When Faith Triumphs Over Fear
An inspiring story of a life well-spent
"The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlast it", Ralph Waldo Emerson
Excitement and fear enveloped the last two remaining contenders of the famed reality show, "Fear Factor", as the host is about to announce the final challenge.
"Your last task is to bring a bag of Bibles for practicing Christians in the seat of the Islamic faith, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", he exclaimed!
That was 1999. Imagine you were one of those two contestans. You wished so hard to be declared as the 'Mi Ultimo Participante". What's you next move? Shall you risk your life for the prize?
I can still vividly recall the awe-inspiring testimony of Sister Carlota Dumaguing 12 years ago - that of bringing twelve Bibles upon her return to Saudi Arabia from an annual vacation. From a secular perspective, knowing the austerity of Saudi rules against such items, it is something that a person in his right mind would not do. But I believe it was an ultimate act of zealousness to God spawned by her undaunted faith.
At that time X-Ray machines have not been installed in the largest airport in the world - the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, so everyone was obliged to open ones luggage for ocular inspection.
Sister Lota, as she was fondly called, did not hide the holy Books. She laid them bare by piling them on top of her clothes. She was ready to risk her life.
According to her, she was dumbfounded when the immigration officer just glanced at the Books as if he saw nothing. Overwhelming joy swathed her. With hands trembling, she quickly closed her luggage and wanted to shout praises but could not, of course. Instead, she thanked God silently as tears of joy were running down her cheeks. While in the queue though, she admitted having felt the creeps; nonetheless, her unswerving faith triumphed over her fears!
It was a victorious moment, a battle won!
To a place where carrying such items are forbidden and at a time when e-Bibles were not readily available as they are now, her act of faith is a remarkable testament to many.
A staunch crusader for Christ since her college days, to me Sister Lota, a medical technologist by profession was Daniel who insisted to revere his God by praying three times a day, against the decree of the king, even if it meant to be thrown in a den of lions. She was Daniel's friends, Shadrach, Mischal and Abednego, who opted to be cast into the fiery furnace rather than worshiping a pagan god.
In addition, the twelve Bibles she brought in were her "Isaacs", ready to be offered to God's holy altar as proofs of her genuine faith and obedience to God's will.
Hers was a modern-day classic picture of faith and action working together.
Yes, faith with action was the most valuable lesson I learned from the life of Sister Lota. It had since propelled my faith to grow by leaps and bounds.
Faith, as James 2:14 points out, has to be accompanied by actions that are in line with God's will, because "faith without action is dead"
As for me, we will never be able to prove the power of His Word, nor we will ever experience the the truth of His wonderful promises, if we choose not to act on faith God has bestowed to each of us. We will remain a "bonsai" Christian ending up as skeptics, seeing to believe rather than believing to see, theoretical rather than practical. Such is the faith that would readily crumble when periodic attacks of trials and sufferings would come.
Sister Lota never wavered in exercising her faith. Knowing that perfect love casts out fear, she was up to beat the odds. She braved being fetched religiously,on Fridays, to attend worship services, even if she was the only woman in the car. Simply, she believed that the "eagle's eyes" of the religious police will be hazed with God's all-encompassing love.
Add into that, the most significant evidence of her dauntless faith was when she spearheaded the foundation of Shekinah Fellowship, along with Sister Miriam who was her bosom buddy. She recognized the need to shepherd many lost souls in the twin hospitals of the Armed Forces in Khamis Mushayt. Like a plant whose roots are deeply embedded in a fertile ground, Shekinah Fellowship, a recognized daughter of Khamis Mushayt International Christian Fellowship, is thriving robustly. It is now 13 years old and counting...
And oh, by the way, legions of jubilating angels must have ushered Sister Lota to a grandiose banquet when she returned to her Creator in April 2005. Every tear must have wiped out from her eyes and the pain of breast cancer must have taken away. She must have felt exhilarating joy as crowns upon crowns were cast on her as rewards.
It must have been a wonderful sight to behold.
Indeed, a well-deserved heavenly accolade for one who has an intrepid faith like hers.
Fearless faith, anyone?