2004 Christmas and Tsunami …

Ten years ago, on the Eve of  Christmas 2004, just before midnight, i was seated in the front seat of an ambulance rushing my dad to the hospital. On the streets, people were merry making and shouting “Merry Christmas!” to everyone, but my mind was in trepidation. I was feeling anything but joy.  All i did was to keep praying, “GOD, PLEASE don’t take my dad away on Christmas Day.”

At the Accident and Emergency Unit, i saw long queues, patients being admitted from accidents caused by drink driving, injuries from brawls etc.  Dad was writhing in great pain, yet i could not be with him inside while they conducted tests on him. He had several tumours before and had been on kidney dialysis for 8 years. They suspected intestinal problem from his colon cancer operation 20 years ago. Because of his kidney and colon problems, he was not allowed to drink any water. He became so exasperated he tried to pull out all the tubes that they had to tie him, hands and legs, to the bed. It really hurt to see someone you love suffering so much, yet unable to do a thing about it.

Eventually, he lapsed into a coma and was put on high dependency. That was where i spent my Christmas Day. At his bedside in the hospital. My one and only concern then was my dad.

The next day, while taking a break during my watch at his bedside, i was stricken with horror by the images on TV of the devastating Tsunami. It occurred so near to Singapore, in Indonesian Aceh where the epic centre was. I knew God miraculously protected and saved our country from being ravaged by the deadly earthquake and tsunami literally because of our geographical position, protected by Malaysia and Indonesia. It hit all the surrounding countries. In Aceh alone, at least 160 000 perished.

Where is God in the tsunami? Where is God in the hospital? Where is God in the innocent victims?

My father passed away on 28 Dec 2004.  Coincidentally, it was the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in remembrance of all the infants in Bethlehem, who were ordered to be killed by King Herod when he could not find baby Jesus.

Did God answer my prayer for my dad? Yes.  Not only that, a priest came just in time to anoint and pray over my dad in his last moments.  He died peacefully.

Why did God permit so many innocent victims to perish in the tsunami? I still do not understand why.  Perhaps some day.  But, i know i will never forget the 25th and 26th Dec 2004.

Maranatha.           By R

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