Meeting with the Former President
I was doing my sermon on the topic of “Araw Ng Kagitingan”, when a friend phoned me for an opportunity to visit the former president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Veterans Medical Memorial Center (VMMC).
By then, I imagined that meeting her would involve a slew of cabinet members and department heads from different sectors. But all the apprehension and perception vanished when I finally came face to face with the former president because the mood was just casual– just like visiting a friend, without her title – the former Philippine president.
I was given the privilege to pray for her. It was a pleasant visit, although a bit interesting because she asked me to pray for her freedom, instead of her healing. And I did. I thought, perhaps, she still wants to continue her work in the public service.
That visit brought to my mind a couple of insights: a.) we can choose our leaders but we cannot choose the way they lead; and b.) we expect much from our leaders, but what about their expectations of us?
The outcome of past Philippine elections has always been decided by popularity and credentials.
While credentials and popularity are not bad in themselves, yes, a lot of Filipinos today, often forget the most vital trait: character– the trait that is crucial to every decision-making and ability to practice good governance.
Every voter has the power to give a candidate the power to make decisions when elected to public office.
Can you imagine the weight of our electoral choices? Our choice determines good or bad governance.
PLAYING OUR PART
On the other hand, the second insight came to mind because Filipinos (me included) have the tendency to expect perfection from our leaders, without placing none on ourselves.
Just like our leaders, we have our own roles to play in our society. It is not just their governance, but our practice of everyday leadership that will contribute to create positive change in our nation.
We may be incapable of changing the hearts and minds of our leaders – that’s God’s role. But we can start the change in us through self-governance.
At the end of the day, brothers and sisters, whether we experience good or bad administration, the destiny of our nation is in the hands of God.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-3, the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (who was then a newbie in the ministry) concerning the affairs of the church in civil government:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior”
Remember, when we work, we work; but when we pray, God works. Can you imagine us and God working together through our prayers?
I remember a powerful statement that is attributed to Irish statesman, orator and philosopher Edmund Burke:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Do not allow evil to triumph. Do not do sit by and do nothing.”
We can always look forward to what God can do to our nation and what God can do through us. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for all our leaders.