As you well know, my brother-in-law died due to liver cancer last November 19. (That’s about 11 months since my dear mother-in-law died. That’s two deaths in the family within the year.) Ellen immediately went home to Pozorrubio, Pangasinan to oversee the funeral arrangements while I had to stay here in Metro Manila until last Sunday for our church anniversary. After our church activities, my three boys and I joined Ellen there. Though somewhat surreal, it was a family reunion of sorts. Relatives as far as Baguio visited us. We even had the chance to share the Gospel during the last night of the wake. (We praise God because last November 1 my sister-in-law who is also a believer shared the Good News to her brother. He prayed to receive Christ. Nineteen days later, he died.) Last Tuesday we laid his mortal remains to rest. Then, we traveled back to Manila.
The next morning, I woke up to my wife’s cries. She was and still is grieving for her brother. During the wake, she was so busy that she didn’t have enough time to mourn. I read somewhere that insufficient grieving is not good for a person’s emotional health. So, when she told me she is rushing back to Pangasinan to be with her surviving brothers and sisters, I could not say no. Ellen hastily left. On my way to the church office, I had this nagging feeling in my heart. I thought, “I should have been with Ellen during her time of grief.” But duty calls. I have to return to work. Still, I could not shake off the guilt. So, I called Deacon James Tioco about my predicament. He only answered with a word, “Go.” I felt it’s crazy. We just came home from Pangasinan. That’s 200 kilometers one way! But, still I went with Derek, my youngest son who has autism. Family first. We drove four hours to the province. We arrived dinner time. We had a sumptuous meal with our pleasantly shocked relatives. But, God seems to have other plans. My nephew surprisingly asked me to share some advice to their family now that their father has died. It was, I believe, God’s appointed time.
God’s schedule is not our schedule. His plans are not always the same as ours. He will not ask us to do His bidding in our convenient time. It will always be out of our comfort zone. But obey we must, even if it means driving a total of 400 kilometers back and forth.
Brethren, obeying God may seem crazy but it really does make sense.