the Mighty God what would have happened, had He been there! We’re not the only ones though. When Jesus arrived 3 days after his friend Lazarus died, his sister Martha started to blame him. She instructed Jesus that if he had been there sooner, that her brother wouldn’t have died (John 11:21). Of course Jesus was there to not only raise Lazarus from the dead, but to also glorify His Father’s Name. If Jesus healed him instead, I am pretty sure that the miracle may have not been as powerful to them as bringing him back to life.

The truth is, no matter how one may seem to have it all together, we each have struggles on our own levels. We face different challenges in life, but the good news is that God cannot give us more than we can handle. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it“. 1 Corinthians 10:13

To sum up everything, I know without doubt that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. It’s absolutely not because certain places or people are cursed that they should deserve what happens to them. “For God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust“.(Matt 5:45). God is Just, Almighty, a Healer, a Counselor, a Father to the Fatherless, filled with unwavering mercy and everlasting grace. Along with that, His calendar, schedule, curriculum, budget, judgement are NOT reasonable to our terms.

God does not cause earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, but He is right there when and as it happens. After all, we hear survivors’ amazing stories. After all, it’s not by their own power that those are spared. God is forever on the highest throne; His ways are not ours, nor His thoughts are like ours. You cannot advise Him nor question what He’s doing. He does according to His will on earth as it is in heaven. He rules the world with Truth, Grace and Justice. If you trust Him, when everything falls apart, you will be safe in His arms.

Weep with those who mourn and rejoice with those who celebrate. Treasure each day you have, tomorrow is not granted. Be eager to lend help, you never know when you may need it, too. Be considerate, mindful and sympathetic. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.

May God comfort those who mourn today and ease pain for those who are suffering, in the name of Jesus. May today all those who are in distress hear His soothing voice and may their hope be lifted high.

May His Holy Name be praised, now and always!