Something happened in the Philippines yesterday that broke our hearts and spirits. Just a couple of months after a new president was elected, hopes were high that change was coming in our country. But yesterday, just as the rain poured down on our streets, our hopes were–for a moment (and I hope it was only for a moment) rained on as well. A dismissed policeman (who was previously charged for alleged extortion) took a busload of tourists hostage, and demanded that he be reinstated. The ordeal lasted almost the entire day, and lives were lost. It was painfully tragic.
There was so much to say. Twitter was flooded with tweets from Filipinos. At a certain point, I had to stop myself from tweeting and I knew I needed to pray more. I had nothing good to say. I felt upset, angry, embarrassed, violated, worried, anxious…
I prayed for courage for the policemen and wisdom for the people making the decisions. I prayed that the media would show respect and cooperate, and because there was just so much to pray for, I prayed for miracles. That was all I knew I could do.
Close to 9 pm, the ordeal was finally done. And despite all the gunshots that were heard, we saw hostages come out alive, and we all rejoiced. But we also saw that the other hostages were brought out dead. Some were taken to the hospital, but were declared dead on arrival.
My heart broke for the hostages and their loved ones. My heart broke for the lives lost. My heart broke for the people who worked hard all throughout the day to solve the situation. Because as much as we were frustrated by what we saw, we didn’t see everything happening behind the scenes. The situation couldn’t have been easy at all. My heart broke for our country. Because even as this was all going on, water levels were also rising all over Metro Manila as the storm raged on.
If you’re reading this…would you join us in praying for those hostages that survived? Would you pray for the families of those affected, especially the families of those who perished? Would you pray for the Philippines? And above all, would you pray for the hearts of people? As my friend, Carla, tweeted: “On all levels, this is just so bad…it’s evil. How can one man’s selfish desires kill so many innocent people?”
I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but dear God…I am believing that one day we will see how You will turn what the enemy meant for harm into good. My hope…our hope…is in You.