by Oliver Carlos
When I was a high school student, one teacher became my favorite not because of her teaching skill, or humor, or looks, but because of her character. I admired how she demonstrated her faith in the midst of a storm.
Miss Gloria Uri was our Literature teacher. She’s a little middle-aged lady who was a former nun, turned into a high school teacher. I find her stern and strict. She doesn’t joke around, and we were a bit afraid of her class because we needed to read a lot of stuff in order to survive each meeting. But one day, my perspective of her and of life changed.
It was in the mid-1980s, I don’t remember anymore the name of the typhoon, but it was a dreaded super typhoon with 210 to 260 kph winds. Everybody was scared then because no typhoon has ever landed in the Philippines with such strength. During those years, typhoons with 200+ kph winds were rare.
When news of that impending disaster was all around, Miss Uri paused our class, and told us about this super typhoon coming in a few days. She described the horrors of what a storm with 200+ kph winds and torrential rains could do. She told us to pray hard, and believe that God will do a miracle to save us.
Fast-forward to the day classes resumed. Miss Uri was beaming with joy and confidence as she explained to us the miracle God has just done. The storm weakened before it hit land! It’s a very abnormal phenomenon as storms usually weaken upon landfall. She said that the storm split into two, just like mitosis, or cell division. I don’t know if that was scientific or what, for a typhoon to divide into smaller or weaker weather disturbances. But anyway, what was clear is that we were spared from the full impact of the monster typhoon. “This is work of the hand of God. He is faithful,” Miss Uri concluded.
As I grew older, many more typhoons came- some were weak, some were strong. But in all those storms I learned that God is sovereign and he is faithful. Sovereign, because he is in command of everything, even the laws of nature. Faithful, because he is in perfect control of my life. I am protected by his loving embrace from the strongest of storms, because I have placed my full trust in him. I am talking not only about typhoons, but also about life storms.
We read in the Old Testament how God described to Job his sovereignty over storms. Job 38:8 and 38:25 (NIV) says:
“Who shut up the sea behind doors, when it burst forth from the womb?….
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm?”
Moreover, in the New Testament, we read in Mark 4:39–41 (NIV) how Jesus calmed the storm:
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm….They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
His disciples were mesmerized with what they witnessed. Likewise, in our time, after seeing past miracles, Jesus is challenging us today:
“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40, NIV).